P2P lending startup i-lend raises pre-Series A funding from 50K Ventures
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Peer-to-peer lending startup i-lend has secured an undisclosed amount in a pre-series A round from seed and incubator firm 50K Ventures.

“We will use the fresh capital to expand to more Indian cities and strengthen its tech infrastructure and on marketing efforts,” said Shankara Vaddadi, co-founder and mentor at i-lend.

Operating on a marketplace model, the Hyderabad-based company connects borrowers and lenders to facilitate personal loans of Rs 25,000 to Rs 5 lakh for six to 36 months. Members can offer a minimum advance of Rs 10,000.

“We have been very conservative in our approach towards growth. We were waiting for the RBI regulations because if there was a total overhaul of the rules, it would have been difficult to enforce a course correction. Now that the regulation is expected in June or July and we have a fair idea of what it would be, we will use the funds to expand to at least six more cities in the next four months,” Vaddadi added.

The Reserve Bank of India in April 2016 had proposed to define peer-to-peer lending ventures as non-banking finance companies, and had prescribed minimum capital requirements for such startups to regulate the nascent, but fast-growing segment.

50K Ventures provides seed and early-stage capital to companies operating in India. It seeks to invest in technology sector startups and typically invests between Rs 26 lakh and Rs 1 crore in its portfolio companies. The company was founded in 2014 and is based in Hyderabad.

Owned and operated by Dipamkara Web Ventures Private Limited, i-lend is one of India's first online peer-to-peer platforms. The company, founded by Vaddadi along with Niti Gupta, began operations in 2013. It offers it services in Chennai and Bangalore, as well.

The company plans to launch operations in Bombay, Pune and Delhi, immediately, and to penetrate another three to four cities in the coming quarter.

i-lend said it has disbursed about 600 loans worth Rs 3.5 crore with a default rate of 0.5%. It has 2,800 registered individual lenders and 8,000 borrowers on its platform. With this investment, i-lend will targets about Rs 20 crore of loan disbursals and add 25,000 users.

The company has already mandated an investment banker to raise at least $1 million in a Series A round.

In 2013, i-lend had raised an angel round of about Rs 1 crore from Singapore-based Angaros Group Pte Ltd. In November last year, it had raised Rs 1.5 cr from Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd’s ad-for-equity investment arm Brand Capital.

BCCL, the holding company of the Times Group, typically invests through Brand Capital, which is sector agnostic, and largely targets firms with a consumer-facing product or service that requires advertising. BCCL uses the ad space across its various media properties as currency to pick up stakes in small, medium and large companies. The development was first reported by The Economic Times.

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