Sequoia-backed MobiKwik buys into data science startup Pivotchain

Digital payments firm One MobiKwik Systems Pvt. Ltd has invested Rs 2 crore ($294,000) in Pune-based data science company Pivotchain Solutions Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

MobiKwik said in a statement that the artificial intelligence and deep learning models built by Pivotchain will be instrumental for its lending products. Pivotchain is a predictive analytics company with expertise in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

The statement didn't specify the size of the stake MobiKwik bought in Pivotchain or the valuation.

MobiKwik is preparing to roll out digital lending solutions in partnership with banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs). Last week, the company hired former Fullerton India Credit executive Vinayak N to head of its lending business.

“Delivering high-quality fintech products will require immense focus on data, and an in-depth understanding of the user requirements, across categories,” said Bipin Preet Singh, founder and CEO at MobiKwik. “Pivotchain is doing incredible work in alternate data scoring, predictive modeling & risk management and this investment will give us an edge over competition.”

Pivotchain was founded in February 2017 by Deepak Rao and Yogendra Pratap Singh. The company builds analytical solutions using big data, machine learning and AI frameworks. Its products include biometric authentication, credit underwriting tools, campaign recommendation engine and speech recognition machine. The company works with banking, insurance, retail and government sectors globally.

MobiKwik was founded in 2009 by the husband-wife duo Bipin Preet Singh and Upasana Taku. It claims to have a network of more than 1.5 million direct merchants and over 55 million users. It has raised about $115 million in total funds so far from Sequoia Capital, Net1, Tree Line Asia, Cisco Investments, American Express and MediaTek.

MobiKwik competes with the likes of Paytm and Axis Bank-owned FreeCharge. It was valued around $279 million in January.

In February 2018, MobiKwik had launched a digital enterprise solutions suite to simplify corporate processes such as employee rewards and reimbursements.

The company has lost a slew of top-level executives. Damandeep Singh Soni, who had joined the Gurugram-based company in December 2016, quit last week. Soni's exit came after business chief Vineet Singh quit in April, said The Economic Times.

Rukaiya Rangwala, who was heading payment gateway business, also quit in April. Retail business head Vivek Sinha left in May. In November 2017, Akash Gupta, vice-president and head of marketing, resigned from the company to launch his own green-tech venture.

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