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Unicorn India Ventures backs micro-lending startup SmartCoin
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Bangalore-based SmartCoin Financials Pvt. Ltd, which operates micro-lending startup SmartCoin, has raised an undisclosed amount in a funding round led by early-stage venture fund Unicorn India Ventures. A clutch of unnamed angel investors also participated in the round, said a press statement.

SmartCoin will use the capital to upgrade its technology platform and scale up operations, the statement added.

A report in The Economic Times, however, pegged the funding round at about $500,000 (Rs 3.2 crore) and said, citing Bhaskar Majumdar, managing partner at Unicorn India, that it was the fund's maiden investment in the fin-tech space.

“Traditional underwriting methods are largely reliant on credit histories, and thus unable to serve people with limited credit data. As a result, there is a huge underserved segment spanning not just the corporate workforce, but also the emerging aspirational class,” said Rohit Garg, co-founder, SmartCoin.

SmartCoin is a mobile app-based lending platform that disburses unsecured loans of up to Rs 50,000. It was founded in 2016 by IIT and IIM alumni Garg, Amit Chandel, Vinay Kumar Singh and Jayant Upadhyay.

SmartCoin's credit underwriting engine aggregates data points on a customer’s smartphone, including financial transactions, device usage and app behaviour to build a customised credit score. The company claims to have disbursed over 3,000 loans, and says the number is growing over 50% month on month.

Unicorn has already done the first close of its maiden fund, which has announced investments in startups like Grab on Rent, Inc42, Neuro Equilibrium, Vanity Cube, Roder, and Pharmarack. SmartCoin is Unicorn’s seventh investment from the fund.

The online lending space has seen significant investor interest over the past few months.

Last month, Gurgaon-based micro-lending startup RedCarpet Tech Pvt. Ltd had secured $2.5 million in a funding round led by venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners.

In January, Gurgaon-based fin-tech startup Loan Frame raised$2.25 million in seed investment led by Vedanta Capital, with participation from other investors. The company offers loans and other products to small and medium-sized businesses.

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