Unicorn India Ventures bets on blockchain-based chit fund platform ChitMonks
L-to-R: Malla Reddy, Pavan Adipuram and Sridhar Reddy, Co-Founders, ChitMonks

Pangean Global Services Pvt. Ltd, which operates blockchain-based chit fund management platform ChitMonks, has raised $650,000 (about Rs 5 crore at current exchange rate) from early-stage investor Unicorn India Ventures.

The investment in Hyderabad-based ChitMonks marks Unicorn India’s second commitment from its second fund, which has a corpus of Rs 400 crore. Earlier, the fund had invested an undisclosed amount in Sascan Meditech Pvt. Ltd.

ChitMonks – founded by Pavan Adipuram, Malla Reddy and Sridhar Reddy in 2016 – says its blockchain-based platform allows state government regulators to oversee and administer chit fund operations on a private permissioned network.

Chit funds are a rotating savings-cum-borrowing system that can be organised by formal networks and financial institutions or through informal societal networks.

ChitMonks says its services are accessible to organisations of any size providing the service, with value-added features such as payment collections, online auctions, digital know-your-customer (KYC) processes and better underwriting data.

The company will use the capital it has raised for furthering its product development and market expansion, as well as hiring talent and investing in scaling up its core business. 

Adipuram said that the application of blockchain and other financial technology concepts would help chit funds be more transparent and gain further credibility among potential investors.

“It [the investment in ChitMonks] is in line with our philosophy of investing in businesses which can digitise current processes and make them more transparent and accessible,” Unicorn India managing partner Bhaskar Majumdar said.

Unicorn India launched its debut fund in November 2017. The firm also launched a cross-border fund in 2018 for backing UK-based startups looking to enter India.

Deals in the fintech space

The fintech segment has seen a lot of investor activity for startups across all stages. Startups in verticals such as wealth management and neo-banking have pocketed large cheques.

Last month, Rainmatter Capital – the fintech-focused fund and incubator set up by online stock trading startup Zerodha – invested Rs 3.5 crore (around $459,785) in GoldenPi Technologies Pvt. Ltd, a marketplace platform focused on fixed-income investments.

In May, Lendingkart Technologies Pvt. Ltd, a lending platform for small, medium, and micro enterprises, raised Rs 319 crore (around $42 million) from investors including Fullerton Financial Holdings, Bertelsmann India Investments, Sistema Asia Fund and India Quotient.

In April, payments infrastructure platform YAP announced a $4.5 million (around Rs 34.6 crore) fundraise, barely two months after its angel funding round. 

The exercise was led by Singapore-based Beenext, with participation from 8i Ventures Fund, the DMI Group via its investment vehicle Sparkle Fund, and Better Capital.

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