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Online lending startup Lendingkart has raised $87 million (Rs 5.59 billion) in fresh funding led by Singapore-based Fullerton Financial Holdings along with participation from its existing investors Sistema Asia Fund, Saama Capital and others. The latest funding takes the company's figure of cumulative equity and debt raised to $173 million (Rs 11.12 billion). Lendingkart said it will utilise the capital to strengthen its technology and analytics capabilities, while also expanding its credit offering to small enterprises and micro-entrepreneurs. "We are pleased to collaborate with Fullerton as they bring deep domain experience in the rapidly growing financial services space in India and globally. We look forward to leveraging their insights as we build a leading platform for digital lending in India," said Harshvardhan Lunia, co-founder and CEO of Lendingkart, in a statement. The deal also included the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Lendingkart and Fullerton to explore opportunities for promoting each other's businesses. Since 2014, Lendingkart has disbursed over 20,000 loans, largely to small and micro enterprises which have traditionally struggled to gain access to capital through organised channels.
The growth of e-commerce in the country has helped kick off this sector as firms began feeling comfortable lending to small enterprises, which had data to back their finances.Lendingkart says it uses big data analytics and machine learning to evaluate creditworthiness through technology tools it has developed in-house. Experts tracking the sector say the success of companies in the micro and small enterprise lending space is solely dependent on how accurately they can predict creditworthiness. "We believe that the deployment of technology to develop scalable and accessible financial services platforms, incorporating big data analytics and machine learning, will be critical to any lending business serving the underbanked and underserved customers in India," said GAN Chee Yen, CEO of Fullerton Financial Holdings.