UK-headquartered business financial platform Tide on Monday announced its first plans for a test launch in India in the first quarter of 2021, followed by a wider rollout later in the year, as part of its international expansion plans.
The company said it selected India as its first international market due to the considerable commercial opportunities available and has a long-term ambition to operate in markets accounting for 25 per cent of global SMEs.
India was selected as our first market outside the UK due to its vast SME population, and the entrepreneurial spirit that is so prevalent in the country. As an aspiring global business financial platform operating in the largest SME market is a must," said Tide CEO Oliver Prill.
"As a company, we already know India well and we are confident that Tide can adapt to make business banking better for Indian SMEs. With investment and the expertise Tide already has in the country, we can help underserved SMEs thrive, he said.
With over 63 million SMEs in India nearly one in 10 of all SMEs in the world the company feels these "digitally-savvy companies" that are vital to the Indian economy are underserved by the banks. Therefore, the company chose India, where fintech has been thriving due to the combination of the government's digitisation efforts and high smartphone penetration.
Gurjodhpal Singh, formerly of India's leading Payment Service Provider PayU and said to have considerable experience in supporting Indian SMEs over many years, will lead the company's business in India.
Starting with an Alpha test product, based on its global technology stack, Tide India is set to go live in the first quarter of 2021. The company already operates a technology centre in Hyderabad and has a team approaching 100 people, predominantly software developers, working in the country.
Singh will work to expand this team to deliver the launch, supported by company CEO Prill and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Guy Duncan.
The company said it will adapt the structure of its senior leadership to accommodate this international expansion and Laurence Krieger, currently Chief Operating and Product Officer, will be stepping into the role of UK CEO.
"The UK market will remain a key focus for Tide, with a dedicated team building Tide India. As well as beginning our international journey, we expect 2021 to be another year of significant growth, Prill said.
He said the company's move into India is another step in its global strategy and builds on an established position.
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, the company claims continued strong growth because it has remained fully open for business, with its digital-only experience attractive to customers.
With almost 300,000 members, processing 10 billion pounds in transactions, the company claims to have over 5 per cent of the UK business banking market.
The Tide business financial platform offers business accounts and related banking services, as also a comprehensive set of highly usable administrative solutions, such as full integration with accounting systems.
It claims that all solutions are designed with SMEs in mind, using advanced technology. Founded in 2015 and launched in 2017, the company also has plans to embark on Series C fundraising in 2021.
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