Mumbai-based digital credit solutions provider ePayLater has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-series A round of funding from ICICI Bank. GMO Global Fintech Fund, the investment arm of the Japan-based internet conglomerate GMO Venture Partners and family offices like Parek and Patni also participated in the round.
The startup plans to use the freshly raised capital to improve its technology architecture and strengthen its product portfolio. The startup has raised a total of ₹23.1 crores ($3.3 million) till date while the current development’s amount remains undisclosed. Earlier the firm raised ₹14.09 crores ($2 million) in its angel funding round.
Founded by Prasannaa Muralidharan, Shanmuhanathan Thiagaraja, Uday Somayajula, Akshat Saxena and Aurko Bhattacharya in 2015, the startup is a ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ solution provider. Customers can instantly buy and get access to credit which makes the whole transaction process fast and efficient.
A customer can avail a credit of up to ₹20,000 which comes with a 14-day interest-free period. If the customer settles the payment within 14 days, he doesn’t have to pay any interest for the credit.
ePayLater has around 3,000 merchants on-board including PVR, Croma, Box8, Travelyaari, Ticketnew and several others. The technology platform is UPI-enabled and users can use UPI to transact with merchants. The service can also be used on e-commerce sites like Amazon, Flipkart, Jabong, Myntra as well as ride-hailing services like Uber and many more.
ePayLater uses advanced machine learning technology to do real-time credit assessment using data points including buying patterns, digital footprints, device information as well as social media information. A user is provided with an assessed credit limit and can use the credit amount to pay for online services.
This business model is quite popular in the price-sensitive markets like India. There are several startups tapping into this business model. PayU’s LazyPay is one of the many startups where users can avail credit of up to ₹30,000 for 15 days. LazyPay has crossed more than 1 million downloads during 2018 and handles more than 1 million transactions every month.
According to Statista, there were 805.52 million ATM transactions and 357.17 million point-of-sale debit card transactions in August 2018 alone. Reserve Bank of India states that in June 2018, the number of debit card holders increased to 944.3 million with 19.2 million new cardholders. Despite such great numbers, more than 50 per cent of the debit card holders were inactive as of July 2018.
This opens a whole new space and brings an opportunity for the fintech startups to offer ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ credit solutions to the consumer. Startups like Simpl, Bill Me Later (acquired by PayPal) and SlicePay are already disrupting the market. E-commerce firms like BigBasket and Flipkart are also testing new features in this segment.