Bengaluru based Avanti Finance (“Avanti”), a technology led NBFC focused on financial inclusion, has raised US$ 26 million (INR 195 crores) in debt and equity from Oikocredit, Nomura and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Technopreneur cum philanthropist Pratul Shroff & existing investor NRJN Trust also participated in the round. Avanti will use the funds to strengthen its platform and expand its presence to accelerate livelihoods purpose credit and other financial products to the next 100 million unserved and underserved households in India.
Avanti has built a digital platform that facilitates a paperless, presence-less, and cashless approach to lending that will reduce costs and friction for unserved and underserved segments, especially in rural India. Avanti partners with a diverse set of organizations with strong roots in local communities to offer loan products that are hyperlocal and focused on livelihood sustainability. It has built a strong proof of concept in 15 states covering 110 districts and further expanding its footprint. Avanti uses its own balance sheet and will also establish partnerships for livelihoods-focused lending with other capital providers who share the mission of enabling financial inclusion for the most needy. Avanti understands that sustained impact in low-income households can be achieved through the economic empowerment of women and currently, more than 75 percent of Avanti borrowers are women. Avanti is building a scalable partner ecosystem that includes social enterprises, financial institutions, business correspondents, and agri-tech innovators across the country.
Talking about the fundraise, Rahul Gupta, CEO of Avanti said, “We are excited and humbled to have this consortium of marquee investors partner with Avanti in our goal of building a population scale platform to usher in the next era of financial inclusion. One that will be digital-first and empower our users towards stronger financial health & economic opportunities. This is a testimony of the passion of the entire Avanti team.”
Anirudh Sarda, Equity Officer at Oikocredit said, “We anticipate technology to play a transformational role in the way financial services are accessed, especially by the low-income segments. Avanti’s vision and mission are deeply aligned with our principle of promoting sustainable development through responsible financial services. We are excited to partner with Avanti and take financial inclusion to the next level with this equity investment.”
“Fintech incumbents have predominantly targeted the urban population. We believe technology will play a major role in enabling credit access to the rural and unbanked population, and Avanti is at the forefront of driving this. Nomura, in line with our ESG Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations and our mission to help enrich society through our expertise in capital markets, is excited to partner with Avanti in this initiative,” said Samir Bhandari, Head of Global Markets Sales, Asia ex-Japan, Nomura.
Unitus Capital acted as exclusive financial transaction advisor to Avanti and Abhiraj Krishna Associates acted as the legal advisors to Avanti.
About Avanti Finance:
Avanti’s mission is to enable sustainable livelihoods and empower the next 100 million households through accessible and affordable financial services. It is building a co-creation platform that fosters hyperlocal livelihood innovation and mass customisation. Avanti believes community centric systems enable digitization of the social trust of the users, critical to building scale in the unbanked segment. For more information see www.avantifinance.in
Social impact investor and worldwide cooperative Oikocredit has 45 years of experience funding organisations active in financial inclusion, agriculture and renewable energy. Oikocredit’s loans, equity investments and capacity building aim to enable people on low incomes in Africa, Asia and Latin America to improve their living standards sustainably. Oikocredit finances 563 partners, with total outstanding capital of € 845 million (as at 31 December 2020). For more information see: www.oikocredit.coop.
Nomura is a global financial services group with an integrated network spanning over 30 countries. By connecting markets East & West, Nomura services the needs of individuals, institutions, corporates and governments through its three business divisions: Retail, Wholesale (Global Markets and Investment Banking), and Investment Management. Founded in 1925, the firm is built on a tradition of disciplined entrepreneurship, serving clients with creative solutions and considered thought leadership. For further information about Nomura, visit www.nomura.com