Economy, Sci & Tech

Indian Finance Startup Raises Capital

Indian Finance Startup Raises CapitalIndian Finance Startup Raises Capital

BankBazaar, a startup that lets Indian consumers compare financial products online, has scored a $60 million Series C led by Amazon, with participation from Fidelity Growth Partners, Mousse Partners, and returning investors Sequoia Capital and Walden International.

The platform aggregates information about online loans, credit cards and fixed deposits from 23 financial institutions, which users can research and then apply for using its site or Android and iOS apps.

BankBazaar says it gets four million unique visitors each month.

For Amazon, its investment represents a chance to take a larger stake in the personal finance market. Online payments remain a pain point for many Indian consumers who want to shop online because credit card penetration is still very low.

Amazon and BankBazaar said there are “synergies” between them that will be “leveraged for consumer benefit in the coming years,” but did not specifiy exactly what those collaborations will be.

In a prepared statement, Amazon India vice president and country manager, Amit Agarwal, said, “BankBazaar is a unique and compelling service that aligns with Amazon’s mission in India—to transform the way India buys and how India sells.”

BankBazaar will use its financing on hiring, marketing and investing in its mobile apps, which are used by 40% of its customers. It also plans to launch new financial products and services.

According to the company’s research, about 74 percent of consumers with Internet access in India’s 10 largest cities for information about loans online at the end of 2014, compared to 46% just a year ago.

The vast majority of people, however, still rely on brick-and-mortar offices. BankBazaar says less than 1% of overall sales of financial products in India are transacted online, but believes more people will turn to platforms like it, as Internet penetration increases because they can do their own research before deciding on a loan, credit card, or investment vehicle instead of listening to a sales pitch.

The company claims that that online applications for personal, home and auto loans are growing by 90%, compared to just 15% growth offline.