Gurgaon-based startup Sqrrl Fintech has raised USD 1 million in their Pre-Series A funding round from Equanimity Venture Fund. Launched in March 2017 by trio Samant Sikka, Dhananjay Singh and Sanjeev Sharma the app is aimed at helping young Indians to build the habit of savings and investments. It allows users to invest in high performing (zero-commission) mutual funds based on their investment needs, risk horizons & goals. Further, with a feature to round up your spending to INR 100 or INR 500, Sqrrl automatically invests the leftover amount, making it extremely convenient for the young generation to save while they spend.

The startup plans to use the freshly raised funds to pursue aggressive growth and add to its product and tech prowess. Sqrrl aims to invest in new age technologies, particularly machine learning and artificial intelligence, to sharpen its product recommendation and further smoothen its on-boarding process.

Founded in 2016 by Samant Sikka, Dhananjay Singh and Sanjeev Sharma, Sqrrl is a digital platform aimed at millennials helping them save & grow their money effortlessly. Its platform is powered by India Stack, to manage customer acquisition, e-KYC, customer management, communication systems etc. Asset allocation & Fund recommendation is powered by an automated proprietary(AI powered) Asset allocation Model, thereby giving a customer DIY, frictionless, customized experience.

Commenting on the development, Rajesh Sehgal, the Managing Partner of Equanimity Investments, said, “I have found the Indian millennial generation to be pretty money savvy and naturally adapting to technology platforms like Sqrrl to achieve their short-term and long-term financial goals. The Sqrrl team is working hard to reach out to the broader India with its very highly intuitive offering available in 9 Indian languages. We look forward to working with them and supporting this cause of helping young Indians become financially strong and independent in the long run.”

Post this funding round, Rajesh Sehgal, the Managing Partner of Equanimity Investments, will join the board of Sqrrl Fintech. Dr Mark Mobius, a fund manager and one of the most prominent voices on emerging market investments, is an investor and part of the investment panel of Equanimity Venture Fund.

Sqrrl app has amassed 150K+ download across android and iOS. Over 76% of Sqrrl’s users are under the age of 35, and 61% of its user base is beyond the top 15 cities. Incubated at JioGenNext, a startup accelerator program run by Reliance Jio and Microsoft Ventures.

The total Assets under Management (AUM) to GDP ratio of India stands at a mere 10%, way below the global average of 55%. With an abysmally low share in financial saving - 2.9%, mutual fund industry has huge potential for growth. “Targeting the rapidly growing segment of 300 million smartphone users, Sqrrl seeks to use the growth capital to reach out to a million users across India by 2019” said Co-founder Sanjeev Sharma.

“We have made a good start by building a personalized recommendation engine using analytics and data science. Further, we plan to employ machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve the recommendation engine, customer experience and security,” said Dhananjay Singh, Co-founder at Sqrrl.

The startup counts Shripad Nadkarni, an angel investor and marketing guru; Advait Dikshit, business and change management expert; and Carl Richards, a New York Times columnist and author of ‘The Behaviour Gap’ as advisors, who continue to help in business strategy formulation and marketing. In addition, Ravi Sud, Former CFO of Hero MotoCorp and Rajesh Cherayil, CEO of a private equity fund - Nereus Capital are strategic investors in Sqrrl.

Samant Sikka, CEO & Co-founder at Sqrrl said, “India is at an inflexion point where tech-in-fin can solve for our biggest problems of access and efficient distribution and significantly contribute to India’s GDP. At Sqrrl, we are reimagining the financial services template for the young Indians. With a compelling proposition and obsessive focus on delivering best-in-class customer experience, we aspire to ultimately morph into a digital bank.”

Recent Fundings in Fintech Segment

In May, Bangalore-based Naffa Innovations Pvt. Ltd, which operates digital payments startup ToneTag, had raised $8-10 million from a clutch of marquee, strategic investors led by Amazon Inc. and Mastercard.

In the same month, Amazon led a $12 million funding round in Acko Technologies, which is a Insurtech startup headquartered in Mumbai. Prior to this, in last month, Amazon had invested $22 million in Capital Float, a Bengaluru headquartered digital lending startup.

Mumbai-based Oro Wealth, a fin-tech company and India’s first zero commission Direct Mutual Fund Platform, raised $1.6 mn in Series A funding led by Powerhouse Ventures with participation by Money Forward Inc., one of the largest publicly listed fin-tech companies in Japan.

In April, New Delhi-based Namaste Credit, an another fintech category startup had raised USD 3.8 million in series A round of funding from Nexus Venture Partners

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