Jai Kisan, a Mumbai-based fintech platform for rural emerging markets that facilitates a suite of financial products to rural customers, has closed an INR 30 cr Pre-Series A round of funding led by Arkam Ventures (previously known as Unitary Helion) with participation from NABVENTURES Fund I (backed by NABARD, an apex DFI with AUM of INR 525,000 cr). Jai Kisan is NABVENTURES’ first investment.
The fresh round of fundraising saw participation from existing investors including Blume, Prophetic Ventures and Better Capital. The round also saw participation from prominent leaders in finance and agri like an affiliate of The Chatterjee Group (TCG), Rajiv Sahney (New Vernon Capital), Sanjay Mariwala (Omniactive) and others.
Jai Kisan was founded by Arjun Ahluwalia and Adriel Maniego – graduates of Texas A&M University who quit their jobs in private equity and restructuring, respectively to move to India with a clear mission to change the way finance is delivered to the rural customer.
Over the past 6 months, Jai Kisan has disbursed over INR 50 cr in loans of top tier credit quality to a diverse set of 5500+ borrowers from various income groups across 10 states. Jai Kisan’s financial products and robust technology platform is able to onboard a diverse set of borrowers varying from a lady farmer with minimal documentation in a tribal village with no electricity in the Nilgiris to a large grape producer and exporter in Nashik.
“Adriel and I started Jai Kisan to facilitate rightly priced credit (and other financial services) to rural borrowers. It didn’t make sense to us that a poor woman borrower in the middle of nowhere is expected to generate over 24% IRR on a small 50K type loan – (and that too from a formal lender!), while in our previous jobs (private equity) we were expected to generate a meagre 12% IRR for our LPs armed with billions of dollars in capital. We set out on the mission to change the way financial services are delivered to rural customers. Over the past few months, we have built a diverse book while ensuring delivery of credit instantly and more importantly – cheaply, across 10 states including the most backward parts of the country.” said Arjun Ahluwalia, Co-Founder and CEO of Jai Kisan.
Jai Kisan is building the first rural fintech full-stack platform to cater to the financial needs of customers in rural emerging markets. Today, Jai Kisan provides cheap financing options for equipment, input and invoice financing for rural borrowers accessible at their fingertips or at any of Jai Kisan’s partners’ tech enabled locations.
“Very few startups have the commanding view of a large untapped space. Even fewer startups have the luxury of tail winds in these challenging times. Jai Kisan is a rare combination of both of the above along with a unique business model that adds value to multiple participants of the agri supply chain. We are very excited to lead this new round of financing in Jai Kisan”, said Rahul Chandra, Managing Director of lead investors – Arkam Ventures.
Mr. G. R. Chintala, NABARD Chairman, remarked, “We appreciate the efforts of Jai Kisan to emerge as a frontline agri/rural fintech player on the strength of its tech prowess, low cost of operations along with reasonable security levels”.
Rajesh Ranjan, CEO of NABVENTURES, added that, “Jai Kisan is charting a new course in agri/rural digital lending. Even in a COVID scenario, it has delivered stellar growth. NABVENTURES would continue to back such tech-driven agri/rural startups which are at the forefront of agri/rural transformation in India.”
Jai Kisan deploys a B2B2C approach driven by technology, partnering with businesses that sell (inputs, equipments, etc.) or procure (buyers, processors, dairies, poultries, etc.) across the agri, dairy and poultry value chains. Driven by technology end-end and leveraging these deeply rooted networks, Jai Kisan is able to facilitate cheap financing to rural borrowers at unprecedently low interest rates, with a seamless process flow and quick turnaround.
“We are delighted to continue to partner with Arjun and Adriel. Jai Kisan’s robust growth, excellent asset quality and expanding national food print have made them a highly differentiated and scaleable fintech partner for all rural stakeholders. The company’s unique offering will continue to propel the growth engine of rural India. We are confident that Jai Kisan will become a large exchange and platform of choice for all things rural related.” Sajid Fazalbhoy, Venture Advisor at Blume said.
Today, less than 50% of households dependent on agriculture have access to credit with even lesser having access to rightly priced credit. Rural borrowers often find it difficult to access financial services from banks and other traditional sources due to the lack of documentation, credit/transaction history, visibility of cashflow and operations.
Jai Kisan is also working closely with banking partners to expand the offering of financial products to the bottom of the pyramid to further enhance their livelihoods (more credit products, savings, etc.) while also securing (insurance, etc.) the livelihood of the rural customer.
Jai Kisan is partnered with 3 blue chip banks and 5 NBFCs, including being a key Fintech partner for Avanti Finance India Pvt. Ltd. (An NBFC promoted by Mr. Ratan Tata, Mr. Nandan Nilekani and Dr. Vijay Kelkar) to drive Financial Inclusion in India.
“Jai Kisan is helping Avanti in its mission of delivering affordable credit to the Agri and MSME sectors in India through their extensive reach as well as innovative credit assessment process. We look forward to continue to deliver sustainable impact through this partnership.” said Sunil Tadepalli – Chief of Partnerships, Avanti.