FinTech in India is booming, with $1.7 billion invested in Indian fintech startups so far in 2017, and demand growing for both consumer and enterprise fintech products. The Government of India implemented schemes such as Jan Dhan Yojana, which has resulted in the opening of over 295 million bank accounts and 99% of households in India holding at least one bank account. “IndiaStack”, an open-source set of APIs provided by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), presents an enormous opportunity for both government and business to build innovative tech products enabling frictionless payments and other banking services. The Unified Payments Interface (UPI), a payment system as part of “IndiaStack” that facilitates instant fund transfer via mobiles, currently has 50 banks live on the platform and has seen growth from 92,000 transactions at the time of launch in August 2016 to 9.2 million transactions in May 2017.
Yet, even with these developments, significant gaps remain. Despite a surge in the use of mobile wallets following demonetization last year, 80% of transactions in India today are still carried out in cash. Approximately 70 million bank accounts across the country are inactive and 19% of the Indian population is still entirely unbanked. A credit gap of $334 billion exists for small and medium sized enterprises across the country, as business owners struggle to find flexible, affordable financial products to enable them to manage and grow their businesses.
To address these challenges, Village Capital, in collaboration with PayPal and FMO, is looking to support early-stage fintech ventures building India-specific solutions to the country’s unique challenges in financial inclusion. Together, we will develop and scale these ventures in the following ways:
Support and invest through our collaborative investment readiness program
The program will consist of three four-day workshops that take place over the course of three months. Our award-winning curriculum encourages deep collaboration within the cohort, and at the end of the program, the entrepreneurs will collectively peer-select two ventures to receive offers of $50,000 investment from VilCap Investments. Village Capital has supported more than 500 entrepreneurs with this model over 50 programs, and 96% would recommend the process.
Facilitate interactions with mentors, customers, and strategic partners
Early-stage fintech startups need validation from customers as well as relationships with key partners in order to tailor solutions as they scale. We will streamline this process, helping startups connect and interact with:
- Leading investors, entrepreneurs, and other sector experts who will offer mentorship during workshops and special office hours;
- Potential customers, partners, and other industry stakeholders, who will participate in business development sessions at the workshops;
Offer deep engagement with program partners
PayPal employees and senior leaders will serve as mentors and advisors during the program, and provide guidance on a range of subjects:
- Product / technology development and UI / UX design
- Legal and regulatory issues
- Partnership development with larger institutions
This engagement will include an additional workshop day spent at the PayPal Innovation Lab in Chennai.
We will also provide resources for building your business including:
- Investment Analyst that works closely with your team to strengthen your case for investment
- Amazon Web Services: 2 years of AWS credits (up to $5000)
- Hubspot for Startups: 90% scholarship on all paid HubSpot software for 12 months
- Connections to pro bono legal support through TrustLaw
The program will culminate in curated investor meetings with investors from our network for all companies in the cohort.
Village Capital is seeking to support ventures increasing access to and affordability of financial services for underserved individuals and small businesses across India. We are specifically interested in companies that:
- Offer innovative, appropriate lending products, both SME & consumer, especially for essential services like health, education & housing (e.g.: peer-to-peer lending models, innovative SME financing, emergency loans, etc.);
- Increase efficiency of the distribution of financial services, such as credit and payments, by building on IndiaStack and leveraging UPI (e.g: “banking tech”, such as money transfer tools, payments for micro-merchants, etc.);
- Provide solutions for wealth creation & protection for households and small businesses (e.g. innovative savings products, investment platforms, insurtech, etc.);
- Leverage technology and data analytics for better credit scoring, customer segmentation & risk-based real-time decision-making for consumer and business lending;
- Improve financial literacy and enable greater formalization and transparency of financial transactions;
Furthermore, participating ventures must fulfill all of the following criteria:
- At least one full-time team member based in India
- A minimum viable product
- Meaningful customer or business validation (not limited to revenue, can also be successful pilot studies, number of users, and/or strategic partnerships)
Program dates and locations:
Workshop 1: Dec 18 – 21, 2017
Workshop 2: Jan 16 – 19, 2018
Workshop 3: Feb 26 – Mar 1, 2018
Workshops consist of four-day engagements with companies, investors, and partners. Though cities are still being finalized, workshops will most likely be in one or more of the following: Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and/or Chennai. Village Capital will bear all of the flight and lodging costs for participants to attend all workshops.
For more information about the program, please email email@example.com.
Applications close on October 6th.