Full stack financial services startup WeRize has raised $15.5 Mn ( INR 120 Cr) from new investors- British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance and Impact Investor – formerly known as CDC Group and Sony Innovation Fund. Existing investors 3one4 Capital, Kalaari Capital, Picus Capital and Orios Venture Partners also participated in the funding round.
According to the startup, it will use the funds to accelerate growth, build new financial products for its customers, expand and improve the technology platform as well as onboard freelancers in 1000+ new towns that it is set to enter.
WeRize said, with this round, the total fundraised amount reached $25.75 Mn to date. WeRize claims to be already operationally profitable with an Annualised Revenue Run (ARR) rate of $10 Mn as of May 2022 and expects to achieve EBITDA profitability at group level over the next few months.
Vishal Chopra & Himanshu Gupta, Co-founders of WeRize said, “We are excited and proud to have large investors like British International Investment and Sony Innovation Fund back us in the new round along with the faith reposed by all our existing investors. Our unique full-stack approach where we manufacture as well as socially distribute financial services for underserved customers has helped us achieve rapid scale while maintaining solid unit economics. We have reached $10Mn+ revenue run-rate while doubling our revenues every 6 months and are just a few months away from being EBITDA positive at group level. These funds will further help in doubling down in our mission to profitably provide financial services to the underserved customers in 4000+ small cities of India.”
Srini Nagarajan, Managing Director and Head of Asia at British International Investment, said, “BII remains committed to backing businesses that are creating tech-based solutions that foster productive, sustainable and inclusive economic opportunities. WeRize’s technology and innovative distribution model will help drive financial inclusion at scale. We are thrilled that our patient and flexible capital will support the company’s ambitions to expand access to credit and other financial services, ensuring underbanked people and low-income families can secure finance that will uplift their lives and livelihood.”
Founded in 2019 by Vishal Chopra and Himanshu Gupta, WeRize is building India’s largest full stack financial services brand for 300 Mn underserved middle-class customers who live in 4000+ small towns of India. This customer segment is not served by private sector banks, insurers and mutual fund companies due to their low ticket-size and lifetime value and is dependent on PSU/Govt. banks. PSU/government banks rarely provide financial products beyond basic savings accounts and these customers lack access to unsecured loans, credit cards, health and life insurance and investment products. WeRize designs credit, savings and group insurance products designed for this customer base keeping in mind their needs, requirements and purchasing power, with a view to add a layer of financial security to their lives and enable access to credit. The gap that exists in the financial inclusion segment of the country is huge and here fintech players like WeRize make moolah.
While customers in these geographies use smartphones, they need proper guidance and support when purchasing the right financial products for themselves. So, a pure digital model doesn’t work for this segment. WeRize said, it has innovated on this front through its ‘Finance ki online dukaan (Social Shopify of Finance)’, a first of its kind social distribution tech platform in the financial services space that educates and enables local financially literate freelancers across these small towns to source business through online and offline channels, recommend the right financial product(s) to customers as well as provide after sales support. These freelancers, who are located in more than 1000+ towns and cities, earn as much as INR 30,000 a month from WeRize in commissions.