Digital lending platform m-Pokket, which has raised second round of Series-A funding last year, is eying 1.5 million user base by the end of this financial year.
In an e-mail Q/A with ‘Biznextindia’, Gaurav Jalan, founder and CEO of m-Pokket said that the company will shortly expand its customer base to include self-employed individuals.
Q : Will you please share the inception and journey of mPokket so far? How challenging has been the journey?
A : mPokket is an endeavour to cater to those who cannot readily avail credit from traditional financial institutions. In the 90s, as a college student and foreigner in the US, I had access to a Credit Card. This enabled me to manage my cash shortfalls better. Unfortunately, my friends in India were not that lucky. This was a market gap that presented itself as an opportunity. In 2016, I started mPokket to address this gap. In 2017, we had our seed round funding.
2018 was a very special year for us. For lending purposes, we partnered with an NBFC. To ensure scalability, we improved our credit technology and algorithms. This was also the year when we raised the Pre-Series A round funding, besides becoming profitable for the very first time. In 2019, we achieved the milestone of 1 million KYC approved users.
In 2020, we raised Series A round funding. We also introduced instant loans of small ticket size for young professionals. When we started, we were a 3-member strong team. Today, there are more than 700 members in team mPokket serving customers across 19,000 pin codes in India.
Q : What is the current user base currently and what is the target for FY22?
A. Presently, we have more than 1.3 million borrowers who are KYC approved. That number is expected to grow to close to 1.5 million by FY-21 end.
Q : What is the company’s future growth plans? Any new areas the company is planning to foray?
Over and above young professionals and college students, we will shortly expand our customer base to include self-employed individuals.
We are also working on innovation such as pay-via-EMI at shopping destinations of choice.
Q : How COVID has affected the micro-lending sector?
A : During the lockdown many borrowers struggled with cash flow disruption. With the RBI moratorium also in place micro-lenders faced a tough environment with limited collections. Fortunately, economic activity has now resumed with decreasing trends in delinquency. mPokket’s business has also recovered and is now higher than pre-COVID levels.