Fintech Unicorn CredAveneue Aims to Revolutionize Debt Markets

CredAvenue is an enterprise debt marketplace that connects enterprises with lenders and investors

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CredAvenue, an enterprise debt marketplace, became one of the fastest fintech startups to become a unicorn in February 2022. However, for Gaurav Kumar, founder and CEO, CredAvenue, milestones like fundraising and turning Unicorn are only reminders of why he is on this journey.

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"The last two years we have been able to achieve a significant scale. But I think there is a lot more for us to build. Also, fundraise and valuation means more responsibility on me and my team," he says.

Founded in 2020, CredAvenue raised $137 million in Series B, led by Insight Partners, B Capital Group and Dragoneer. "It's an opportunity of a lifetime to genuinely transform a significant sector, because, in India, debt markets are significantly under-penetrated," he says.

Kumar is a serial entrepreneur who has been in the debt markets for the last 15 years. Before CredAvenue, he founded Northern Arc Capital, Vivriti Capital, Vivriti Asset Management. This played a huge role in terms of setting up CredAvenue in 2020. "The core piece to our mind was largely that the debt markets have not deepened in India. One of the reasons for that is we lack the overall financial services infrastructure for enterprises to access debt markets. This led to the genesis of CredAvenue," he said.

CredAvenue is an enterprise debt marketplace that connects enterprises with lenders and investors. It aims to revolutionize and deepen debt markets by leveraging its five tech platforms. These include CredLoan which offers term lending and working capital solutions for enterprises, CredCoLend which offers co-lending partnerships for banks and NBFCs, Plutus which offers bond issuance and investment for institutional and retail participants, CredSCF which provides trade financing solutions and CredPool which offers an end to end securitization and portfolio buyouts.

In addition, the company also offers portfolio management and monitoring services as a SaaS offering to its borrowers and lenders. CredAvenue currently has more than 2,300 corporates, more than 750 lenders and has facilitated debt volumes of over INR 90,000 crores. Being a fourth-time entrepreneur, it is the "why' that keeps Kumar going. "That's what genuinely gets me out of bed," he said.

Further, the pandemic has also proven to be a blessing in disguise for many startups in the fintech space. Kumar believes that the pandemic has particularly helped in creating the synergy between the existing ecosystem and the emerging ecosystem, that is between the banking ecosystem and the fintech ecosystem. "I think there's a lot of acceptance on co-building and co-partnering to scale this up. But more importantly, pre-pandemic, it would be unimaginable of a lender doing all of what we're doing today digitally, that is without meeting the customer in person or going and evaluating you in person. That has completely changed," he says.

CredAvenue also bets on a top-down culture. "Everybody in the organization should know the real amount of impact their work is creating on a day-to-day basis. I believe in a lot of empowerment of any leader who is coming on board. So for us, irrespective of your experience, everybody's in a leadership position because they're making decisions every day.

Unicorn status is just the beginning for CredAvenue. The company has its eyes set on many more milestones. In the immediate future, it aims to achieve a 90 per cent customer NPS, scale both credit revenue as well as a franchise globally and become a 85 per cent to 90 per cent gross margin business.