Avanti Finance Raises $26 Mn In Series A And Debt Funding Round Co-led By Oikocredit And Nomura

The platform will use the funds to strengthen its platform and expand its presence to accelerate livelihood's purpose credit and other financial products to the next 100 million unserved and underserved households in India

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Bengaluru-based technology-led NBFC Avanti Finance, focused on financial inclusion, announced on Wednesday to have raised $26 million in debt and equity from Oikocredit, Nomura, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Technopreneur-cum-philanthropist Pratul Shroff and existing investor NRJN Trust also participated in the round.

The platform will use the funds to strengthen its platform and expand its presence to accelerate livelihood's purpose credit and other financial products to the next 100 million unserved and underserved households in India.

"We are excited and humbled to have this consortium of marquee investors partner with Avanti in our goal of building a population scale platform to usher in the next era of financial inclusion. One that will be digital-first and empower our users towards stronger financial health and economic opportunities. This is a testimony of the passion of the entire Avanti team," said Rahul Gupta, chief executive officer, Avanti Finance.

The company has built a digital platform that facilitates a paperless, presence-less, and cashless approach to lending that will reduce costs and friction for unserved and underserved segments, especially in rural India. The platform partners with a diverse set of organizations with strong roots in local communities to offer loan products that are hyperlocal and focused on livelihood sustainability. It has built a strong proof of concept in 15 states covering 110 districts and further expanding its footprint.

"We anticipate technology to play a transformational role in the way financial services are accessed, especially by the low-income segments. Avanti's vision and mission are deeply aligned with our principle of promoting sustainable development through responsible financial services. We are excited to partner with Avanti and take financial inclusion to the next level with this equity investment," shared Anirudh Sarda, equity officer, Oikocredit.

The platform has been said to use its own balance sheet and will also establish partnerships for livelihoods-focused lending with other capital providers who share the mission of enabling financial inclusion for the most needy.

The company claims to understand that sustained impact in low-income households can be achieved through the economic empowerment of women and currently, more than 75 per cent of Avanti borrowers are women. Avanti is building a scalable partner ecosystem that includes social enterprises, financial institutions, business correspondents, and agritech innovators across the country.

"Fintech incumbents have predominantly targeted the urban population. We believe technology will play a major role in enabling credit access to the rural and unbanked population, and Avanti is at the forefront of driving this. Nomura, in line with our ESG environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations and our mission to help enrich society through our expertise in capital markets, is excited to partner with Avanti in this initiative," added Samir Bhandari, head of global markets sales, Asia ex-Japan, Nomura.

Unitus Capital acted as an exclusive financial transaction advisor to Avanti Finance and Abhiraj Krishna Associates acted as the legal advisors to the company.

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