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"We are targeting young companies" The maturing startup ecosystem in India

By Entrepreneur India

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Many young companies are trying to raise funds to grow further. Ratnakar Bank Ltd is working with these young companies and helping them to grow. Rajeev Ahuja, Head-Strategy, RBL Bank, talks with Entrepreneur about latest bank's initiatives and how it is boosting entrepreneurship in the country.

How is RBL Bank creating entrepreneurial environment?

We are trying to build an ecosystem for start-ups. We are targeting young companies and handholding them to grow. This is the DNA of the bank's growth. We are focusing on technology development companies. We are helping companies that are doing business for the past two to five years.

What are you doing for start-ups?

We are trying to look for innovative ideas among start-ups. We have created a fast-track program to support early stage companies with a basket of banking services to jumpstart their operations.

This includes a green channel for account setup, payroll services, cash management, payment gateway/transaction services, customized debit cards and a dedicated hotline to address 24x7 needs of these high-growth companies.

What are the latest initiatives of the bank?

We have recently come up with India Startup Club. The objective is to work closely with young companies. Their requirements are different from big firms'.

We have also associated with fund managers. RBL Bank will be the anchor investor in Trifecta Capital's Venture Debt Fund, the first alternative investment fund of its kind in India with a commitment of Rs 50 crore.

This move provides RBL Bank an opportunity to support emerging venture debt market in India. The fund will focus on providing structured debt to high-growth start-ups that have raised Series A or B rounds of equity funding. We are also working towards joint product development in the area of financial technologies.

The move showcases RBL Bank's pro-growth and pro-entrepreneurship approach towards the changing economic and social conditions in India.

How is recently launched digital wallet helping customers?

Startups need a digital wallet as it is the secure mode of transaction. We have tied up with a payments company TranServ to introduce bank-sponsored digital wallet called Shmart for online retailers in India. It has been developed specifically to address the needs of online retailers in India, the digital payment product suite – Shmart – is deployed by over 150 merchants.

What kind of companies RBL bank is focusing on at the moment?

We are focusing on well-established start-ups and many consumer companies. Today, we are focusing on B2C segment as it is growing day-by-day.

(This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (October, 2015 Issue).

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