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ePayLater: A SMB Partner ePayLater is an embedded credit facility that allows retailers and wholesalers a way to access working capital finance at zero cost.

By Minakshi Sangwan

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Aurko Bhattacharya, Co-founder of ePayLater

According to investment banking firm Avendus Capital, the credit supply-demand gap in the MSME segment in India is said to be about USD 530 billion. Most of the formal financing institutions face challenges in expanding to this segment as the costs of onboarding and servicing are high. This is because these MSMEs operate in a high-touch environment, often requiring an in-person approach. The segment is difficult to underwrite because of the lack of structured data, as most of the dealings happen in cash.

"56% of micro-entrepreneurs rely on savings from the business or tap into the informal system, which delays growth for them, increases costs, and reduces their ability to withstand shocks. 40% of loans in this segment are denied because of a lack of available collateral," says Aurko Bhattacharya, Co-founder of ePayLater.

"In terms of supply chain finance, formal institutions (who rely on credit comfort from the brands) are able to provide credit only to the distributors and not beyond. Thus, the last mile is completely driven by informal credit," he adds.

Mumbai-based ePayLater claims to be a pioneer in financial innovation in this segment. As per the company, it not only provides collateral-free credit to the last mile in this segment but interest-free credit as well.

ePayLater is an embedded credit facility that allows retailers and wholesalers a way to access working capital finance at zero cost.

"ePayLater is not just a financial solution but is creating a network of brands, distributors, retailers, vendors, and financial institutions. Our goal is to provide seamless solutions to each participant that leverage technology and data to solve challenges faced by them," states Aurko.

Speaking about their USP, he highlights that customer first is a core value at ePayLater. Almost all of the company's processes and systems are designed to keep the customer at the center of operations.

"Another area that allows us to tap into customers is the way we underwrite risk. Most of the customers in our space do not have a digital trail, and it's difficult to underwrite them through traditional methods. We use advanced algorithms and alternate data to underwrite these customers. As they get associated with ePayLater, their every transaction now becomes part of a digital trail, which helps them get access to larger capital through formal channels," Aurko shares.

Founded in 2015 by Akshat Saxena, Aurko Bhattacharya, and Uday Somayajula, ePayLater expects to hit profitability by June 2024.

The startup, being a fintech platform, applied for and got the NBFC license in 2020. "While this puts many regulatory compliances on the entity, we take it as part of our operations to make sure that we are always on the right side of regulations. We are also an ISO 27001-certified entity and take data privacy very seriously," says Aurko.

Facts:

· Amount of funding received - USD 25 million

· Year of inception - 2015, moved into B2B segment towards late 2018

· Number of employees - 70

· No of app downloads - 1 million+

· Current turnover - Disbursed over INR 5000 crores in working capital loans till date

Minakshi Sangwan

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