Financial technology firm BharatPe has seen its revenue and transaction volume jump manifold in the financial year 2020-21, as the pandemic has forced people and businesses adopt digital transactions and fund-starved small businesses seeking more credit avenues like this start-up.
The company gives small-ticket fully unsecured loans averaging at Rs 75,000 to it merchant members. It disbursed Rs 1,600 crore in 2020-21 to 1.8 lakh merchant customers, which was only Rs 150 crore in 2019-20, BharatPe Group President Suhail Sameer told PTI on Thursday.
This helped the start-up net a seven-times growth in revenue to over Rs 700 crore, up from around Rs 110 crore in 2019-20, Sameer said.
While the number of merchants jumped to 60 lakh in 2020-21 from 24 lakh in the previous year, transaction volume rose over four times to 10 crore a month or 120 crore annually from 2.7 crore a month in FY20, he said.
The transaction value touched around Rs 5,800 crore, he added.
"The financial year 2020-21 was a great year for us, as the pandemic turned out to be a game changer for the payments and financial services industry," Sameer said adding that this, along with the company's entry into the credit business, helped it grow manifold.
The lending business, which started right in the end of 2019, turned out to be the biggest game changer for the company, Sameer said.
He added that the loan book has grown more than 10 times to Rs 1,600 crore in small-ticket loans during 2020-21, up from Rs 150 crore in 2019-20.
It charges an interest rate of 1.5-2 per cent per month for a period one to six months and a customer with good repayment history can get it even at 1.2 per cent per month, he said.
He claimed that the company has one of the lowest bounce rates in the unsecured credit industry at four per cent as against the industry average of over 20 per cent.
"We plan to focus more on lending going forward as this is our revenue earner. We have set a target of disbursing over Rs 15,000 crore in FY22," Sameer said.
It is also planning to enter 300 cities this year from 100 now.
He said the company has set a target of more than doubling the number of merchants to 1.2-1.3 crore this fiscal and take it to three crore next fiscal, on the revenue rise.
BharatPe has so far raised USD 300 million in equity and debt from marquee investors such as Coatue Management, Ribbit Capital, Insight Partners, Steadview Capital, Beenext, Amplo, and Sequoia Capital.
Of the USD 240 million equity funding, it has used up only USD 60 million so far, Sameer said, indicating that it does not need capital now.
Our monthly cash burn is only USD 2.6 million, spent primarily on merchant acquisition, and this expense can easily be controlled, he said.