Incred: Rising to the Unicorn Heights in 2023 - A Success Story
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blog/article-blog/Incred: Rising to the Unicorn Heights in 2023 - A Success Story

Dec 31, 2023

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Incred: Rising to the Unicorn Heights in 2023 - A Success Story

Incred has achieved a remarkable feat of becoming India’s second unicorn in 2023, a new-age financial services platform that leverages technology and data science to make lending quick and easy. Incred achieved the coveted unicorn status in December 2023, after raising ₹500 crores in a Series D funding round led by KKR India, a global investment firm. 


Incred was founded in 2016 by Kamesh Goyal, a veteran of the insurance industry, along with Philip Varghese, Sriram Shankar, and Vijay Kumar, who brought in their expertise in technology, data science, and finance. The founding team had a vision to create a trustworthy, transparent, and high-integrity financial institution that would positively impact the socio-economic well-being of the lower-middle-class to middle-class Indian households, while protecting the interests of all stakeholders.


The team realized that there was a huge gap in the Indian lending market, as the traditional lenders, such as banks and NBFCs, were unable to serve the needs of the large and underserved segments of the population, such as the self-employed, the salaried, the students, and the small businesses. These segments faced challenges such as lack of credit history, high interest rates, rigid eligibility criteria, lengthy documentation, and delayed disbursal, which made borrowing a cumbersome and stressful process.


To address this gap, the team decided to build a platform that would use technology and data science to simplify and streamline the lending process, and offer customized and affordable loan products to the customers. The team also decided to adopt a hybrid model of online and offline channels, to reach out to the customers across geographies and segments, and provide them with a seamless and convenient borrowing experience.


The Growth of Incred


Incred started its operations in 2017, after acquiring an NBFC license from the RBI, and raised INR 5.85 billion in its first funding round. Incred launched four retail and five MSME products, and started disbursing loans to the customers. Incred achieved profitability in its first year of operations, and received the LinkedIn Top 25 startups award in 2018, and the ET Best Brand award for four consecutive years from 2020 to 2023.


In 2019, Incred raised another INR 4.27 billion from investors, such as Dutch development bank FMO, US-based asset manager Moore Capital, and IndiaLends founder Gaurav Chopra, among others. Incred also received the ET Best Brand award in 2019, and expanded its product portfolio and customer base.


In 2020, Incred acquired Qbera, a fintech lending platform, to strengthen its digital capabilities and reach. Incred also partnered with leading e-commerce platforms, such as Amazon India and Flipkart, to provide business loans to their merchants. Incred also received the Best Fintech Business Lender award by India FinTech Forum (IFTA), and the ET Best Brand award for the third consecutive year.


In 2021, Incred entered into a strategic partnership with KKR India, one of the largest global investment firms, to merge their NBFC businesses and create a diversified lending platform. The merger was completed in July 2022, and gave Incred access to KKR’s expertise, network, and capital. Incred also reached a milestone of ~ INR 5000 crore AUM, and partnered with a leading food delivery platform to offer easy credit facilities to its customers. Incred also received the ET Best Brand award for the fourth consecutive year.


In 2023, Incred successfully completed its Series D funding round, securing $60 million from investors, such as Sequoia Capital India, IIFL Finance, and others. This funding round valued Incred at over $1.04 billion, making it the second unicorn in India in 2023, after Zepto. Incred also launched InCred Pronto, a salary advance product, to help the salaried customers meet their short-term cash needs.


Incred Product Portfolio


The startup offers a range of loan products, such as personal loans, education loans, business loans, merchant loans, and InCred Pronto, a salary advance product. Incred also provides credit solutions to digital merchants, SMEs, and students who aspire to study abroad. Incred has served over 1.5 million borrowers, impacted over 50,000 SME businesses, financed over 10,000 digital merchants, and supported over 5,000 students in their education journey.


Incred’s success is driven by its innovative use of technology and data science, which enables it to offer customized and flexible loan products, streamline the lending process, reduce the turnaround time, and enhance the customer experience. Incred also leverages its strong partnerships with leading e-commerce platforms, such as Amazon India and Flipkart, to provide business loans to their merchants. In addition, Incred has made strategic acquisitions and mergers, such as Qbera, a fintech lending platform, in 2020, and KKR India, a global investment firm, in 2022, to expand its product portfolio, customer base, and market reach.


The success factors of Incred


Incred’s journey to the unicorn heights is a result of its relentless focus on innovation, customer-centricity, and social impact. Some of the key factors that contributed to Incred’s success are:


Technology and data science: Incred leverages technology and data science to automate and optimize the lending process, and make lending quick and easy. Incred uses advanced algorithms, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to assess the creditworthiness, risk profile, and repayment capacity of the customers, using alternative data sources, such as social media, e-commerce, and behavioral patterns. Incred also uses technology to enable faster verification, approval, and disbursal of loans, and to provide a seamless and convenient user interface to the customers.


Customer-centricity: Incred puts the customer at the center of its business, and strives to offer the best possible solutions and services to the customers. Incred offers a range of loan products, such as personal loans, education loans, business loans, merchant loans, and salary advance loans, to cater to the diverse and evolving needs of the customers. Incred also offers flexible and customized loan terms, such as loan amount, tenure, interest rate, and repayment options, to suit the preferences and circumstances of the customers. Incred also provides a hassle-free and transparent borrowing experience to the customers, with minimal documentation, instant approval, and quick disbursal.


Social impact: Incred aims to create a positive social impact, by enabling the financial inclusion and empowerment of the lower-middle-class to middle-class Indian households, who are often underserved or unserved by the traditional lenders.


Conclusion


Incred’s story is an inspiring example of how a fintech startup can achieve phenomenal growth and scale, while creating a positive social impact, in a competitive and dynamic market. 

 

InCred has grown its loan book to Rs 7,500 crore, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 50% over the last three years, and has served over 1.5 million customers till date.  The company plans to use the fresh capital to scale up its existing business verticals and explore new opportunities in the fintech space, such as insurance, wealth management, and payments. The company also intends to expand its presence in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, and increase its employee base from 1,500 to 2,000 by the end of 2023.






Category: Startup Ecosystem

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