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Fintech startup Bon raises seed funding

Fintech startup Bon raises seed funding
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Bonfleet Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which runs fintech startup Bon, has raised a seed round of funding led by impact investment firm Omidyar Network, founder Bhasker Bosky Kode told VCCircle.

The company has received Rs 7.8 crore ($1.03 million) from investors that also include early-stage investment firm Axilor Ventures and Better Capital’s AngelList India Syndicate. It will use the money for expansion and to upgrade its technology, he added.

Smita Aggarwal, who leads strategy and investments for Omidyar Network's financial inclusion initiative in India, said that the firm contributed two-thirds of the amount.

Bon, which was founded in 2016, provides credit to self-employed people belonging to the so-called gig economy such as taxi drivers, electricians, and beauticians who have limited access to funds unlike most of the salaried class. It has tie-ups with financial institutions and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).

As an online platform, Bon facilitates lending for institutions like NBFCs. For NBFCs in particular, it helps with customer acquisition and Know Your Customer (KYC) norms. 

Besides, its algorithms also help decide credit limit and enable NBFCs to disburse credit to a particular section of customers.

Kode said the loan ticket size ranges from Rs 1,500 to Rs 15,000 and the interest rates depend completely on what Bon’s NBFC partners charge.

The company also has its own retail outlets in 10 locations at present including Bengaluru, Gurgaon, Noida, Kochi and Kolkata.

Founder Kode began his career at e-learning company Tutorvista, which was eventually acquired by ed-tech unicorn Byju’s from Pearson. He also co-founded Hover, a high-frequency real-time ad bidding exchange. Before founding Bon, he was product engineering head at customer support platform Helpshift.

Omidyar’s Aggarwal said that Bon gels with the firm’s philosophy as it targets self-employed workers who are economically active but quite invisible to the banking and financial sector.

In April, Omidyar Network had led a seed round in Chennai-based Kaleidofin, another fintech company catering to the informal sector.

Omidyar’s other fintech bets include digital insurance platform Toffee.

The Silicon Valley-headquartered impact investment firm was established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

After a relatively dormant 2017, Omidyar Network has already made a dozen bets this year, most of them new investments.

Deals in the space

Several startups in the broader fintech space have raised money in recent months.

Earlier this month, SlicePay, a digital lending platform which caters to college students and young professionals, raised an undisclosed amount in an extended Series A round of funding led by Chinese firm FinUp Finance Technology Group.

Last month, Shubh Loans received $4.2 million (Rs 30 crore) in a fresh funding round led by venture capital firm Saama Capital.

Options trading platform Sensibull, which is run by Riskilla Software Technologies Pvt. Ltd, raised Rs 2.5 crore (about $357,000) from Rainmatter, a fintech fund and incubator managed by stock broking firm Zerodha last month.

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