‘The Bharat Fintech Program’ by LenDenClub aims at investing in rural fintech start-ups – ET BFSI

LenDenClub Alpha, a corporate venture capital (CVC) of LenDenClub, has launched ‘The Bharat Fintech Program’ in association with Startup Réseau. The objective is to provide an impetus to new-age budding entrepreneurs in the fintech space across India. The initiative will focus on mentoring, guiding and supporting these start-ups to accelerate their growth. A corpus of ₹2 crores for investment has been set up for this program.

Speaking on the launch, Bhavin Patel, co-founder and CEO of LenDenClub, said, “There is immense potential in rural India around innovation by start-ups. With the Bharat Fintech Program, we are on a mission to identify the most innovative businesses arising out of Bharat. We are talking about bringing the impact to the lives of 800 million who reside in 6 lakh villages across the geographical expanse of the country.”

To amplify the program’s reach, LenDenClub Alpha will run start-up engagement drives in states like Maharashtra, Telangana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Rajasthan, along with the capital of India i.e. Delhi.

Over 850 million people (65%) of the total population live in non-metro cities, often referred to as ‘Bharat’. The rural fintech program is one such way to mobilize start-ups from smaller towns and provide them with the same support that Tier 1 cities get.

Rajat Sinha, Principal at LenDenClub Alpha, said, “Bharat Fintech Program is an attempt by LenDenClub to promote innovation and inclusivity. Most start-ups, especially from the non-metro cities and remote towns, do not have access to capital, the right support and guidance to develop a new product and launch it; we aim to address this issue through the program. And we hope that our investment corpus will contribute to nation-building by boosting the fintech start-up ecosystem. LenDenClub Alpha along with Artha Venture Fund and Unicorn India Ventures recently invested USD 1.5 million in the no-code platform, Hubbler. LenDenClub also plans to offer its expertise to these start-ups, and will help its investee start-ups through technological upgradation, driving customer acquisition, and building innovative products for masses, among other aids.”

What will be done?

  • LenDenClub Alpha will focus on fintech start-ups across domains such as payments 4.0, regtech, wealthtech, insurtech, digital lending, banking solutions and emerging technologies (AI/ML/IoT).
  • Shortlisting of start-ups will be done by assessing their applications based on the entries.
  • They will host nationwide activation sessions and hackathons to raise awareness about the initiative.
  • They will be mentored and incubated for 3 months, with the end outcome being that a select few will be funded by the end of FY ’22.

Talking about the launch of the programme, Ajay Ramasubramaniam, Founder & CEO, Startup Réseau added, “This is a FinTech partnership that we are super excited about – as LenDenClub is seeking to invest their resources in enabling next-gen startups solving for the next mile/next hurdle in the fast growing Bharat FinTech ecosystem. It is a win-win for LenDenClub and startups from emerging startup hubs that get selected for the program. Founder/Leadership perspectives, Business Insights, Market Access and Investments are a great value add for startups. We look forward to the upcoming roadshows and startups applying to the program.”

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Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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