Mumbai head-quartered ftcash is an RBI-registered NBFC and one of India’s fastest-growing fintech companies. Founded in 2015 by Sanjeev Chandak, Deepak Kothari and Vaibhav Lodha, it has over 60,000 merchants in its network and more than 300 employees across 8 states in India.
ftcash has 2 main offerings for small businesses – working capital loans and digital payments. It helps them increase their disposable income and gives them an ability to scale up. ftcash was able to make the process of digital payment acceptance ‘merchant centric’ and made it really easy. It started operations by enabling digital payment acceptance in less than 5 minutes anywhere in the country.
The company has created an open architecture-based platform for merchants to initiate digital payments by aggregating all payment methods including credit and debit cards, net banking, mobile wallets, UPI and PayPal. Its products enable the MSMEs to increase their business income, while building their credit profile. A number of small businesses are excellent entrepreneurs, but unfortunately have not been able to scale up due to lack of credit.
Sanjeev Chandak, Cofounder & CEO, ftcash, asserts: “We are now a responsible lender to MSMEs by combining loans with digital payments. We are continuing by remaining true to our customers. We provide them an ability to dream big and execute on those dreams. We have been successful by staying focussed on the customer segment and have built a platform that can easily adapt to the environment.”
ftcash ensures that the loans it provides to MSME is a win-win solution for both the borrower and the lender. ftcash uses proprietary algorithm to analyse creditworthiness and offer underserved MSMEs, including retailers, pharmacies, garment stores, automobile shops and mom-and-pop stores, with institutional finance. Sanjeev explains: “We ensure that there is risk-based pricing so that it is fair to different types of borrowers with varying risk profiles. Our ability to manage risk while providing a solution that appeals to the MSME target segment has enabled us to grow quickly.” Recently, ftcash has added functionality in the app whereby merchants can apply for loans.
Agent App, Data In Cloud
ftcash has undertaken a number of new technology initiatives and innovations in order to grow overall business and keeping pace with the fintech and regulatory environment. Since it deals with small ticket loans, ftcash leverages technology to a large extent so that it can service the merchant efficiently while making it convenient. It uses a completely digital process for credit underwriting, document signing, etc. It leverages the India stack for CKYC and Aadhaar based e-sign to make it effortless.
For the repayment process, ftcash has built its own platform, whereby customers can pay via multiple modes, including, UPI and the transactions are automatically posted on its lending platform. It also has a customer facing app where customers can see their transaction history, loan repayments, etc. All its data is stored in the cloud with appropriate security measures keeping in mind customer privacy. The cloud partner is Amazon (AWS).
Sanjeev points out: “We have built a proprietary platform called ‘Daily Health’ which measures the credit worthiness of the borrower every single day post disbursal of the loan and appropriate interventions are done, if we find that the customer’s credit worthiness is going down. Our field employees have an ftcash Agent App which is used to enter loan application data.”
ftcash has made its app more secure by ensuring that it is PCI DSS Level 1 certified. Sanjeev explains: “We have implemented rigorous testing and best in class security features so that it conforms to the PCI DSS guidelines.”
The IT team at ftcash comprises 35 people, including full stack developers, app developers, devops (development & operations), data science and testing.
Partners, Growth Prospects
ftcash has digitally disbursed more than Rs6 billion in loans so far and continuing to grow. Its AUM has grown by 22X since 2019 despite covid bottlenecks. ftcash has opened new locations in South India to fuel its growth. It is ramping up more locations in tier 1 & 2 cities. It has partnered with other NBFCs including U Gro, Ambit and Northern Arc. These partnerships enable it to serve its customers more widely than what it could have done on its own.
Sanjeev reveals: “We are looking for more collaborations with like-minded banks and NBFCs to further increase our product offerings and reach digitally. We are planning and expecting digital disbursals to grow 3X in 2023 as we continue to serve our customers digitally. We are aiming to digitally empower over 60 million micro-merchants and small businesses by bridging the lending gap with accessible loans.”