Indebted Eskom Turns to Sukuk Market for Funding | Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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South Africa’s embattled national power utility Eskom has new plans to issue a $58 million (R1 billion) sukuk bond in a bid to diversify funding sources as borrowing costs rise.
According to spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha, Eskom has appointed a new lead arranger “to work towards establishing timelines for the issue.” The power utility currently has over R450 billion in debt and has yet to announce further plans to ask the South African governments for additional capital injections.
What is a sukuk?
According to IOL, a sukuk is a Shariah-compliant investment and an attractive alternative to conventional bonds. For all intents and purposes a sukuk – Arabic for ‘investment certificate’ – is issued for the purpose of raising money for utilisation within a corporation or government entity.

Sukuks offer a higher return paid to the investor. This creates an additional choice within the investment market and enables investors to add a diversification component to their portfolio.
Eskom’s Funding Plan
The company’s latest strategy “requires sizeable funding that can provide diversification and longer tenors at reduced finance costs,” according to a request made by Eskom and posted on the Tempemail Treasury website.
“Eskom has assessed the viability of an innovative local-currency South African-based Sukuk funding solution that would enable Eskom to further develop its borrowing plan.”
Shariah-compliant bonds have been considered as a funding source for Eskom since around 2012, writes Bloomberg. The company said two years later that it would watch and wait to see what the South African government does with its sukuk debut as a barometer for future funding plans.
South Africa sold $500 million of Shariah-compliant bonds in 2014 at a 3.9% profit rate, at the time its lowest-cost dollar bond yet, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Eskom invites companies to join in on the bond
Eskom’s proposal, issued on 24 June, has been inviting legal institutions and other companies to work with the power utility on the Sharia-compliant bond, which comes bundled-up with a government guarantee and a listing on the JSE.
Edited by Luis MonzonFollow Luis Monzon on TwitterFollow Tempemail on Twitter

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DTA moves to review broken government IT funding model – Strategy – Cloud- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The Digital Transformation Agency will formally review the federal government’s outdated IT funding model in a bid to better support agile delivery approaches and common, reusable platforms.
Long-held issues with the federal budget approval process have been top of mind for the peak IT agency since a fundamental shake-up of the federal budget approval process was flagged late last year.
Government Services Minister Stuart Robert has called on the agency to explore different funding models with key departments like Finance and Defence to address decades of deep-set problems with the current paradigm.
He is keen to introduce a new investment model that would allow “agencies to try things, learn and scale up or share their learnings before significant amounts of money and reputation capital are sunk into projects that may not deliver what they set out to do”.
However, the funding model as it currently stands, is “inhibiting the take up of more agile ways of delivery”, as it has “failed to keep up with the growth of cloud and other service and subscription-based models”, he said.
This is largely because the investment model is orientated around capital and operational expenditure, which is designed for owning IT assets – especially software intangibles – rather than consuming them as services.
The DTA has now taken its exploration to the next level, appealing to the market for “whole-of-government digital and ICT policy and governance advice” to inform its thinking on a future investment strategy.
In a brief issued on the digital marketplace, the DTA called for “experienced sellers who have proven capability to support development of options and strategies for whole-of-Government ICT and digital governance and investment policy reform”.
“The project seeks to review and assess the current whole-of-Government digital and ICT investment policy landscape and governance arrangements, and to develop a roadmap of future work to address gaps and opportunities,” it said.
The DTA said the “forward work program”, which is slated to begin later this month and run for approximately six weeks, will provide it with “a roadmap for focused ongoing strategic policy and governance activity”.
“The project will identify policy opportunities to optimise funding arrangements for digital and ICT investments – to better support development and sustainment of shared capabilities, and more flexible approaches to resourcing for agile delivery,” the agency said.
“In addition, it will consider models and processes for good whole-of-government digital and ICT decision-making, to ensure robust governance of performance, risk, strategic alignment, architecture, investment planning, stakeholder engagement, etc.”
One of the policy opportunities that is likely to be highlighted through the process, is a digital investment fund or central pot of money that can be used to support technology projects with an agile delivery mindset.
The NSW government has already gone down this path by creating a digital restart fund to support and accelerate government-wide digital projects, which other states and territories are now looking at. 
Senior government technology executives have been calling for changes to the IT investment process, which favours big-bang, waterfall-based technology projects, for a number of years now to address what are considered “fundamental” problems.
The DTA itself has been lobbying Finance to better support agile delivery since at least April 2018, including through the creation of a digital-specific investment fund that looks somewhat similar to NSW’s.

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Fintech firm Lendingkart raises Rs 319 crore in Series D funding- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Financial technology company Lendingkart Technologies has said it raised an equity round of more than Rs 319 crore in its Series D round — comprising Rs 233 crore as part of D1 and Rs 86.24 crores as part of D2 fundraise.
The funding will be deployed to expand the company’s lending base and further reach out to small and underserved micro and small enterprises, and to further strengthen the company’s technological and analytics capabilities.
This round of funding was led by existing investors including Fullerton Financial Holdings Pte Ltd (“FFH”) and Bertelsmann India Investments, Sistema Asia Fund and IndiaQuotient.
Founded in 2014, Lendingkart has till now raised more than Rs 1,050 crore of equity capital from investors.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 and the resultant slowdown has had a tremendous impact on the economy. During these unprecedented times, MSMEs (micro, small & medium-sized enterprises) who are the backbone of the economy have significantly suffered grappling with varied economic uncertainties,” Harshvardhan Lunia, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Lendingkart Technologies, said in a statement.
“The fresh round of funding will play a pivotal role in aiding us to help these impacted MSMEs to ensure business continuity amidst the ongoing crisis,” he added.
Since its inception, Lendingkart Finance, a non-deposit taking non-banking financial company (NBFC) arm of Lendingkart Group, has evaluated nearly half a million applications, disbursing more than 1,00,000+ loans to more than 89,000 MSMEs in over 1,300 cities across 29 states and union territories.
The company leverages robust in-house technology tools based on big data analytics and machine learning algorithms to evaluate creditworthiness and aims to disburse loans with minimal paperwork within 72 hours.
Lendingkart is currently based in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi NCR and Kolkata but has a service reach across the country.

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Reliance announces Rs 6598 crores funding to Jio by General Atlantic- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Reliance Industries on Sunday announced US fund General Atlantic will invest Rs. 6,598 crores ($870 million) in Jio Platforms, a fourth deal that takes investment in its digital unit to over $8 billion in less than a month. General Atlantic will pick up a 1.34 percent stake in Jio Platforms which includes movies, music apps as wells telecoms venture Jio Infocomm. The deal puts Jio Platform’s equity value at Rs. 4.91 lakh crores and gives it an enterprise value of Rs. 5.16 lakh crores, Reliance said in a statement.
Reliance, controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, last month forged a Rs. 43,574 crores deal with Facebook for a 9.99 percent stake in Jio Platforms.
Days later it secured a Rs. 5,656 crores investment from private equity firm Silver Lake.
The deals, along with Reliance’s plan to sell $7 billion (roughly Rs. 53,100 crores) in new shares, will help the Mumbai-based oil-to-telecoms giant meet its target of eliminating $21.4 billion (roughly Rs. 1.62 lakh crores) in net debt this year.
They also underscore the strength of a digital business that Ambani has built over the past four years in an effort to diversify Reliance way from petrochemicals and refining.
Ambani, Asia’s richest man, launched the Jio telecoms venture in late 2016, driving several rivals out of the market and pushing others to consolidate.
He’s often said “data is the new oil”.
He has pitched Jio as a tech company with capabilities to build smart homes, making it a possible rival to Amazon’s Alexa-based solutions, connected cars and security systems.
On Sunday, Reliance Chairman Ambani said: “We are excited to leverage General Atlantic’s proven global expertise and strategic insights across 40 years of technology investing for the benefit of Jio.”

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Gurugram-based SirionLabs raises Rs 331 crore in Series C funding- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Gurugram-headquartered Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered contract lifecycle management (CLM) platform SirionLabs has said it raised a $44 million (approximately Rs 331 crore) Series C round of funding led by Tiger Global and Avatar Growth Capital.
The funding round brings SirionLabs’ total capital raised to $66 million to date, with earlier rounds led by Sequoia Capital India.
SirionLabs said the latest funding round will help it in consolidating its leadership in the CLM category.
The company also announced the launch of its new Seattle-based Technology Center and the growth of its leadership team with the appointment of Amol Joshi as Chief Revenue Officer, Anu Engineer as Chief Technology Officer, Mahesh Unnikrishnan as Chief Product Officer and Vijay Khera as Chief Customer Officer.
“SirionCLM’s permissioned ledger architecture does away with analog contracting processes which are adversarial in nature and instead creates a level playing field that gives all companies, whether buyers or sellers, an opportunity to collaborate and leverage a single-source of truth in realising the business outcomes embedded in contracts,” Ajay Agrawal, Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of SirionLabs said.
“I am delighted to welcome Tiger Global and Avatar Growth Capital as our latest investors. It is a strong vote of confidence in our vision to revolutionise contracting,” Agrawal said.
The Sirion Network hosts contracts in over 40 languages for more than 200 of the world’s largest companies including Vodafone, Unilever, BP, EY, Fujitsu, Credit Suisse and Abbvie.
SirionLabs’ diverse team consists of more than 500 employees working across 8 locations in India, the US, the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark and Singapore.
While New Delhi and Seattle are SirionLabs’ centers for R&D and customer success operations, the sales and marketing team is distributed across its other offices.

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Startup Doceree raises Seed Funding Of $1Mn- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Doceree Inc., (www.doceree.com), the world’s first Programmatic Physician Engagement Platform, today said it has raised $1 million in seed funding from a group of angel investors from India and the United States.
The New Jersey-based Doceree successfully secured the funds despite the unprecedented coronavirus crisis that is wreaking havoc on stocks worldwide, causing a meltdown in investment sentiment globally. The health-tech startup plans to utilize the funds for customer acquisition, recruiting talent, scaling up operations in India and the US and ramping up technology to further digitalize physician engagement experience.
The seed funding round was led by Kumar Gaurav, Founder & CEO of Beyond Codes in which other investors from advertising and pharmaceutical industry participated. Doceree, that connects pharma brands and digital platforms and allows products and services of the former to be marketed to physicians on the latter’s platforms, has also inducted Rahul Gupta in the management board. Mr Gupta is a serial investor in over 15 IT, ITES, Healthcare and the Real Estate sector businesses.
Founded in 2019, Doceree aims to address the problem of rising cost of healthcare by bringing efficiency and effectiveness to physician engagement by using data and creativity in healthcare marketing.
Dr. Harshit Jain, Founder and CEO, Doceree, who began his career as a healthcare specialist and later turned full-time to healthcare marketing, said Doceree is playing a pivotal role in improving healthcare delivery and outcomes by building brand relationships with healthcare professionals (HCPs) and adding genuine and long-term value to them through data-driven endemic marketing.
“In the healthcare space, there is a huge data that lies underutilized which when used efficiently can drastically change the way physicians are engaged. The challenge is that despite changing dynamics and the surge of digitisation, it’s still hard for pharmaceutical brands to approach physicians on the digital medium. While pharma companies spend a huge amount to market physicians in the traditional way, they are not able to tap the vast potential of the digital medium to grow their businesses. That is the gap Doceree plugs by helping them make the most of the Digital Physician Ecosystem through its Programmatic Physician Engagement Platform,” said Dr. Harshit.
 The company witnessed a massive growth since its launch in the US, being able to create an expansive network of 1 million physicians there in an incredibly short span of time.
After gaining a strong foothold in the US market, Doceree launched its India operations in mid-March this year, having advanced its entry to let pharmaceutical companies gain access to physicians amid corononavirus pandemic through its platform for free, in its bid to support them when their crucial workforce of medical and sales representatives are locked indoors.
“Doceree’s concept of programmatic physician engagement is distinct, disruptive and innovative. How it became a crucial tool for pharma companies to reach out to doctors during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis establishes the greater need and importance of the platform. The future of digital access to physicians is very promising and we truly believe in Doceree’s vision,” said Rahul Gupta.
 The company replicated the huge response it received in the US in India as well, with the network of physicians here already growing to 300,000. A significant number of renowned pharma brands and digital platforms are already using Doceree platform in both India and the US.
Powered by unique Espyian AI engine, Doceree’s platform helps maximize HCP (healthcare professional) engagement for pharma brands and digital platforms. It brings demand-side and supply-side together for healthcare professional HCP (healthcare professional) messaging on a simple self-serve interface, helping brands harness the full potential of HCP engagement on standalone publisher platforms. The company also helps digital platforms make revenue through a partnership with it.
Doceree enables pharma companies to market to physicians using technology to automatically serve ads — reaching the right user with the right message at the right time, optimising efficiency i.e. clicks and conversions, reducing waste and ensuring effective measurement of return on investment (RoI).
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Intuit QuickBooks joins hands with Milaap to provide funding, resources and tools to small and micro businesses- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Intuit QuickBooks today announced the launch of the Small Business Relief Initiative, in collaboration with Milaap, to help small and micro businesses in India to raise money to tackle the challenges arising from the COVID-19 lockdown. Intuit’s QuickBooks Online is the world’s leading financial management solution for small businesses and accountants.
The Small Business Relief Initiative aims to raise funds for small and micro-businesses that are facing difficulties in paying employee salaries and in covering business expenses due to COVID-19. India has around 6.4 crore MSMEs that contribute to 29% of the GDP and employ 11.1 crore people.
As the COVID-19 induced lockdown continues, most of the small and micro businesses in the country are struggling to survive mainly due to cash flow problems. The Small Business Relief Initiative brings together Milaap’s crowdfunding platform with Intuit QuickBooks’ expertise, to provide local businesses with the resources and tools they require to start a crowdfunding campaign in a few clicks, via the Milaap platform where qualifying businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 can raise micro-grants to meet essential business expenses.
Talking about the program, Aditi Puri Batra, Country Manager, Intuit QuickBooks India, said, “Small and micro businesses play an important role in the larger supply chain and thus their health is imperative to kick-start the industry when the lockdown eases. While the Government of India and Reserve Bank of India have taken multiple steps to address the liquidity crunch faced by these businesses, there is a need for more programs that can put cash into their hands as not every one of them may have access to lending. We are hopeful our initiative fills that gap and empowers these small and micro businesses that are also a crucial source of employment for millions of people in the country.”
Intuit QuickBooks India is also fundraising by enabling its employees in India to donate funds to a small and micro business of their choice on Milaap’s platform and creating awareness about the initiative across its small business network and associated brand channels.
Regarding this initiative, Mayukh Choudhury, CEO and co-founder, Milaap said, “Small and micro businesses are a lifeline for countless communities. Over the last decade, Milaap has supported over 1.5 lakh micro and small businesses. An immediate financial stimulus, for these vulnerable businesses is the need of the hour. Such a stimulus will address not only the availability of goods across local areas, but also the sustenance of employment across the economy.”
Intuit QuickBooks India Small Business help site: Intuit QuickBooks is providing its network of small businesses with a resources and tools site that enables businesses to start their own fundraiser or support an existing one. From there, small businesses can share their story on Milaap and request help covering employee-related and business expenses. Then everyone – friends, family, neighbours, companies – can all search the Small Business Relief Initiative site to find small businesses in need and donate directly to them.
Milaap.org Small Business Relief Fund: Milaap.org, India’s largest crowdfunding platform for medical emergencies and social causes, has launched the Small Business Relief Initiative where people can donate to support the overall initiative. Donors in India will be able to donate towards a business of their choice on the Milaap platform.
The Small Business Relief Initiative in India follows a similar program Gofundme launched by Intuit QuickBooks in the US in partnership with Gofundme.

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Startup Plop Raises An Undisclosed Amount Of Funding Amid The Pandemic- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Startups across the globe are grappling with the global crisis of Covid-19. However, companies with tech as its focus and key USP are making the most of its time. One such startup is the Mumbai based Interactive mobile fiction platform – Plop. The startup today announced that it has raised an undisclosed round of funding led by Better Capital, Hari Balasubramanian’s EaSyndicate on LetsVenture, and notable angels Rohit Chanana (ex-President HeroCorp), Jayant Kadambi (serial entrepreneur and Silicon valley investor) and Sunilkumar Singhvi (MD South Handlooms). A number of noted executives from the OTT and gaming domains have also participated via the syndicates. The startup was previously incubated at IIM Bangalore and is also a part of the Goldman Sachs Startup Program.
In the world of podcasts, TikTok and Insta Stories, Plop is the next level of interactive, immersive storytelling. Plop breaks across multiple mediums – text, video, audio, simulations and role-playing to bring the next level of interactive content experience, at the cusp of content and gaming. The bite-sized stories are a new form in the interactive fiction market, which is mostly crowded with role-playing games that don’t fully cater to the mobile-only market.
A brain child of Chartered Accountant & IIMB alum – Anushka and a software Engineer & ISB alum – Vineet, Plop is a global product with over 50% of their users coming from North America, and rest from Europe and Asia (including India). Much like what OTT platforms and gaming players have seen during the COVID-19 lockdown, Plop has experienced an over 400% rise in its user activity especially from the United States and United Kingdom,. Plop has seen a 800% increase in its in-app purchases. Similarly, there has been an aggressive growth in the number of writers/creators who have been onboarded to the platform.
A delightful new use case that has arisen during this lockdown is that Plop with its many interactive, immersive elements is becoming a easy-to-use, fun platform for Europeans especially from Germany, Netherlands and France to learn conversational English.

“We believe we are re-introducing storytelling to the youth. We aim to be the first global platform for immersive story-telling on which writers and even traditional publishing houses around the world could create and monetize their interactive fiction.” says co-founder of Plop, Anushka Shetty.

The funding will mainly be utilised to broaden the content catalogue by on-boarding world class creators.
 “We believe short form interactive content format is the future and Plop is enabling just that. Plop’s interactive story writing platform is enabling writers to create highly engaging content that users are not only consuming but also paying for. Plop has the potential to be the next big platform for content & I am excited to watch the vision unfold”, said Vaibhav Domkundwar of Better Capital, a seed fund with early bets in category defining businesses like Open, Khatabook, Bijak, Yulu & others. Better Capital was the earliest believer in Plop and the founders’ vision for an interactive content format.
Plop stories unfold in the form of conversations on a chat-like interface and are interlaced with multimedia elements like pictures, GIFs, voice notes. The chat-like interface is so easy to use that it takes away the friction usually associated with reading on a digital medium.
Plop is currently working with over a hundred creators across the globe who create their own Plop interactive stories. These creators are growing and working towards making their own brand on Plop and acquiring their own fan base, which allows them to make as much as a couple of hundred dollars every month. In light of COVID-19, Plop has waived off their commissions from creators (largely gig workers) for a 5 week period starting from 24th March to 30th April, to make sure that the community can make the most in these tough times.
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Start-Up Shadez raises $100K funding from Inflection Point Ventures- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Inflection Point Ventures (IPV) has made a seed investment in the Mumbai-based interiors start-up Shadez. It claims to be India’s first paint company to deliver painting job in a day’s time with the liberty to choose paint of your choice. As part of investing at this very early stage in the startup’s journey, IPV will provide incubation support to the team with expertise in business strategy, expansion and risk mitigation.
With current operations across Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai, Shadez aims to soon expand to other metro cities. Shadez was founded in 2018 by Adarsh Anand and Amit Tiwari who intend to utilize the investment raised from IPV to scale up operations. The funds will be invested in M3, i.e. Machinery, Manpower and Marketing. The founders of Shadez have a vast experience and believe in the mantra that “Don’t just deliver, DELIGHT!” While Adarsh has a work experience of more than 10 years in media with companies like TOI Group & Reliance Broadcast, Amit has worked with companies like DNA News & Jagran Group along with being a founder of Slatee Enterprises, a construction material and painting services venture.
Jignesh Kenia, an IPV investor said, “Shadez is changing the game with respect to painting services by considerably reducing the delivery time through efficiency, planning and well-trained labour. They literally take away the pain out of the painting job with their one-day turnaround for repainting jobs. I am excited about the investment considering the impact they can create in this unorganised market.” Further, upon being asked about experience with IPV, Jignesh said, “I have been highly impressed with IPV’s transparent processes, thorough diligence, mentoring provided to start-ups and this has made my couple of years investing experience with IPV an enriching one.”
The paint service market in India is highly unorganized while demands for painting vary significantly – residential spaces prefer day-time and commercial spaces show inclination towards night shifts. Shadez claims to be the only company which delivers both residential & commercial projects 24*7. The smart painting process, latest automatic tools and professional painters make the process faster than any other conventional process of painting.
Founded with the belief that ‘Everyone can grow with Startups’, Inflection Point Ventures is an initiative of accomplished CXOs & angel investors who come with a rich experience in the start-up ecosystem, either as co-founders themselves or by leading their organizations through various stages of funding.

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Fintech startup Fintso raises $2.6 million USD in its maiden round of funding- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Fintso, a 3-month-old fintech startup, founded by Wealth Management industry veterans, George Mitra and Rajan Pathak, has raised $2.6 million USD from a set of individual Angel investors.  Investors include Rajeev Juneja (CEO of Mankind Pharma), Pratul Shroff (Founder of Einfochips) and Dilip Khandelwal (MD and Head of Technology, Asia Pacific, Deutsche Bank), as well as other notable names, including the General Partners of some of the largest Consumer VC s in India.
A deep-tech based PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), Fintso is a next-generation B2B2C solution to the wealth management industry for smart solutions and allied services to the ecosystem players.
This capital will aim to build a state-of-the-art platform that helps these IFA s (Independent Financial Advisors) and MFDs to Nurture client relationships, enable seamless operations, and help them enhance productivity. Apart from this, they will also be strengthening their operations and servicing teams to offer real-time support to their audience.
George Mitra, Co-founder and CEO, Fintso said: “We are extremely happy to have investors who believe in what we are doing and are providing much more than capital – by sharing their knowledge and experience. Their experience in having started and built-out enterprises, and being professionals who steer large organisations, will be invaluable for Fintso in its journey.”
Prior to founding Fintso, George Mitra was the CEO of Avendus Wealth, managing a team of 125 people and an AUM of $4 bn. Rajan Pathak, was the CEO of IFAN, managing a team servicing 1300+ Independent Advisors who advised on assets of $500 mn. The founding team, including Vijaykumar Panchagatti (Ex Director, Unisys), Tanay Chourasia and Rohan Daftary, have over 75 years of cumulative experience.
Adding to this, Fintso’s Co-Founder, Mr. Rajan Pathak, said, “Independent financial entrepreneurs have long been the “bridge of trust” for clients, not only existing, but new savers. Providing solutions to this eco-system, to help them do more, and do better, for their clients, is the most effective way of addressing this large, yet highly fragmented, market. Using Fintech, to enhance and augment their offerings, will ultimately help serve the individual investors address their needs more holistically”.
The disrupted ecosystem of Indian financial market often makes it difficult for service providers and vertical aggregators to efficiently service these large pockets of customers spread across the country. While independent financial advisors may have that reach, they lack the capacity to expand efficiently and cost-effectively to reach the wider and dynamic audience. Fintso focuses on bridging this gap with its RPA’s (Robotic Process Automation), AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) backed platform.
On this agreement, Piyush Gupta – Group CFO, HT Media says, “By using ‘Deep Tech’ and automation, Fintso is trying to solve a real problem of non-standardisation and information asymmetry in the large financial advisory space. The fact that it is led by a stellar team of professionals having a vast domain experience as well as technology background augers well for success. I wish them all the very best in their journey.”
Further, Pratul Shroff, (Founder of Einfochips) added, “As India experiences growth and expansion in the coming decade, more and more people will feel the need to participate in the financial markets. Just like eComm growth in Tier II, III and IV cities, there is a huge pent up demand for financial information, and good solid advice on investment options and opportunities. Fintso fills that gap by enabling independent financial advisors to expand their reach and market in a meaningful way.”
Fintso also targets manufacturers and vertical integrators to offer them the benefit of wealth management. The platform aims at enabling digital players to become Omni-channels by allowing them to showcase their products to a larger audience in an efficient manner.

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