Credit giant Experian leads $30M investment in India's BankBazaar

Jon Russell
Indian credit marketplace BankBazaar has pulled in $30 million in fresh funding led by Experian, the London-headquartered credit giant with a £14 billion ($18 billion) market cap.

Indian credit marketplace BankBazaar has pulled in $30 million in fresh funding led by Experian, the London-headquartered credit giant with a £14 billion ($18 billion) market cap.

BankBazaar seems to have a penchant for big name backers. Amazon led its $60 million Series C funding in 2015 while Experian is the main investor behind this Series D raise. The company didn't specific the other participants in the round, but its existing backers include Sequoia, Eight Roads from Fidelity Growth Partners and and Walden International.

To date, nine-year-old BankBazaar has raised $110 million from investors.

The company operates a one-stop portal for a range of financial services in India. It includes information about loans, credit cards, fixed deposits, insurance policies and lets visitors apply for services from more from over 75 financial institutions and insurance firms. In addition to its website, it offers Android and iOS apps and its customer support services span WhatsApp -- India's go-to messaging service -- and more convenient communications points such as phone and email.

“Experian is a global leader in credit reporting and information management, and we are very excited to have them on board as a part of our investor group," BankBazaar CEO Adhil Shetty said in a statement. "There is a natural synergy between the world’s largest information management company and one of the fastest growing fintech companies."

Despite those glowing words, Shetty didn't specific in exact terms how the two companies will work together. BankBazaar also has a strategic relationship with Amazon, which clearly has the potential to funnel potential leads for micro-loans, credit or other kinds of financial services which are tied to consumer spending and goods.

BankBazaar was founded by three entrepreneurs who returned home from the U.S. -- having worked at Amazon, Cisco and Kraft Foods -- with a long-term vision to make financial services digital, or "paperless" as it calls them. It began introducing paperless loan applications last September, bucking the requirements of stacks of paperwork in India, and it said it plans to use this new money to expand that digital application focus to more of the financial products and services that it offers.

The company aims to capitalize on the growth of internet connectivity in India, which is forecast to have surpassed 450 million this year according to the Internet and Mobile Association of India, and the consumer demands of India's rising middle class, which is said to encompass over 600 million people.

Digital is also the method for new kinds of online financial models being pioneered by the likes of Alibaba-backed Paytm, which was one of 11 applicants to secure a banking license earlier this year. Operator Airtel flipped the switch on a digital banking pilot a year ago, and it only makes sense that financial products would see greater uptake from consumers with banking itself increasingly going online.

Of course, BankBazaar isn't the lone player in the field in India. Alternatives to its service include products from MyWish Marketplaces, News Corp's BigDecisions.com Flipkart's RupeePower and YC graduate Credy. Others specialized in business loans and financing including Capital Float.

Beyond India, BankBazaar has also forayed into Singapore in 2016 where today it offers a similar comparison service. From that office, it is also eyeing expansion moves into other parts of Asia and the Middle East. Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong, UAE and the Philippines are all in its sights, its recently appointed head of international told media in June.

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