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Fintech accelerator ISME ACE announces new batch of startups it will fund and mentor

Sohini Mitter
18th Jan 2018
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ISME will back these ventures till their Series C stage at least. It plans to accelerate 100 fintech startups in three years.

ISME Ace, India’s largest fintech accelerator, has announced its first batch of startups in which it has invested $100,000 to $200,000 for a minority shareholding ranging between five percent and 12 percent. These six startups have been selected out of nearly 550 applications from 23 countries. ISME ACE started inviting applications in June 2017. 

Besides the seed funding, ISME ACE will be offering these startups access to the financial, investor and entrepreneurial ecosystem, workspace infrastructure support, advisory guidance, and need-based mentorship.

The six startups — a mix of B2B and B2C ventures — that have made it to the inaugural batch are Moneytor (that is leveraging technology to make debt collection easier), Open Financial (an SME-focused neo banking service), Trendlyne (a platform providing stock market analytics and research), Artoo (an AI-led MSME lending firm), Cashcow (an online marketplace addressing retail banking needs of customers at their doorstep), and SmartCoin (an app-based micro-credit lending platform).

The line-up covers the entire spectrum of fintech services from alternate lending, insurance and wealth management to stockbroking, payments, and remittances. ISME Ace plans to accelerate 100 such startups in the next three years.

Raakhe Kapoor Tandon, Founder of ISME ACE, said, “The financial services industry is at an inflexion point owing to new technologies such as blockchain, AI, IoT, and Big Data, and government initiatives such as IndiaStack, along with higher mobile and internet penetration. ISME ACE aims to leverage this change by promoting and investing in disruptive B2B/B2C fintech startups.”

The above cohort was identified on the basis of the need gaps they are fulfilling in the market. Five of the six selected startups have been in business for a year, while Bengaluru-based Artoo, which has automated the process of loan disbursal using artificial intelligence, has completed thirty months.

A startup networking session at the ISME ACE workspace in Mumbai

ISME is in no hurry to exit these startups. “The focus is to share our experience/networks in financial services and scale up the startups from hereon. We may infuse additional growth capital if required. We intend to stay invested and work closely with no plans to exit before Series C stage, or even an IPO or trade sale in some cases,” said Aparajit Bhandarkar, Chief Acceleration Officer at ISME ACE.

ISME ACE, made up of people who have had decade-long careers in the banking and financial services sector, asserts that its “good connections” in the ecosystem and a suitable geographic location would aid the startups it has chosen to mentor.

Gaurav Tiwari, Chief Information Officer of ISME ACE, told YourStory, “Five of India’s largest banks are located within a five-km radius of our workspace in Lower Parel’s innovation district. Our startups would have access and the opportunity to test their proof of concepts with these institutions.”

ISME ACE has also partnered with Microsoft, IBM and Amazon Web Services for technology, Indian Angel Network; TiE and LetsVenture for investor and entrepreneurial network support; KPMG for knowledge support; and Luthra & Luthra for advisory support. It has roped in Let’s Talk Payments as innovation partner and Awfis Space Solutions as shared workspace partner. All six startups can operate out of ISME’s state-of-the-art tech-enabled workspace in Mumbai.

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