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Fintech accelerator ISME Ace holds Demo Day for its first cohort of startups

Sohini Mitter
7th Mar 2018
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The line-up covered the entire gamut of fintech services from alternate lending, insurance and wealth management to stockbroking, payments, and remittances. ISME has invested between $100,000 and $200,000 in these early stage startups.

ISME Ace, a Mumbai-based fintech accelerator programme, announced its first cohort of startups in January. The six startups, which were selected from 500 applicants from over 20 countries, demonstrated their products and services to the investor community on Tuesday.

These startups included Artoo (an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-led MSME lending firm), Cashcow (an online marketplace addressing retail banking needs of customers at their doorstep), Moneytor (which leverages technology to make debt collection easier), Open Financial (an SME-focused neo-banking service), Trendlyne (a platform providing stock market analytics and research), and SmartCoin (an app-based micro-credit lending platform).

ISME Ace has invested between $100,000 and $200,000 in these ventures for a minority shareholding of five percent to 12 percent. The line-up covers the entire gamut of fintech services from alternate lending, insurance and wealth management to stockbroking, payments, and remittances. ISME will back these early stage enterprises at least until they raise Series C stage funding.

The first cohort was chosen based on the need gaps fulfilled by each of the startups. Besides Bengaluru-based Artoo, which has been in operation for more than 30 months, the other five are less than a year old.

Raakhe Kapoor Tandon, Founder of ISME Ace, had earlier said, “The financial services industry is at an inflection 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.”

For the accelerator programme, ISME Ace has partnered with IBM, Microsoft, Indian Angel Network, AWS, TiE, KPMG among others. Connecting startups to the investor and BFSI community and getting them the right customers is the core focus of ISME.

Aparajit Bhandarkar, Chief Acceleration Officer at ISME Ace, tells YourStory, “We will share our experience and networks in the financial services sector with these startups and help them scale up. They can use our infrastructure, and utilise ISME’s proximity to leading banks and financial institutions.”

ISME’s sprawling state-of-art facility is situated at Lower Parel, a bustling business district in the heart of Mumbai. The six startups will get to test their proof-of-concepts with leading BFSI clients, some of which are located within a five-km radius.

In attendance at the Demo Day were a host of angel investors, banking industry professionals and entrepreneurs. Pitches were made, services were demonstrated, and funding opportunities were unlocked. “Getting funding is never easy, but some investors are keen to look at a couple of startups here,” said Bhandarkar.

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