[Funding alert] Jai Kisan raises $30M in Series A round led by Mirae Asset

The rural fintech startup said the funding will be used to hire talent and enhance engineering and data science capabilities, expand into new geographies, and start building an on-book portfolio.

Rural fintech startup Jai Kisan has raised $30 million Series A funding led by Mirae Assets. Existing investors Blume Ventures, Arkam Ventures, NABVENTURES (NABARD), Prophetic Ventures, Better, other global investors, and prominent HNIs also participated in the round along with Syngenta Ventures. Blacksoil, Stride Ventures, and Trifecta Capital contributed the debt in the round.

The funding will be used to hire talent and enhance engineering and data science capabilities, expand into new geographies, and start building an on-book portfolio, said the startup in a statement. Veda Corporate Advisors was the exclusive financial advisor to Jai Kisan for the fundraise.

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Arjun Ahluwalia, Co-founder and CEO, Jai Kisan, said in a press statement shared by the company,

"Despite the pandemic’s multiple waves, we have seen stellar growth on our top line and bottom line while ensuring robust portfolio quality. As most financial institutions took a step back due to reliance on ground operations, it was the resilient nature of our team that made Jai Kisan stand by its borrowers through these tough times."

Founded by Arjun Ahluwalia and Adriel Maniego, Jai Kisan aims to make financial inclusion a reality for rural individuals and businesses. The startup provides digital financial services starting with credit for online and offline, income-generating, rural commerce transactions.

Ashish Dave, CEO of Mirae Asset India Venture Investments, said,

“Jai Kisan is at the cusp of disrupting the rural financing industry and we’re glad to be a part of their growth story. Jai Kisan’s stellar growth, excellent asset quality, and expanding footprint make them a highly differentiated player in the segment."

The startup has leveraged the relationship between the business and the farmer and rural individuals in a B2B2C manner to deploy credit to farmers and rural individuals. The company has stated informal credit by the seller or merchant is an expectation for customers and not a value-added service in rural India.

The startup said there is a lack of formalised credit that poses a dire and imperative challenge for rural businesses to grow. Jai Kisan is working with 700+ organised and unorganised entities in the space with a cumulative customer base of over 1.5 lakh rural individuals including farmers.

Shubhang Shankar, Managing Director, Syngenta Group Ventures, said, "At Syngenta Group Ventures, we believe that access to credit is one of the key enablers for farmers to adopt quality practices. The low penetration of traditional financing institutions in the sector creates significant financial stress for small farmers."

"We have been very impressed by the digitally-driven approach taken by Jai Kisan to manage the end-to-end flow of credit, thereby proving that it is viable to extend formal credit to small farmers and overcome structural challenges that have often kept inherently creditworthy farmers out of the formal financing ecosystem."

He added, they hope that with this investment and the partnership with key stakeholders in the Indian agricultural landscape, Jai Kisan will be able to extend its credit offerings to millions of underserved smallholder farmers in India and beyond.

"Jai Kisan launched Bharat Khata in April 2020 - a digital ledger and smart business solution for rural businesses to manage their business anytime, anywhere. The app has captured over $380 million (Rs 2,790 crore) of annualised GTV run-rate as of March 2021 at over 25,000 storefronts," the startup said in the statement.

Edited by Megha Reddy