Neobank Zolve eyes $100M revenue run rate for FY23

In an exclusive chat with YourStory’s Daily Dispatch, Raghunandan G, Founder of Zolve, shed insight on the platform’s growth and future roadmap.
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Bengaluru-headquartered fintech startup Zolve is expecting to reach a $1 million revenue run rate by the end of this year. The brand is aiming to grow it to a $100 million revenue run rate by the end of FY23. 

Raghunandan G, Founder of Zolve, says that the business model of the startup is fairly straightforward. He says, 

“We are acquiring customers in India just before they migrate so the costs are in rupees. But, the revenues come from revenue shared with our US banking partner.”

Zolve helps emigrating students and working professionals acquire bank accounts and credit cards before they fly out of the country. The purpose of this service is to equip immigrants with financial access when they are moving to another country. 

The access to bank accounts, credit and debit cards is based on the individual’s home country credit score. This process happens while the person is still in the country so there isn’t a need for a social security number (SSN) or US credit history. 

The startup is presently focusing on the US-India corridor but will soon be expanding to other corridors such as India-Canada, Australia, Europe among others. 

Like most businesses, the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Zolve as well. The halting of flights and closed international borders stopped a lot of immigration processes. 

“We realised that students are allowed to enter the US, not working professionals. So, initially, we wanted to target working professionals but since they were not travelling, we focused on the students. That became a challenge because almost all students travel during the fall,” he shares. 

Zolve’s platform was launched in September 2021, and Raghunandan reveals that there were already 50,000 sign-ups to check the product-market fit. The neobank, he adds, had to go live within five months because of the uncertainty around the next window of opportunity. 

He emphasised that Zolve customers will stay on permanently as long as their experience is seamless. Drawing parallels to how customers won’t change their bank account easily unless they are very unhappy with the experience, he envisages the same for Zolve. 

Going forward, Zolve expects to progress into a full-stack financial services platform that can help customers with remittances, managing trading accounts, cryptocurrency trading, among others. 

To perform on these targets, Zolve has been in talks with Venture Capital firms. It recently closed its Series A funding round after raising $40 million led by DST Global partners. Tiger Global, Alkeon Capital, and existing investors Accel and Lightspeed Ventures took part in this financing round. The startup’s valuation is now pushed to $210 million.

Edited by Kanishk Singh