Fintech unicorn CRED's FY21 revenue jumps 170X but losses deepen due to higher ad spends

Kunal Shah-led unicorn startup CRED reported higher revenue as it started monetising its platform in mid-2020, but ad spends continue to thwart its bottom line.
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CRED on Friday said its revenue jumped nearly 170X (16,800 percent) to Rs 88 crore in the financial year ending March 31, 2021, mostly as it started monetising its platform in mid-2020.

In the corresponding year-ago period, the startup recorded revenue of Rs 52 lakh.

But despite the impressive rise in its full-year revenue, CRED's loss widened to Rs 524 crore, from Rs 360 crore as the company continued to spend on marketing and advertising efforts.

CRED, known for its clever, tongue-in-cheek ads involving well-known celebrities and sportsmen, has been the title sponsor for the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the last couple of years, and has time and again faced criticism for its inordinate marketing spend at the cost of its bottom line.

D2C brands are lining up to get on the CRED store. Image Credit: YourStory Design

But those marketing efforts have also paid off for CRED in terms of generating awareness about the product - the startup reported 7.5 million users in 2021, versus 1 million in the year-ago comparable period.

Its marketing expenditure for the year rose 289 percent or 3.89X to Rs 222 crore, compared with Rs 57 crore in 2019.

CRED also reported an increase in salary costs on higher headcount, and increased its spending on staff welfare which includes components involving work-from-home migration and COVID-19 support.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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