Gaps in MSME lending space; Indian women in tech

India's MSME sector has seen the emergence of new lending solutions, however, challenges remain.

Gaps in MSME lending space; Indian women in tech

Tuesday January 02, 2024,

5 min Read

A new unicorn is in town!

InCred Financial Services Ltd, the lending arm of fintech company InCred Group, has entered the billion-dollar valuation club after raising $60 million in a Series D round. 

With the fresh capital, the company has now attained a valuation of $1.04 billion, making it the second company to achieve the coveted status this year after the quick commerce platform Zepto

The round was led by Ranjan Pai of Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG), Ravi Pillai, Chairman at RP Group of Companies, and Ram Nayak, Global Co-Head of the Investment Bank and Head of Fixed Income and Currencies at Deutsche Bank. 

Speaking of capital, Indian startups saw funding decline by 72% in 2023, at $7 billion (until December 5)—compared to $25 billion in the previous year, making this the slowest year for dealmaking in the last five years. Here’s all that happened in India’s startup ecosystem in 2023

In other news, Paytm's parent company One 97 Communications is laying off employees to cut costs.

ICYMI: A comparison between the smallest and the largest things in the Universe.

Spoiler alert: It’s a wild ride. 

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Gaps in MSME lending space
  • Meet Indian women in tech 
  • Optimism in UAE’s startups

Here’s your trivia for today: FC Santa Claus is a football team in which country?


Gaps in the MSME lending space

MSME Lending landscape

In 2023, lending in India's micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) became a focal point. The substantial increase in loan distribution led to discussions on the availability and allocation of credit to MSMEs.

Despite the growing need for credit and its corresponding supply, the enduring credit gap remains a critical worry for small businesses.

Money matters:

  • As per a report by the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), public-sector and private-sector banks saw credit demand in 2023. Credit demand at NBFCs grew 1.5X over the previous year, and they are rapidly emerging as competitive players in the commercial credit space.
  • The delinquency rates—the percentage of loans that are past due—have also dropped across all three categories, with private banks clocking the lowest at 1.4%.
  • Amit Kumar, Founder of MSMEx—an education and advisory platform for SMB owners—highlights three reasons for the staggering rise in MSME lending. The first reason is improved awareness, the second is specialised debt products, and the third is fintech innovations. 


Meet the Indian women shaping tech landscape

HS-women in tech

Predominantly male leadership, limited networking abilities, and a lack of robust mentorship initiatives–among other factors–prevent women from attaining leadership roles. However, several women have faced these challenges and are leading teams at technology companies. 


  • As Meta's Data Science Lead, Isha Oke oversees identifying future investments in Reels ranking/monetisation, evaluates launch tradeoffs, defines metrics, and manages product success through complex A/B testing setups.
  • Rajalakshmi Sakthivel is Senior Director at HARMAN International (India), a global leader in car audio technology and an independent subsidiary of Samsung Electronics. At HARMAN, her role is to put together the car audio group, which has grown from an initial team of 10 to over 300 people today.
  • Currently, as the Senior Vice President of Technology at Mastercard, Kirti Kama is responsible for the infrastructure and technical operations of Mastercard in the Asia-Pacific, across data centres, networks, and platform services.



Optimism in the UAE startup ecosystem

Startups are an integral part of UAE’s plans to develop a robust technology ecosystem. While there is a slowdown in funding this year, industry insiders are hopeful that companies in the region will pick up pace.

Key takeaways:

  • According to startup data platform Magnitt's Q3 UAE Venture Investment report, UAE startups raised $371 million in the first nine months of 2023, compared to $1.83 billion in the same period in 2022.
  • Dubai saw the most deal activity with $579 million. followed by Abu Dhabi and Umm Al Quwain with $54 million and $5 million, respectively.
  • The UAE Government's Strategy for Artificial Intelligence (AI), launched in 2017, hopes to make the country a tech hub. With a focus on diverse sectors like transport, health, finance, and technology, the strategy aims to enhance government performance and create a high-value market for companies. 

News & updates

  • Gaming: China’s press and publications authority has approved 105 new online games, saying it fully supports the industry after proposed curbs caused massive losses last week for investors in major games makers.
  • EV boost: Major Japanese auto manufacturers will invest 150 billion baht ($4.34 billion) in Thailand over the next five years, a Thai government spokesperson said on Monday, supporting the Southeast Asian country's transition to making electric vehicles.
  • Compensation: Toyota Motor's small car unit Daihatsu Motor will compensate 423 domestic suppliers with which it has direct business relations as its plants in Japan remain idled due to a safety scandal, a spokesperson said on Monday.

FC Santa Claus is a football team in which country?

Answer: Finland

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