Gold loans, burgers, real estate; a look at what brewed among the MSMEs this week

By Bhavya Kaushal|28th Feb 2021
This week, SMBStory traced the journeys of Indel Money, Wat-a-Burger, and Home First that have carved a niche in the fintech, FMCG and real estate spaces respectively.
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A lending firm started by a pilot and Gulf returnee to Kerala in the late 1980s to help small businesses access financing has transformed over 30 years into a non-bank specialising in gold loans. Most recently, Kochi-based Indel Money’s gold loans has found a lot of takers among micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) hit by a credit crunch during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Gold loans have picked up pace during the pandemic, and gained wider acceptance among MSMEs as an alternative means of obtaining credit, says Umesh Mohanan, Executive Director and CEO of Indel Money. 

In fact, gold loans form 90 percent of Indel’s business, and 60 percent of applicants are from the MSME sector, says Umesh.   

Indel Money

Palliyil Janardhanan Nair, Mohanan Gopalakrishnan and Umesh Mohanan of Indel Money

Apart from gold loans, Indel offers small business loans and consumer durable loans, with the overall average ticket size in the range of Rs 75,000-85,000 and interest charged between 12 percent and 24 percent. 


The business has 169 branches across several cities of Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, where it has the largest network. 


Its registered office is in Mumbai. Indel’s assets under management total Rs 700 crore. 


Read the full story here

Wat-a-Burger

Wat-a-Burger

Farman Beig, Co-founder & CEO, Wat-a-Burger

What happens when an information technology professional and a pilot come together? A homegrown burger chain is born.

Farman Beig and Rajat Jaiswal founded Wat-a-Burger in 2016 to offer Indian consumers a taste of fusion burgers in a market dominated by US fast food chains McDonald’s and Burger King with their international and desi flavours. 

Since opening the first outlet in Noida Sector 18, Wat-a-Burger has scaled up to more than 60 joints across 16 cities in over four years. This includes Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ghaziabad, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Gorakhpur, Faridabad, Ranchi, Jhansi, and Srinagar. Starting a business was always on Farman and Rajat’s minds.


“Rajat and I both have business acumen,” says Farman, who has an IT background.  “While I was in England pursuing my MBA and Rajat was undergoing pilot training, we knew that once we were back in India, we would set up a business together.”


On average the fast-food chain serves more than 80,000 customers every day. The business clocked a turnover of Rs 39 crore in FY20.


Read the full story here.

Other top stories of the week-

Home First

home loans

Home First MD and CEO Manoj Viswanathan

In 2008-09, entrepreneur Manoj Viswanathan was in charge of selling apartments in Bengaluru. Working with Value Budget Housing Corporation (VBHC) with his partners Jaitirth “Jerry” Rao and PS Jayakumar, it was not easy for Manoj to find suitable housing finance providers for potential customers.


The engineering and MBA graduate spoke to several housing finance companies but felt none of them were equipped to provide loans for VBHC’s low-income, informal customer base. 

“They were hesitant to finance loans for affordable homes for anyone with low income. Since the three of us came from a financial background, we decided to solve this problem by starting an affordable housing company to help the customer segment left uncatered to by traditional lending services. This was how the idea for Home First Finance was born,” Manoj says. 

In 2010, the trio set up Mumbai-headquartered Home First, and began making home loans more accessible to lower and middle-income individuals. In ten years, Manoj and his partners have grown Home First into a leading housing finance company.


In FY20, the company claims to have recorded an AUM of Rs 3,618 crore with 50,000 customers and 800 employees. Earlier in 2021, Home First listed on the BSE and NSE in an IPO that was subscribed 26.66 times.


In an exclusive interview with SMBStory, Manoj Viswanathan, MD and CEO, Home First, traces the journey of Home First and explains how it is catering to the underserved segment of affordable home loans.


Read the full story here.


Edited by Anju Narayanan

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