[India MSME Summit 2021] MSMEs need to share data to get access to better credit, says Crediwatch CEO

At YourStory’s third annual India MSME Summit 2021, Crediwatch CEO highlights one of the key challenges for MSMEs has always been accessing cheap credit.
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Despite unprecedented challenges caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across countries have shown remarkable resilience and capacity to reinvent themselves, says Crediwatch's Founder and CEO Meghna Suryakumar

At the recently concluded YourStory’s third annual India MSME Summit 2021, Meghna said, “The ability to pivot, understand the need of the market, and look for alternative sources of income while being resilient, and weathering out the storm has helped SMBs during the pandemic.”

According to her, one of the key challenges for MSMEs has always been accessing cheap credit.

“If you look at the overall landscape of credit in India, we have 60 million small businesses (SMBs) according to the government, but only 15 percent of them have access to formal credit. And out of those 15 percent, 99 percent of businesses don’t have access to credit at the right price," she added.

Bengaluru-based ‘data insights-as-a-service’ startup Crediwatch is essentially an information intelligence platform that provides big data risk analysis to corporations, helping them in the process to deploy intelligence while making decisions.

The five-year-old startup claims to do this with no human intervention by deploying the latest artificial intelligence (AI) and technology tools that provide reliable comprehensive real-time inputs. 

At Crediwatch, Meghna seeks to realise her passion for solving large complex problems by using technologies such as AI, ML, and NLP to provide a dynamic “Trust Score” on the unbanked SME — an untapped opportunity worth billions of dollars.

The startup's DIY platform claims to provide access to digital ledgers of 10 million businesses in India, which businesses can use to manage their profile pages, create private data lakes, and integrate all their digital assets. 

This has unlocked a $6 billion total addressable market (TAM) for financial-insights-as-a-service to India’s 60 million small and medium businesses.

Talking about the technology’s role in accessing credit, Meghna said, “A digital platform can help reach out to businesses across the country and process loans faster. Automating processes from a lender’s end is a key factor in the ability to scale credit/lending.”

To date, Crediwatch has provided insights to lending institutions for loan portfolios up to $12 billion. At present, it works with 20 lenders in India, including State Bank of India, IndusInd Bank, Deutsche Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Central Bank of India, Aditya Birla Finance, and Sundaram Finance. 

The startup’s proprietary insights and tools such as Trust Scores, Early Warning Signals, and Enhanced Credit Reports are finding increasing adoption by businesses of all sizes.

“The way forward is exploring alternative forms of credit and digitisation. MSMEs need to share their data to get access to better credit and make a larger dent in the market,” Meghna said.

Founded by Meghna Suryakumar and Sandeep Anandampillai, Crediwatch is backed by leading investors from Silicon Valley, including Artis Labs, Abstract Ventures, and Better Capital.

Edited by Suman Singh

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