Binny Bansal-backed Avail Finance helps gig economy workers during coronavirus crisis

Avail Finance's product ‘Assist’ is a financial solution for the gig economy platforms to help their workforce during COVID-19

Binny Bansal-backed Avail Finance helps gig economy workers during coronavirus crisis

Friday April 03, 2020,

4 min Read

Avail Assist helps ecommerce, food delivery platforms, logistics and mobility platforms support their on-ground workforce in these tough times.

The gig economy neobank, Avail Finance has launched a specially designed COVID-19 support package called ‘Avail Assist’ for gig economy platforms in India. This offering will help gig economy companies across ecommerce, food delivery, logistics, mobility and transportation sectors, and give them financial support to their on-ground workforce who are not eligible for employee benefits.

Avail Finance

Ankush Aggarwal, Founder of Avail Finance

With the support package, the platforms can customise the loan-product to disburse instant loans to their workforce. The solution also includes a COVID Protection Health Insurance that can take care of the medical expenses of their workforce.

As the nation grapples with the complete shutdown across all cities, Avail Finance realised that the gig economy employees are faced with a rapidly escalating challenge to meet their basic needs. The segment also faces a high risk of contagion. They also have the lowest liquidity to tide past this lockdown period since they are not even able to work.

Ankush Aggarwal, Founder of Avail Finance, says, “Avail Finance was founded with a mission to serve blue-collared workforce with financial solutions that meet their daily needs. The current pandemic situation is a tough time for all of us, but we know that it is felt more acutely for the lower-income segments – who are our core customers. As a quick response, “Assist” was created in record time with the sole aim to support the under-served workforce by lessening their burden.”

With millions of customers active on their platform, the team at Avail realised that a situation like this could potentially impact the families of workers as well. Thus, the “Assist” solution was conceptualised and implemented within a few hours by the Avail Finance Team.

Under this, a loan product offers an end-to-end customised service-suit for loan lifecycle management. Any employer can launch the programme within two days because of Avail’s ready-to-use technology infrastructure. This will help the employer’s workforce get instant loans that have a ‘repayment-holiday’ through the pandemic. Similarly, “COVID-protection”, an insurance product, will help gig economy workforce to insure themselves against any unfortunate event of hospitalisation.

It will ensure that medical facilities can be availed in time and they don’t get burdened with medical expenses. Because of these features, “Assist” financial solution would empower employers with an ability to support their workforce during COVID-19. 

Founded in 2017 by Ankush Aggarwal and Tushar Mehndiratta, Avail Finance is a fintech company, focused on the gig-economy segment. Avail has multiple products that are customised to this segment - personal loans, salary advances, savings etc, helping its users to be financially included and independent.

Ola uses Assist

A bespoke version of “Assist” was implemented for Ola drivers recently which would cover over 100,000 families across the country. Under this scheme, Ola’s pre-approved driver-partners can access loan amounts of up to Rs 3,600, which is disbursed over three weeks to help them pay for their day-to-day household expenses.

"We have lost our daily income after the lockdown and it is hard to pay for household expenses. Through this loan facility from Ola and Avail, I instantly received Rs. 1200 in my account which has helped me and my family buy groceries and food. I'm thankful to Ola for helping me and my family out in this tough time." says Mohan Kumar BK, a Bengaluru based cab-driver who benefited from Avail's “Assist” offering to Ola.

Ola deployed Avail Assist to help over 100,000 driver-partners and their families who are battling a severe liquidity crunch due to the loss of income from the ongoing lockdown through the Ola Sahyog initiative this week. Ola is offering micro-credit of up to Rs 1,200 every week to eligible partners through this easy-to-use platform.

Using machine learning and AI, Avail creates a unique analysis in the backend which helps in achieving access to financial products – irrespective of income, geography, age, gender or ability to furnish documents.

(Edited by Kanishk Singh)