Startup Name: i2ifunding
Launched: October 2015
Founders: Vaibhav Kumar Pandey, Raghavendra Pratap Singh, Neha Aggarwal, Abhinav Johary and Manisha Bansal
Investment: Angel Fund (2 crores)
i2ifunding is an online platform connecting qualified borrowers looking for unsecured personal loans and investors looking for alternative investment opportunities for higher returns.
- It aims to provide a seamless user experience in terms of ease of transaction, ability to view and download detailed account statements, transaction analysis etc.
- Investors gets an opportunity to invest in loan requests of retail borrowers with interest rates up to 25%.
- Investors can invest small amounts into multiple loan projects and create a diversified portfolio depending upon their risk appetite.
- Borrowers can prepay their loans at their own convenience without any charges whatsoever and as many times as they wish. They just need to contact i2i and choose one of the various options and proceed to prepay.
- Each borrower is assigned a risk category and i2i Recommended Interest Rate commensurate to the credit profile. Users can rely on the platform for loan assessment as they may not have the resources to do the proper credit evaluation.
- It takes around 50+ parameters to analyze each loan, ensuring that each loan has been properly evaluated before being listed.
- It reduces the time required for funding as there is little scope for negotiation. Even if borrower increases the interest rate, benefit is passed on to all the investors, existing as well as new ones.
- To mitigate biggest concerns of retail investors Principal protection fund has been created to provide guarantees on the principal amount lent. Depending on the risk category of the loan, up to 100% of principal amount will be refunded by i2i to investors in case of any default.
- Vaibhav Kumar Pandey – IIM Ahmedabad alumnus, has 10+ years of experience in setting up large scale operations from scratch, driving operational efficiencies, and building and leading large teams. He has successfully designed and led the development of various enterprise level solutions.
- Raghavendra Pratap Singh – An IIM Calcutta alumnus and ex-merchant mariner, he has more than 10 years of global experience in Product development, e-commerce, operations, digital marketing and client servicing. At i2i, Raghavendra is responsible for Product development and Marketing. He is also actively involved in formulation and execution of growth strategy. He has worked with British Petroleum, Genpact and Aptara previously.
- Neha Aggarwal – XIM-Bhubaneswar alumnus, in her short span of career has worked from brand management in FMCG sector to product development in financial sector. She has handled SHG & FDOD instruments in past of over $25 million. With her ever resilient attitude, she has launched multiple successful products in the Indian market.
- Abhinav Johary – he has more than 7 years of strong experience in business operations and setting up new processes. Prior to i2i, he was engaged with Flipkart and worked on several strategic initiatives in its market place operations. At i2i, Abhinav is responsible for managing loan origination and operations. He was instrumental in setting up the processes.
- Manisha Bansal – Chartered Accountant and brings with her over 8 years of domestic and overseas work experience in various fields. She has worked in the past with NGOs like CAT Protection and ADHD in UK overseeing finance and treasury activities and also worked with Birla Sunlife Insurance. Manisha looks after investor interaction, strategy formulation, strategic tie-ups and regulatory relationship management besides her day to day business involvement and overseeing Mumbai office activities.
The founding team came across a situation where they saw one of his colleagues borrowed money from money lenders at a monthly interest rate of 4%, to meet some financial requirement, because his personal loan request was rejected by the bank. This case left them thinking about creating something which can help people meet their financial requirement at genuine interest rates.
Journey so far
I2ifunding started its operation in October 2015, within 11 months the team managed to get 3500 registrations. The team members already closed the funding of around 150 loans and have more than 500 investors with an investment commitment of over INR 5 Crores.
Future plans with the Startup
Peer to Peer(P2P) lending are the major leading means of finance in countries such as the US, UK, Germany, China and so on. In India, P2P is still at a nascent stage and there is a similar growth trend that has been witnessed by eCommerce industry. The company is looking to expand to all major cities of India in the next couple of years.
Vaibhav says, our plan is to launch our mobile app very soon and include the following features with it:
- Automatic fund allocation feature for large investors
- E-signing of agreement
- Integrated repayment mechanism to auto deduct EMIs from borrower accounts
They have raised an Angel funding of 2Cr in May 2016. Vaibhav says,
“I feel most of the times in case of early stage start-ups, investors fund the entrepreneurs than the company. So you should have full confidence in your venture and should have taken enough risk yourself before reaching out to investors.”
Currently they are competing with Faircent, Lendbox and i-lend. In this segment all the players of India are currently in early stage only and are trying to establish their roots in this segment, so the market is wide open. Vaibhav says,
- Our focus is to keep delays and defaults to the minimum by continuously improving our proprietary credit risk evaluation model with the use of technology
- In the long run, platform with the credible repayment track record will move ahead of others
- Offering principal protection further shows our confidence in our underwriting process.
The biggest challenge faced while establishing the startup
“Biggest challenge has been hiring right resources and convincing customers about this new concept. It takes lot of time to hire a right candidate who is willing to work for a startup and whose thought process is aligned with our vision and limited budget. Also we could slowly be able to convince lot of investors. Now people have started getting returns on their investments and they themselves are encouraging others to register on our platform and get maximum benefit out of it.”
Biggest learning so far in my entrepreneurial journey is,
“I feel, you are always going to face lots of difficult situations and many people who would question your business idea and may even force you to think whether you made the right decision by getting into startup or not. The key is, you should not get disheartened and remain focused on your goal. Make sure that you continue to make efforts in right direction.”
Vaibhav’s Tip for newbie entrepreneur
- If you are in the dilemma of whether you should go for it or not, then remember that if you take a risk there is a chance, however, small it may be that you will succeed, but, if you do not take a risk then there is no chance of success.
- Stop ideating and start working.
The article was first published in The Cofounder. The Cofounder is India’s first print magazine which writes about early stage startups and entrepreneurship.