Tide, a UK-based financial platform focused on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), seeks to make India its second core market after the UK within five to ten years, its Global CEO Oliver Prill said.

The fintech, which launched its products in India in December 2022, is open to investing more in the country to reach the targeted ₹1,000-crore mark and headcount of 1,000 by 2026, Prill told BusinessLine.

The company also has a product engineering centre in Hyderabad that caters to its global operations.

Its membership base of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in India is 2.25 lakh and it targets 5 lakh by end-December, Prill said.

Competing against moneylenders

The company is mainly focused on the annual inflow of nearly 2 million micro and small units in India that are looking to formalise their business. 

“In India, the dynamics is more on formalisation and so we are taking market share from informal economy. We are helping people to formalise. Our competitors are moneylenders, cash,” Prill said.

“Our aspiration is over the next 5-10 years, we would want India to be the second core market. That will be with different attributes. To achieve this objective we will have to do something that is good for the development of India. I don’t think you can be a serious player unless you do this.”

Prill also made it clear that Tide is not inching towards 10 per cent market share in an enormously big market like India. 

“It will be a small single-digit. It will still be a core business for us because of the scale of opportunity. Being part of the ecosystem that helps India in its journey will be a fantastic outcome,” he said.

Tide has over 800 employees in India currently. “We are ahead of our target on the headcount front. Same is true for investments. A lot of investments we make here is people-related and marketing-related. We may even be above the indicated investment level. We are bullish about India,” Prill said.

Shrinking UK market

In the UK, Tide has 11 per cent market share, but it’s a shrinking market with the number of SMEs down to 5.5 million from 6 million earlier. 

“In the UK it is a very intensive competitive dynamics for a static pool of SMEs. In India, it is very different with rapid formalisation. India is really the spearhead of our internationalisation story. We are entering other markets too. We just entered Germany,” Prill said. 

India has about 67 million MSMEs, according to government estimates. “Normally, in a country 8-9 per cent population equivalent is SMEs. Our estimate is there are 130-134 million SMEs in India. However we are focused on the micro and small end,” said Gurjodhpal Singh, CEO, Tide India.

Women-led business index

The company has launched its Bharat Women Aspiration Index (BWAI) to champion women-led small businesses in India. The index highlights the motivations, aspirations and challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Tier-II and beyond cities.

A key finding of the first edition of BWAI is that family is the biggest motivator for 78 per cent of women entrepreneurs in Tier-II and III cities.