Money & Banking

Online lender Rupeek raises $60 million

Bloomberg February 25 | Updated on February 25, 2020

Rupeek Fintech, an online lender that dispenses loans against gold jewellery and heirlooms, has raised $60 million from investors, including GGV Capital, after demonstrating sharp growth in recent months.

Tanglin Venture Partners, Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal’s BTB Ventures and Korea’s KB Investment were among those that joined its latest financing round, the company said in a statement. The funding valued the Bengaluru-based start-up at more than $300 million, a person familiar with the transaction said. Rupeek itself did not disclose the valuation.

“Rupeek, which dispatches appraisers to prospective borrowers doorsteps to assess and pick up jewellery, is finding favour with Indian’s ashamed of being seen pawning family heirlooms. It disbursed $16 million of loans in September and is currently at a monthly pace of $28 million,” said Sumit Maniyar, founder and chief executive officer. “That’s up from a mere $1.5 million in January of last year,” he said.

“More and more first-time gold borrowers are coming on board. We give Indians a far more discreet option compared with pledging family jewels with the neighborhood pawnbroker,” said Maniyar.

Rupeek now offers its service in 10 Indian cities. Indians hoard more of the precious yellow metal than citizens of any other country – some 25,000 tonnes of stockpiles worth about $1 trillion – in their homes and vaults. The start-up began dispensing gold-backed loans in 2016, and was funded by Silicon Valley venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and Accel from its early stages.

Rupeek is also supported by some of India’s largest banks, which are eager to diversify their portfolios by getting into gold-backed lending. Its newest product is a gold overdraft product that lets users store their gold beforehand, take out a loan against it anytime, then repay at will with interest. “Many small business owners find this convenient as they can take small-ticket loans and pay the interest on the quantum of loan for only the time period they borrow,” said Maniyar.

Published on February 25, 2020

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