Minko, a retail FinTech platform that provides credit facilities to small Kirana and retail shop owners, announced that it raised USD$1.5 million in a seed funding round led by LC Nueva AIF*, an India domiciled Category II AIF Fund, where LC Nueva Investment Partners LLP is the Investment Manager with participation from, LetsVenture Founder & CEO Ms. Shanti Mohan and Kunal Shah, Founder of CRED.
Other marquee investors included Mr. Pratekk Agarwaal, Ex-CBO, BharatPe, Uni Cards Founder & CEO Mr. Nitin Gupta, Mr. Parminder Singh, Ex-MD Twitter & Google (APAC), Mr. Jaimin Bhatt, CFO at Kotak Mahindra Bank, Mastercard VP Mr. Shyam Mohan, Ms. Deepthi Rao, Product Manager, Facebook Pay, General Partner at PointOne Capital Ms. Archana Priyadarshini, Kudos Finance and Investments Pvt Ltd (NBFC), SlideShare Ex-Co-Founder & COO Mr. Amit Ranjan, and Mr. Vivekananda Hallekere, Co-founder & CEO at Bounce along with AngelList.
The company plans to utilize the raised capital to hire more talent, especially in its tech and sales teams. The funds will also help Minko maintain exponential growth and scale to new geographies across India.
With this funding round, the company also announced that it now offers a B2B payments stack for distributors which is integrated with its flagship product, Minko Credit thereby offering a comprehensive tech platform to offline retailers and distributors to grow their business.
Founded by Mr. Sanket Shendure and Mr. Sanmati Shendure, Minko started product development in January 2021. The founders hail from a family of seasoned entrepreneurs with over 15 years of experience in FMCG product distribution. This deep domain expertise enabled them to craft solutions to problems faced by smaller retailers and distributors in growing their businesses, including adopting digital payments, access to instant credit for working capital, and financial inclusion for those left out due to lack of formal credit history.
Besides its flagship product Minko Credit, the platform added three new products within the last six months – Minko Invoices, Minko QR Code, and Minko Gold. With the development of this fully digital B2B Invoice payment stack embedded with credit, the company envisions to move a large portion of the multi billion dollar worth ‘retailer-to-distributor’ payments online, the majority of which still happens via cash and cheque.
The Minko platform allows FMCG and Pharma companies and their distributors to save on cash collections costs along with lowering follow-up costs for payments which are now digital and settled automatically online.
Speaking about the fundraising, Mr. Sanket Shendure, Co-founder, Minko, said, “The digital payment industry has seen an exponential rise during the pandemic. The growing trust in digital payments has also created an opportunity for us to accelerate the financial inclusion of underserved offline retailers/businesses. We expect demand for our short-term credit product, Minko Credit, to increase manifold as we continue to bridge the largely unmet credit gap of USD$250 billion for this segment”.
“Today’s retailers require quick, hassle-free working capital that helps them to sustain their business, which is the need of the hour. Minko is committed to creating a pure-play digital experience in the loan management space to help the small Kirana and retail shop owners buy more products and sell more. It is crucial to maintain the business flow. The founding team has deep clarity of thought and excellent traction that has validated the problem.” says Ms. Shanti Mohan, Co-founder & CEO, LetsVenture.
Over the last six months, Minko has onboarded 10,000+ retailers and distributors of reputed brands, including Unilever, Parle Agro, Coca-Cola, Haldirams, Britannia, etc. From its current presence in Goa, Maharashtra and Bihar, the company aims to expand to other states in India in the coming year and expects to onboard over 1 lakh retailers and distributors.
Investments into Minko (Shendure Digitech Private Limited) are warehoused in the name of LC Nueva AIF* (“Fund”), a Category II Alternative Investment Fund, where LC Nueva Investment Partners LLP* is the Investment Manager. LC Investment Partners LLP is being rebranded to LC Nueva Investment Partners LLP. The rebranded entity and the Fund are awaiting approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The Fund will be launched once necessary regulatory approvals are obtained.