Fintech company – Finja is actively involved in digital partnerships with banks, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), distributors and kiryana stores providing digital loans to small businesses using the Finja Business portal for disbursements of almost Rs 10 billion by more than 1,000 businesses.
Qasif Shahid (CEO and Co-Founder Finja) pointed out that the company has clocked more than Rs 100 billion in transactional volume with its assets under management growing over 110 percent during the pandemic year with support from both regulators.
Qasif explained that Finja quickly leveraged the two regulatory licenses, one of which is the NBFC (Non-Banking Financial Company) by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), which allows Finja Lending Services Ltd to lend digitally and the other an EMI (Electronic Money Institution) approval by the SBP (Stat) after investigating how the company managed to scale during the peak pandemic
Pakistani tech startups raised a record breaking $60 million in 50 deals in 2020, which is 57.34% more than the previous year.
Lahore-based Fintech Finja, which closed a groundbreaking $9 million in a $10 million Series A funding round, is one of the most important funds from this pool.
The investment came from BeeNext, Vostok Emerging Finance, Quona Capital, and Descon Engineering Services of ICU Ventures and the existing investors.
It takes the company’s total financing raised so far to about $15 million.
Finja subsidiaries operate under the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) dual licensing regimes for its lending and digital payment undertakings, he noted.
He noted that the SECP’s mandated P2P lending is an innovative alternative digital platform that links borrowers with individual lenders who come together to meet the loan requirements of borrowers.
The P2P loans help borrowers give out short-term loans that allow small and medium-sized enterprises to scale up their businesses and ultimately qualify them for larger bank loans.
Finja capitalized on its EMI status to upgrade and refurbish its new-age payment platform called “Finja Business” in anticipation of Pakistan becoming a virtual workspace.
Under the new design, without any paperwork or face-to-face meetings, institutions and corporations could sign up immediately and manage essential business operations such as payments, disbursements, e-invoicing/collections for their employees, vendors, suppliers, partners and customers.
The Finja Business portal is now compatible with all bank accounts and wallets in the country and is not limited to disbursements or collections into the Finja App, built on top of the EMI payment plumbing.
To date, over a thousand companies have already made disbursements of close to Rs10 billion using the portal.
Likewise, Finja is also focused on digitizing the Kiryana network under the NBFC status, which has been severely underserved despite being a major component of the economy, added Qasif.
“Karyana” stores gained preponderance over large grocery malls during peak lockdown periods as customers preferred to purchase daily essentials safely from them. Hence, to optimize their sales cycle and achieve business growth, this segment has been in dire need of credit.
Finja, through its partnership with several FMCGs and their distributors such as Nestle, Unilever, Sigma, Phillip Morris, Reckitt Benckiser and Punjab Beverages, digitally processed loans of nearly half a billion rupees in order to grow the hyper-local, using Finja’s proprietary machine learning and algorithms and analytics driven by artificial intelligence.
These loans are digitally disbursed and collected, eliminating cash-heavy, time-intensive, and cost-intensive procedures.
He delved further that Finja has disbursed over 50,000 unsecured digitally scored Islamic and conventional loans to businesses and salaried individuals, supported by its partner banks’ credit books.
A Rs10 trillion (USD $60 billion) market in Pakistan is represented by small business and consumer lending, of which less than four percent is currently penetrated.
He concluded that the company is fully equipped for scale with this new capital injection alongside Finja’s strong partnerships with the SECP, the SBP, banks, the FMCGs, distributors and many other parts of the supply chain and payment ecosystem.
Qasif called on banks, distributors, credit institutions and other cross-industry businesses to join forces with Finja to digitize credit for small businesses and consumers, making it easier for them to achieve their goals with dignity and to see unprecedented growth in the overall economy.