Open Financial Technologies: The Kerala-based startup is India’s 100th unicorn
Kerala has secured its first unicorn startup after Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM)-backed fintech Open Financial Technologies recently raised $50 million from Mumbai-based IIFL Finance in a funding round Series D. A neo-banking platform for SMEs, the Kerala-based startup is India’s 100th unicorn, entering the elite club with a $1 billion valuation.
Founded by Anish Achuthan, Mabel Chacko, Deena Jacob and Ajeesh Achuthan in 2017, the startup has partnered with over a dozen major banks in India. Open has also built Asia’s first digital banking platform for SMEs, startups and freelancers. The Series D round also saw participation from Open’s existing investors, including Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek, US hedge fund Tiger Global and 3one4 Capital. It has already raised $140 million in funding.
Open had secured seed funding of Rs 2 crore under KSUM’s Fund of Funds scheme. KSUM is the nodal agency of the Government of Kerala for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state. State Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan hailed Open’s decision to give back to the state by establishing a fintech accelerator and graduate school in collaboration with KSUM to support startups offering fintech solutions . To strengthen the state’s startup ecosystem, the company has proposed to invest Rs 200 crore over the next five years under the center of excellence and fintech accelerator schemes, he said. added.
John M Thomas, CEO of KSUM, said, “By providing innovative services and maintaining its focus, Open has achieved strong growth in its niche industry. Fintech startups in Kerala can emulate Open’s success story. By pocketing the honor of being a unicorn in a highly competitive environment, she will serve as a role model for her peers.
Open will use the fund it raised to bolster its existing product offerings – Zwitch (integrated finance platform) and BankingStack (corporate banking solution for banks) – to drive global expansion and reach more than five million customers over the next year. The fintech start-up will also strengthen its management team and increase its workforce from 500 to 1,000 employees during the year.
Open is gearing up for the launch of three new products in the SME lending space: Open Flo (a revenue-based financing product for e-commerce businesses), Open Settl (a pre-settlement credit offering) and Open Capital (working capital offer for SMEs).
Open’s platform adds more than 20,000 SMBs each month, making it the fastest growing SMB-focused neo-banking service in the world. It also plans to expand to Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States.