Startup Circle: How Crediwatch empowered 50,000 businesses?

By : |January 10, 2020 0

Crediwatch has provided insights on 50,000+ businesses and $7 billion loan portfolio. Crediwatch aims to fill this void by offering a dynamic “Trust Score” derived from millions of data points that are extracted and analysed across thousands of formal and alternative sources to help lenders assess borrowers and monitor them close to real-time.

How did you come up with the idea?

India has 50 Million plus unregistered businesses and 1.13 million active registered companies but a mere 7000 of these are listed offering detailed disclosure while the rest exist in the realm of Information ‘ Dark Space’ There is an estimated $1000bn annual business entered with these ‘dark space‘ companies as a combination of credit, trading and other agency-related activities. Business with these companies results in revenue leakages of $50 to $100bn annually due to challenges of identifying the right client/ lead, tracking these clients, associated risks of bad debts and fraud. We saw a huge opportunity to fill this gap when the Indian government started to encourage transparency amongst businesses and digitised several government data sources as a part of their open data movement commitment.

How does your platform work?

Crediwatch is essentially an information intelligence platform providing big data risk analysis to corporations, helping them in the process to deploy intelligence while making credit decisions. We provide ‘Data Insights-as-a-Service’ to enable lenders, businesses with actionable credit intelligence on private entities to improve trust and increase their lending and trading activity. Because of our cloud-based platform, services can be consumed by anyone from any part of the country. Leveraging over 18 million risk profiles of large companies and unregistered small businesses, the platform is designed to deliver incisive insights across the credit lifecycle right from pre-disbursal decisioning through its Digital CAM to post-disbursal monitoring via Early Warning System (EWS). The platform aims to provide lending institutions, corporates (large, MSMEs, SMEs and small business entities) the ability to manage and raise credit efficiently.

What were the challenges and How did you overcome them?

When Fintech companies in India were trying to solve the financing gap by lending themselves, Crediwatch went against the trend and became focused on creating a digital data ecosystem and enabling financial institutions to access to quality data analytics and insights on these new customer segments. We were able to win the confidence of large bank customers by gaining their trust through limited live experiments on our insights and testing the results prior to large scale adoption. Today we are serving the biggest PSU Bank in India and enabling many Banks, NBFCs and Fintech companies to make data-driven lending decisions. Focussing on quality risk and business insights using a proprietary AI based predictive engine helped us differentiate ourselves as a leading analytics player.

How did you build the core team (co-founders and initial employees)?

Our core team comprises of Meghna Suryakumar, Founder & CEO, Sandeep Anandampillai, Founder & CPO, G.R. Ganapathy, Chief Business & Strategy, Hemanth GC, Senior Product Manager and Rohan Pannalkar, Principal UX Designer.

We started as a husband-wife duo which became the foundation of our Enterprise. The initial team came together from our core friend circles, Investor referrals and Industry Expert recommendations.

With Meghna being a lawyer by profession, Sandeep having over 14 years of global experience in software development, management and business on big-data projects, Ganapathy having 20+ years of experience in the Banking Industry, Hemanth being a technology enthusiast and being associated with a lot of startups and Rohan being the design expert made us a perfect team of Subject Matter Experts and Technology Enthusiasts.

What has been your business growth till now?

We have partnered with respected financial institutions to provide them credit intelligence of more than 1.2 million insights about 50 thousand businesses amounting to an asset base of 7 billion USD.

What is the one thing that sets you apart from your competitors?

A bank only looks up 200 of data points while considering the decision for a loan. On the other hand, our platform picks up data from 25,000 different points which is the highest in the industry from already existing information in the regulatory framework. Thus, this scale is what sets Crediwatch apart from the crowd. The intelligence can further be deployed for risk management and analysis, due diligence and in future can be used for providing “Trust Score” for SMEs who are new to credit.

Funding

We recently secured $3.2 Million in Series A funding by ARTIS Labs. The funding will accelerate R&D and commercialization of Crediwatch’s platform. Additionally, new investors in the round include Abstract Ventures. Prior to this round, we had raised $1.6 million from Modern India Limited, Family Offices of Mr Vijay Kumar Jatia, Contrarian Vriddhi Fund, Vaibhav Domkundwar’s Better Capital, Mekin Maheshwari (Flipkart) and Pithambar Gona (former MD of Blackstone Pvt Equity Asia) bringing the total funding till date to $5 million.

Future plans

In the future, we will continue to focus on enhancing our offerings to the SME segment, where we see tremendous potential. This is one segment that can significantly impact the GDP of the country – and our focus is to be a primary driver. We are building a dynamic “Trust Score” derived from millions of data points that are extracted and analysed across thousands of formal and alternative sources to help lenders assess borrowers and monitor them close to real-time. The ecosystem needs a dynamic business information exchange to create transparency and continuous monitoring of borrowers to weed out bad cases early. Our vision is to reimagine SME credit by measuring trust through verifiable data, insights and good behaviour.


Meghna Suryakumar, Founder & CEO

Meghna Suryakumar is the Founder & CEO of Crediwatch a ‘Data Insights-as-a-service’ company that provides lenders, businesses with actionable credit intelligence on private entities they need to improve trust and increase their lending and trading activity.

Prior to Crediwatch, Meghna practised Law and had her own international law practice based in New York City and India. She is an alumnus of Columbia Law School and has a Certificate of Entrepreneurship from Stanford Business School. Her prior experience of finding alternate sources of data to find risk information on M&A targets led her to starting Crediwatch.


Sandeep Anandampillai, Founder & CPO

A technology geek, bike enthusiast and a dog lover, Sandeep is the founder and Chief Product Officer of Crediwatch. Crediwatch has created over 18 million risk profiles of companies and unregistered small businesses. Some of the leading financial and non-financial institutions trust Crediwatch’s insights to grow and protect their ventures.

Sandeep has over 14 years of global experience in software development, management and business on big-data projects for fortune companies. His focus has been in Product Management, Data Warehousing, Machine Learning at large enterprises such as Oracle, ThoughtWorks and Schneider Electric.

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