Story of KreditBee - Instant Personal Loan Platform

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"There are two sure ways to lose a friend, one is to borrow, the other to lend.” goes the saying, which is indeed true. While we go to a bank for borrowing huge sums of money, till a few years back the only option we had if we wanted to borrow a small amount for shopping, for travelling, or to pay a bill was to approach a friend or family member, as borrowing from bank is quite a hassle especially for those who are not salaried or are new to credit. But this is not the case now. With innovative fintech startups coming up, getting a small loan is a matter of a few clicks. One such startup that has simplified borrowing for young professionals is KreditBee. KreditBee was started in 2018 to help the NTC (New-to-Credit) population become a part of the Credit Bureau system in India to enable them to borrow from banks & traditional NBFCs.

KreditBee announced on October 18, 2021, that it has issued over 1,00,000 cards. Among the fintech players offering cards, KreditBee has become one of the fastest players in the country to cross the milestone, that is, within 60 days of its launch. It aims to expand the portfolio by issuing over 1 million ‘KreditBee Cards’ by March 2022.

KreditBee - Company Highlights

  • Startup Name-KreditBee
  • Headquarter-Bangalore, India
  • Founders-Madhusudan Ekambaram, Karthikeyan Krishnaswamy and Vivek Veda
  • Sector-FinTech
  • Founded-2018
  • Parent Organization-Finnovation Tech Solutions Pvt Ltd

About KreditBee

KreditBee is an Instant Personal Loan platform for self-employed and salaried professionals, where they can apply for a Personal Loan starting from INR 1,000 up to INR 2 Lakh as per their requirement. It is a full-stack Digital Lending Platform, with the entire life cycle of the loan, starting with its origin to application to disbursement & repayment being completely online. People can avail loan from their smartphone directly into their bank account at any given point of the day and week.

The platform looks at alternative lending data points beyond salary and bureau score, and hence is able to disburse to young professionals who are new to credit, and are non-salaried (part-timers, freelancers and self-employed).

"Financial Inclusion is the key for any ecosystem to thrive. For the Indian Economy to boom to its true potential in the 21st century, every Indian should have easy access to responsible credit at their disposal, and KreditBee aims to bridge that gap for them" - says KreditBee CEO Madhusudan Ekambaram

KreditBee's products include -

Flexi Personal Loan - You can borrow between INR 1,000 to INR 50,000 for a tenure ranging from 62 days to 6 months

Personal Loan for Salaried - You can avail loan between INR 10,000 to INR 2 Lakhs for a period of 3-15 months

Online Purchase Loan- This option lets you avail of e-vouchers on the KreditBee app and use the same to purchase products/services from KreditBee's partner platforms like Flipkart, Amazon, MMT, Myntra, etc. You can payback KreditBee later in EMIs

KreditBee Cards

The startup aims to expand the portfolio by issuing over 1 million ‘KreditBee Cards’ by March 2022.

KreditBee has been instrumental in providing instant and hassle-free ‘KreditBee Card’ to all its customers. Over 75% of these card customers acquired by the company are from metros and Tier-1 cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, and Thane, among others. Currently, almost 70% of these cardholders are below the age of 30 years.

‘KreditBee Card’ provides the unserved and underserved banking customers, quick and secured access to short-term liquidity with multiple repayment options, eliminating the need to avail a separate loan. The customer can avail credit limit up to ₹ 10,000 that can be repaid within a single billing cycle not extending beyond 45 days.

Customers can make multiple withdrawals or purchases (within the credit limit). It will also assist the new to credit customers, to build their credit score, which can help them to avail financing in the future, ushering in a healthy credit culture and financial inclusion at the same time.

Madhusudan Ekambaram, Co-Founder & CEO, KreditBee, said, “We at KreditBee are proud to have achieved this milestone of crossing 1 lakh KreditBee Cards within a short span of less than 60 days. These growing numbers represent the trust and confidence that customers are showing in us and I would also like to thank our partners. We aim to democratize credit in India by issuing more KreditBee Cards, which will function as virtual cards for responsible borrowers, irrespective of their demographic & income group. Towards the same, we intend to issue over 1 million cards to the customers by March 2022.”

Key features of KreditBee Card -

  • 100% Virtual- A virtual card will be generated on the app and can be used for transactions instantly
  • Safe & Secure- The card is generated on the KreditBee app & is secured with a PIN
  • Fast Access- The underwriting process is AI-driven and generates a card immediately
  • Quick Credit Upgrade- Customers can upgrade their credit limit within a single billing cycle
  • No Hidden Charges- A 100% transparent product with absolutely no irrational fees & charges

Steps to avail 'KreditBee Card'

Sign in to the KreditBee app >> Click on the ‘KreditBee Card’ section >> Select ‘Check Eligibility’

To activate the card, click on ‘Activate Card’ on the KreditBee App >> Provide your bank account details & sign the agreement >> Use Card to withdraw cash or make online payments

KreditBee - Founders & Team

Madhusudan Ekambaram, Karthikeyan Krishnaswamy and Vivek Veda are the co-founders of KreditBee. The co-founders earlier worked together on a few projects and share a good understanding.

"I happened to know most of my co-founders & founding team members from my previous organisation. I had previous experience of working with them, and we share a very good layer of mutual trust within and outside work. I think it’s quintessential to have a good rapport with the people with whom you work in an early stage start-up, because there is a lot of emotional involvement that goes into building an entity from scratch. Along with the hard skills, it’s indeed important for the team to have a good understanding to see through challenging & turbulent times, especially at the initial stages." said Madhusudan citing how he met his co-founders.

KreditBee co-founder and CEO Madhusudan Ekambaram, has a BE in Information Technology from NITK Surathkal. He has 11+ years of experience in Product Portfolio Management prior to starting up. Madhusudan also own Rasthrapathi Puraskar (President’s Award) and Rajya Puraskar (Governor’s Award) for his services as a Scout with BSG organization. Madhusudan looks after conceptualization of the business product, strategic initiatives, investor management and fundraising aspects of KreditBee.

Madhusudan Ekambaram

KreditBee Co-Founder & CTO Karthikeyan Krishnaswamy, has a Bachelors of Computing (Honors) & Masters of Computing in Computer Science from National University of Singapore. He has 12+ years of experience in Technology & Products prior to starting up.

KreditBee co-founder and CFO Vivek Veda has a CA from ICAI. He has 14+ years of experience in Investment & Retail Banking prior to starting up. He is also Director of Krazybee Services Private Limited, a Systemically Important NBFC with a Loan Book of over INR 1000 Crore.

The other key members of the team include-

Ajeet Kumar, COO of KreditBee has a BTech in Mechanical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. He did PGDM (MBA) from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and has 15+ years of experience, primarily focused on consulting & building businesses.

Sidharth Vishwanathan, Founding Team Member & CRO of KreditBee has a BE in Information Technology from NITK Surathkal. He completed PGSEM (MBA) from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and has 12+ years of experience in Data Analytics, Management Consulting & Business Development.

Ishan Bose, Founding Team Member & CMO of KreditBee has a BE in Computer Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering (currently Delhi Technological University). He holds a PDGM (MBA) from Indian Institute of Management, Indore. He is a TEDx Speaker, and was also awarded Young Marketer of the Year 2018 by World Marketing Congress, powered by CMO Asia.

Rachit Agarwal, Founding Team Member & CPO of KreditBee has a BTech in Computer Engineering from Manipal Institute of Technology. He has 5+ years of experience in App Development & Product before starting up.

KreditBee currently has 1200+employees. The startup follows a Output-driven & Execution-oriented work culture. As regards the hiring, the management gives preference to those  who believes in the vision of the company, understands the company culture, and is willing to stick around for the long term.

The Idea Behind Starting KreditBee

Madhusudan has always been intrigued by the way personal finance and lending works in India, and he wanted to change things for better. In 2016, Madhusudan along with his co-founders started KrazyBee, India's first online installment store for students. KrazyBee let students purchase goods online via its flexible monthly payment plans. With its innovative approach, KrazyBee emerged as a market leader within 6 months of inception. The team now wanted to scale up to become a 100% digital lending platform, which lead to founding KreditBee in 2018.

"The initial product (KrazyBee) was lending to college students. The challenge in scaling up was due to physical nature of KYC that was involved (there is no centralised database of college students). Hence, it could never become a 100% digital lending platform in the current ecosystem. Hence, the idea was to work on a full-stack digital lending platform, which led to the inception of KreditBee, a platform for Young Professionals to avail loans online" Madhusudan added.

KreditBee - Name & Logo

When the KreditBee team initially started with the student lending platform KrazyBee in 2016, the idea was to come up with a name that rang a bell with the college students, and not something that typically sounded too boring or financially intensive. Interestingly the team also didn’t want to go with a name that revolved around lending, and rather something that generated curiosity for the young college students.

"We looked around for names, and realized that an animal name preceded by an adjective might just be an interesting mix. After a bit of deliberation, we decided Bee to be the animal, and thought of adding the adjective as Crazy. The survey we did with college students made us realize that this name was a clear winner. While booking a domain for the same, we realized that crazybee domain was super expensive (we had bootstrapped back then, working with limited funds). Since we really liked the name and were convinced with it, we thought of booking the version with k in it (krazybee), which was much more affordable, and available. That’s how we came up with the name KrazyBee." said Madhusudan Ekambaram

2 years after launching KrazyBee, when the team planned to launch a lending platform for young professionals (in 2018), they wanted the name of the platform to be similar to KrazyBee, so as to make the name more relatable to the users,and thus they came up with the name 'KreditBee'. And that's how the KreditBee logo came into being.

KreditBee - Revenue Model

The KreditBee Business Model is based on standard digital lending, wherein the interest income from the users serves as a profitability metric in the Unit Economics sheet. KreditBee also works with various partners like Flipkart, Amazon, MakeMyTrip and Myntra, among others, the affiliate income from which becomes another source of income, some of which the startup passes to its end customers.

KreditBee - Marketing Strategies

As revealed by the KreditBee CEO, the startup's marketing spend goes up to 1 Million USD per month, and most of this spend is focused on new customer acquisition.

Google and Facebook ads has been the primary channels of customer acquisition for KreditBee since inception. To scale up to the next level, the KreditBee team has identified other channel partnerships like affiliate networks, loan aggregators and offline channels to spread out the overall acquisition channel pool.

KreditBee tie-ups are with consumer durables and services partners like Flipkart, Amazon, MakeMyTrip, and Myntra to push for E-Voucher Loans. They also tie-up with HR Management Partners like QuessCorp to scale up on the loans to young professionals across the agencies.

KreditBee - Challenges

The biggest challenge for the KreditBee team is to continuously evolve the digital underwriting mechanism to help people especially the new-to-credit and self-employed customers avail loans on the platform.

"The idea behind constant improvisation of the digital underwriting mechanism is to constantly identify parameters which give a good indicator of not just the repayment capability, but also their intent. We have over 6500 data variable identified from over 120 data sources based on which we do our credit decisions." Madhusudan quotes

KreditBee - Growth

Headquartered in Bangalore, KreditBee now has 5 office locations in Bangalore. KreditBee has 30 Million App Installs. The platform has 20 Million Registered Customers, 5 Million Unique Loan Customers and 2 Million Active Unique Loan Customers.

IIFL, Incred, AU Small Finance Bank and Vivriti Capital are among the notable lending partners of KreditBee.

Some other important achievements of KreditBee includes-

  • Low NPA - ~3% of the overall disbursed principal
  • Disbursed over 1 Million New Loans in a single quarter.
  • Disburse over 1 Million Loans in a month.
  • Disburse over INR 1000 Crore in a month.

The Loan Book size of all the loans disbursed via the platform currently stands at over INR 1500 Cr within 2 years of operations.

Identified as Top 100 Emerging Market Inclusive Fintech Lending Startups in 2017 by World Economic Foru

KreditBee - Future Plans

The KreditBee team is working to identify more innovative lending products, and have a more comprehensive set of offerings in their digital lending stack. The startup is targeting the 300 Million NTC (New To Credit) folks and aims to become a one-stop solution for Digital Lending to the Indian Ecosystem in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Who is the owner of KreditBee?

Madhusudan Ekambaram is the CEO and Co-Founder of KreditBee.

What is the kreditbee revenue?

During the last fiscal year or FY20, KreditBee recorded a revenue of INR 557.72 Crore.

What happens if you don't pay a KreditBee loan?

If you don't repay your loan on KreditBee, your CIBIL score will get affected, which will affect your ability to avail loans from any bank or financial institution in the future and you will automatically be ineligible for availing quicker Personal Loans of a much higher value from KreditBee in the future.