Vayana Network- Aims To Solve Trade Finance For India's SME Sector

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With trade prospects diminishing amidst COVID-19, India’s small-and-medium enterprises (SME) sector — one of the largest in the world — could be exposed to life-threatening risks. With the government targeting an ambitious $5 trillion economy, trade was anticipated to climb steadily.

Trade financing could be the answer to a lot of these problems. By giving sellers access to credit lines, helping them discern business demands, using predictive analytics to solve problems, recognize changing consumer trends, and optimizing their supply chain operations, SMEs could better withstand the downturn in business activity. Pune-based Vayana Network — one of India’s biggest trade finance companies – is perfectly positioned to help SMEs do just that, and more.

Vayana Network- Company Highlights

  • Company Name-Vayana Network
  • Headquarter-Pune
  • Founder-Ram Iyer
  • Founded-2017
  • Sector-Supply Chain Trade Finance
  • Registered-Vay Network Services Pvt Ltd

Vayana Network- About and How It Works

Vayana strives to provide easy, digital access to low-cost financing to every enterprise – from large corporations to MSMEs – to help manage their working capital, grow business and create employment. Because of the relationships Vayana has cultivated over the years with corporates and financial institutions, most of the applications that it passes on to banks and NBFCs get approved quickly. The company trades on the trust it has built with all of its stakeholders, and it does so swiftly and successfully.

Vayana’s data-driven digital platform enables identification onboarding, financing, and servicing of creditworthy SMEs at significantly superior unit economics compared to traditional lenders. This allows them to create and offer affordable, convenient financing to the entire supply chain. They are also India’s largest GSP and e-invoicing platform.

Vayana Network- Founder

Vayana Network is founded by Ram Iyer.

Ram Iyer

Ram Iyer, Founder & CEO of Vayana Network, is a serial entrepreneur with over 25 years in the Cash and Trade space providing solutions to some of the largest Banks across the globe. At Vayana Network, Ram has led the company’s vision to democratize access to affordable finance for MSMEs. Previously, he was the co-founder and CEO of CashTech Solutions, a leading Cash Management vendor in Asia which was acquired by Nasdaq listed Fundtech (now a part of the Finastra Group). He has previously worked with Accenture in their management consulting business.

He is a management graduate from IIM Ahmedabad and an Engineer from Mumbai University. A guest speaker at various Fintech & Trade forums, Ram brings an exceptional understanding of B2B trade, payment ecosystems, and technology.

Hiring Funda

Irrespective of hierarchical positions, they attract people who see themselves as ‘producers’ and ‘creators’ and not ‘managers’. They also are keen that everyone joining sees their role as something very significant - not just to the company but to their own professional and personal journeys.

Vayana Network- Name, Logo and Tagline

Vayana: The Act of Weaving

Originated from Sanskrit, Vayana represents its vision of building meaningful Trade Financing relationships between Businesses and their Supply Chain partners.

How Vayana Network was Founded

Vayana is not Ram’s first entrepreneurial stint, Ram Iyer was previously the co-founder and CEO of CashTech Solutions, a leading Cash Management vendor in Asia which was acquired by Nasdaq listed, Fundtech in 2004.

After CashTech, he began selling banks systems to help manage companies’ trade finance. That’s when Mr. Iyer realized that there was a need and potential for a company like Vayana after several bankers he worked with told him that even though trade finance was a lucrative proposition, volumes of credit applications were quite low.

Vayana Network was started with a vision to democratize the access to trade finance to the smallest of enterprises. Team Vayana designs tailor-made, affordable, closed-loop programs to meet the financing demands of businesses and their supply chain partners with simplicity and speed.

The employees, partners, and investors fully understand how Vayana Network operates as it is just as crucial as what they accomplish to create value for all stakeholders. Together, Vayana strives to provide easy, digital access to low-cost financing to every enterprise – from large corporations to MSMEs – to help manage their working capital, grow business and create employment.

Vayana Network- Vision and Mission

Vayana Network was started with a vision to democratize the access to low-cost trade finance to the smallest of enterprises. They believe that for an economy like India to achieve momentum, the millions of hard-working small wheels (i.e. Micro and small businesses) must run smoothly and financing is critical to this.

Vayana’s mission, therefore, is to ensure that every entity on a supply chain, from the largest to the smallest, can access financing affordably and conveniently. They strive to make financing an integral, seamless part of the trade process and not a separate activity.

Vayana Network- Target Market Size

Through Supply Chain Finance Vayana is looking to address a short-term trade credit gap of $ 260 Bn faced by Small and Micro Enterprises in India.

India has about 63 Mn MSMEs of which only 5% have access to formal sources of financing. The cumulative financing gap faced by MSMEs left out of the formal system, is about $260bn.

SCF market in India today is approx $10 Bn, which is less than 1 % of India's GDP. In the next 5 years, we expect the market to be roughly 4% of India's GDP, which is the case today in countries like China. This growth will be backed by the increasing formalization of the economy brought about by GST and E-Invoicing initiatives of the government, RB

[ Sources- IFSC report on Financing MSME, RBI report authored by UK SInha and other sources.]

Vayana Network- Product/ Sevices

Starting from big ‘anchor’ companies at the top of the supply chain, they can detect, analyze and leverage the ‘creditworthy networks’ of downstream buyers, using real-time data. The digital process of onboarding is quick, painless, saving time, effort, and cost

SMEs can access affordable finance easily. A simple one-click process removes friction, enabling high utilization

Banks and FIs gain access to an expanded book from new segments which they could not viably access till now

‘Anchor’ corporates enjoy the benefits of expanded supply chain coverage - predictable cashflows, increased sales, and frictionless supply chain relationships.

And all of this without requiring any change in internal systems and processes.

Vayana Network- Business and Revenue Model

Vayana's technology & services platform enables their partner Banks and FIs to build a scalable and profitable portfolio, retain it and grow over time. The entire cycle from sourcing to settlement is managed by Vayana, hence partner institutions pay Vayana a service fee on the financed portfolio. Vayana is also a leading GSP (GST Suvidha Provider) offering a seamless API gateway for Corporates, Institutions, and MSMEs for their GST, EwayBill, and eInvoicing compliance needs; against platform fees.

Vayana Network- Startup Launch

The core emphasis of Vayana Network, when launching the company, was to build a process that is scalable and serves to solve the most critical need of any business i.e. freeing up the cash flow. One of the key needs for this process to run successfully was to create something that is so easy to use that one forgets that it is there.

Initially, a lot of their business was driven via more of one to one interaction, but as they have grown from strength to strength they are now very well entrenched in the psyche of both the corporates as well as their FI partners, who appreciate the know-how and key knowledge we bring to the table for all the concerned parties, thus creating a healthy and meaningful trade network.

Vayana Network- Customers/ Clients

One of the key driving philosophies was to keep the process as simple as possible or as our CEO states “Dal – Chawal will never go out of fashion, as oppose to exquisite continental food that is good but, in the end, you will always crave simple food as it solves for your basic need.” Similarly, there are multiple solutions that are available in the market, but all businesses from large corporates to the SMEs are looking to solve for the key pain area i.e. freeing up their working capital allowing them to do business at a much larger scale and this is where Vayana comes in by managing the entire trade financing network in such a manner that business no longer needs to worry about the credit crunch and concentrate on what they do best, growing the business.

Vayana with its simple & robust processes allows it to onboard large corporates as well as the smallest of MSMEs with equal ease in the shortest possible time thus eliminating long and tedious onboarding processes.

Vayana Network- Advisors and Mentors

The company is blessed with a strong set of experienced professionals and seasoned entrepreneurs on its Board and advisors like Dr. Marti G Subrahmanyam, Mr. Kannan Ramasamy, and Mr. Kalyan Basu.

Vayana Network- Acquisitions and Mergers

The company is open to acquisition opportunities in allied areas of strategic interest and has already made 2 acquisitions in the last two and a half years. Vayana focuses on lean teams working on some great models/ ideas in the space of facilitating B2B trade and where both teams see a great cultural fitment and commonality of interest. One such acquisition was of SahiGST in 2018 – a leading cloud-based ASP; to further strengthen our GST and E-Way Bill Portfolio. The next acquisition (not yet public) is in the B2B payments space.

Vayana Network- Recognitions and Achievements

Vayana has been recognized as “Fast Learner” Fintech Startup at Fidelity WyAQ Award 2020 and has also won NASSCOM's 'Emerge 50' in the Fintech category in 2019.

Vayana Network- Future Plans

Vayana Network is successfully servicing clients from over 25 industries, further impacting more than 20,000 MSMEs and 300-plus supply chains and processing more than 1.7 million invoices. Vayana has a CAGR of 300 percent, with an organic growth rate of up to 45 percent. The company recently finished financing $USD 5 Bn (Rs 37,000 crores) on their platform.

Currently present in the US, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia, the company is targeting either Japan, South Korea, or Taiwan next.

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