Air­tel Buys Stake in Seynse to Give a Boost to Fi­nan­cial Ops

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Our Bureau

New Delhi: Bharti Air­tel has bought a stake in Seynse Tech­nolo­gies, valu­ing the fin­tech com­pany at over ₹ 100 crore, in a bid to add teeth to its fi­nan­cial op­er­a­tions plat­for m, in­clud­ing the pay­ments bank.

The ac­qui­si­tion of the “strate­gic stake” in Seynse was made through sub­sidiary Bharti Air­tel Ser­vices, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment. Both com­pa­nies did not dis­close the amount in­vested or the eq­uity stake taken.

The deal val­ues Seynse at over ₹ 100 crore, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter.

“Over the years, Air­tel has de­vel­oped strong in-house data science ca­pa­bil­i­ties that en­able us to serve our cus­tomers bet­ter,” Harmeen Me­hta, global CIO at Bharti Air­tel, said on Wed­nes­day.

Me­hta said Seynse’s ad­vanced credit scor­ing al­go­rithms based on mul­ti­ple sources and dig­i­tal an­a­lyt­ics will add im­mense value to Air­tel. The ser­vices of Goa-based Seynse will be of­fered to the 270 mil­lion-plus cus­tomers of In­dia’s largest telco.

Seynse has cre­ated a dig­i­tal lend­ing plat­form, Loan Singh, which en­ables easy loans for credit-wor­thy yet un­der­served bor­row­ers. The com­pany has built a pro­pri­etary credit engine and ad­vanced ma­chine learn­ing ca­pac­ity to serve cus­tomers.

In­dus­try ex­perts said Air­tel co- uld lever­age the tech­nol­ogy plat­form by ty­ing it with the pay­ments bank busi­ness. Although pay­ments banks are not al­lowed to lend to con­sumers, a prod­uct along th­ese lines could be of­fered by the telco on its own.

Air­tel Pay­ments Bank started op­er­a­tions in Novem­ber last year, the first to go live since the Re­serve Bank of In­dia granted in-prin­ci­ple ap­provals to 11 ap­pli­cants in Au­gust 2015. Par­ent com­pany Air­tel has com­mit­ted ₹ 3,000 crore of in­vest­ments as part of plans to build a na­tional dig­i­tal pay­ments ecosys­tem with over five mil­lion mer­chants. Over one mil­lion mer- chants have al­ready been signed up across In­dia. “We’re priv­i­leged to have Air­tel as a part­ner in our growth jour­ney and look for­ward to gain­ing from their deep un­der­stand­ing of the In­dian cus­tomer,” said Gourav Jaswal, di­rec­tor at Seynse. “This part­ner­ship will give Seynse the op­por­tu­nity to in­no­vate for a much wider au­di­ence and add to its prod­uct port­fo­lio.”

Bharti is the lat­est backer of Seynse, which has in­vestors, in­clud­ing TVS Cap­i­tal chair­man Gopal Srini­vasan, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts’ In­dia CEO San­jay Na­yar and Paragon Part­ners’ founder Siddharth Parekh.


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