SoftBank-backed True Balance is set to close its Series D funding round – founder says they are focussed on lending in India

SoftBank-backed True Balance is set to close its Series D funding round – founder says  they are focussed on lending in India
Charlie Lee, Founder & Global CEO, True BalanceTrue Balance
  • Founded in 2014, the company has gone from being just a balance checking platform for mobile prepaid users to hosting various financial services, including lending now.
  • In an interview with Business Insider, Charlie Lee, Founder & CEO, True Balance, shares why he remains focussed on the Indian lending market.
  • While Lee didn’t share many details, he said that they have received a commitment from Japanese, Korean and Indian investors and will be closing their Series D round of funding soon.
SoftBank-backed payment and financial services platform True Balance has had its share of finding the right market fit in India. Founded in 2014, the company has gone from being just a balance checking platform for mobile prepaid users to hosting an array of financial services, including lending.

In an interview with Business Insider, Charlie Lee, Founder & CEO, True Balance, shares why he remains focussed on the India lending market.

Having started from balance checking, Lee says that he figured that balance checking was the gateway for balance recharge (which continues to have one of the most significant volumes of transactions in payment services). True Balance had officially launched operations in India in 2016.

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“Last year, we extended to other financial services like commerce, insurance and also lending. Lending is at the core of all financial services and is the money-making business and that’s why we are concentrating on it,” he said.

Downloads
Total downloads80 million
Active users10 million

While True Balance introduced the lending feature in November 2019, until March 2020, it saw a 100% growth month-on-month. However, the business was soon hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the moratorium offered by the Reserve Bank of India. “Only August onwards the business started recovering and now has a 200-300% month-on-month growth rate,” said Lee.

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At True Balance, they are focussed on microlending to serve what Lee calls the “one billion middle-class users.” They also work on the revolving loan concept where a user can repay a certain amount of the loan and then take the rest of the loan forward. “We are targeting users who have a ₹20,000-₹50,000 monthly income and don’t really have a credit score. We have created our own credit score based on the data shared by the user, and that decides the credit amount the user can receive,” said Lee.

True Balance Loanbook
Ticket Size ₹1,000-₹15,000
Loan duration10-30 days
Interest rate 2-5% monthly
Loans disbursed₹200 million

In the market for funds

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The SoftBank-backed startup had last closed its Series C round of funding in October 2019. It had raised $23 million from Korean investors. While Lee didn’t share many details, he said that they have received a commitment from Japanese, Korean and Indian investors and will be closing their Series D round of funding soon.

And Lee, who has worked in the India market earlier where he led country operations for internet streaming media delivery firm Real Networks, has big plans for India. “The market opportunity is huge, and India is a fast-growing country, especially for app-based financial services,” he said.


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