This round was led by Bharat Fund with participation from Singularity Growth Fund, IIFL, YAN, White Venture & other existing investors and comes at a time as the company gears to strengthen its product portfolio and accelerate growth within the BFSI sector.
Data Sutram focuses on solving core banking challenges, offering insights obtained by blending GDPR-compliant data from 250+ sources. Their product suite Find, Authenticate & Grow, has garnered traction across major banks, NBFCs and fintechs globally today.
“This funding comes at the right time and gives us the horsepower needed to accelerate growth. Over the last year, we have been focused on acquiring talent and developing deep tech products powered by external intelligence. Senior leaders from the BFSI domains are now leading sales, product development, and engineering efforts. This addition of funds coupled with human capital will give us the necessary edge to drive innovation within the fintech space. And, we are excited to see what the future holds,” said Rajit Bhattacharya, Founder & CEO, Data Sutram.
These funds will be used to further enhance Data Sutram’s product offerings, facilitating customer acquisition, credit underwriting, fraud investigation & collections in financial services.
Founded in 2019 by Rajit Bhattacharya, Ankit Das, and Aisik Paul, most of the company’s work happens in the financial sector. “For example, if you look at a bank, there are various decisions it needs to take when looking at a customer. This can be from acquiring the customer to lending to selling a credit card. We help banks figure out whom to target as customers and, once onboarded, we help figure out the appetite of the customer. For example, a tea stall owner in an area would not have a bank statement that will help a lender understand his financial position. Most of his dealings are in cash and may not even have a credit score. In such cases we help a bank figure out how many people are coming to his stall, the net spends, the profile of this tea stall owner, and subsequently arrive at a lending decision,” says Bhattacharya.
According to him, in the last 3-4 years, financial inclusion has seen a steady growth where new-to-bank and new-to-credit customers have been targeted across the country. This means we now need alternative data, which is not financial regulated information, to profile customers. “There is public data and then there is financial regulated data. Today, most lending decisions by banks take place on financial regulated data, but that is not enough if you want to target people in the hinterlands. This is where understanding public information becomes very important. That is where we come in,” says Bhattacharya.
Data Sutram is not alone in the space of using alternate sources of data to arrive at a credit profile of a customer. Many startups actively use technology and various data sources to help banks and other financial institutions arrive at a lending decision. But Bhattacharya says his company is different because other solutions that look at gathering alternative data tend to snoop on people.
“They tend to install SDK into lending apps to track user behaviour and take decisions. We do not install anything on a phone, but look at sources of data where people are already connected with. It can be a Truecaller, a Vodafone, MagicBricks, or various other sources where people have already consented to give data. We have partnered with 250 such sources where user behaviour is getting captured. We take this consented data and have built an analytics layer on top of it. Banks now only need to send me a phone number and I can send a credit score or credit check,” says Bhattacharya.
Bhattacharya says one can break up his source of data into four segments. The first being government sources like GST, Aadhaar, Udyog Aadhaar, among others. “The second piece is where we have tapped ad exchanges, keeping GDPR in mind. We have over a billion mobile signals, where the location of a user is an anonymised identity, every time a user sees an advertisement,” says Bhattacharya.
For every address in India, from a village in Rajasthan to a settlement in the hills of Darjeeling, the company says it can tell everything-from the risk associated with the place to income. “We can do this because we process millions of data sets–from satellites, to IoT sensors to rental sites to process and come up with a score for every address in India,” says Bhattacharya.
For the fourth and final source, the company relies on digital data. “If you are providing your phone number on social media, with consent I can tell if the user is shopping online, how often he is making purchases online, the kind of products he is buying, which in turn allows me to create a physical and digital footprint of every user,” says Bhattacharya.
According to Sanjay Jain, Partner, Bharat Fund, Data Sutram has demonstrated its ability to create an infrastructure that provides industry with actionable, reliable intelligence on fraud and risk, thus allowing their enterprise customers to optimise their costs when delivering to previously underserved markets. “This has been validated with their work with leading institutions in India, and we are glad to partner with them to solve for smart customer acquisition, risk and loss management,” Jain says.
Data Sutram has structured data on over 60 million businesses and over 1 billion consumers across 20,000 pin codes and 200 plus categories, providing answers that promote smart growth and reduce risks.
“Data infrastructure in fintech is increasingly becoming important globally and Data Sutram has demonstrated very good initial traction,” says Vikrant Khorana, Operating Partner, Singularity Growth Fund.
Seeing 4X growth in the last 3-4 years, Bhattacharya says the company is nearing a couple of million dollars in revenue as a run rate and has a headcount of around 60.
“Banks and financial service organisations now need to play smarter to gain share and profitability. Our products offer the edge required by product, sales and risk professionals to accelerate growth and increase business efficiency, like never before,” said Upendra Namburi, Chief Business Officer, Data Sutram.
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