After creating a niche in lending small-ticket personal loans to students, Kolkata-based mPokket, a digital lending platform, now plans to launch new loan products to cater to the financial needs of salaried professionals on their first jobs. The company also plans to introduce loan products for micro businesses and small entrepreneurs.
Founded in 2016, mPokket leverages digital media and advanced technologies such as machine learning to make informed credit decisions and achieve operational efficiencies. Any college student in the country is eligible to borrow money instantly using the mPokket mobile app and the borrower need not have any credit history.
The digital lending platform offers short-term personal loans to individuals in a hassle-free and seamless manner, eliminating the need for the time-consuming process of obtaining loans from traditional sources. “We like to ensure cost-effective delivery of credit to the segments of Indian populace which are ignored by the formal banking sector,” says Gaurav Jalan, founder and chief executive officer of mPokket.
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Since its inception, the company has disbursed loans worth Rs 600 crore and has addressed the financial woes of students in over 50 cities and 5,000-plus colleges. The interest rate charged by mPokket for the loan is 3% per month, a rate similar to what credit card companies charge if the cardholder has not paid the outstanding amount in full or withdraws cash from ATMs using the credit card.
Registration on mPokket is simple as the applicant just needs to fill relevant personal information and submit the documents online. Once the information is verified, the user is assigned a certain credit limit to start borrowing. The credit limit is determined by mPokket’s proprietary algorithms based on demographic, social, behavioural, financial and transactional factors. The loan amount is delivered to the student’s bank account or mobile wallet. The borrowing limit of the student can go up over time with good repayment record.
The startup has secured funding from venture capital firm Village Capital, a US-based social impact investor and a number of ultra-high networth individuals. Educated in the US, Jalan began his career in management consulting as a senior associate consultant at Bain & Company’s New York office. He then moved to India where he worked with Fidelity Investments as an investment analyst for five years. Jalan started his entrepreneurial journey as the chief executive officer and chief investment officer of Avant Garde Wealth Management, a Sebi-registered portfolio management services (PMS) provider.