Online e-commerce major Flipkart’s co-founder Sachin Bansal announced Wednesday he has acquired 94% stake in Bengaluru-headquartered micro-finance company Chaitanya Rural Intermediation Development Services (CRIDS) for USD 104 million and is now its new chief executive officer.
According to a local media Economic Times, post the acquisition a majority of the existing investors in CRIDS have opted for an exit.
In 2018, during the acquisition of his online marketplace Flipkart by the US retail behemoth Walmart for USD 16 billion, Bansal sold his entire 5.5% stake in Flipkart for USD 1 billion. Since then Bansal has formed a debt fund called BAC Acquisitions and has invested in a host of startups including USD 100 million in ride-hailing major Ola.
A non-banking finance company, CRIDS has been scouting for fresh funding, and was in talks with Bansal over the last couple of months. In a statement to the media, Bansal said, “This acquisition is our entry into financial services.”
Samit Shetty and Anand Rao who founded CRIDS in 2009 will continue to execute their roles just as before.
Bansal’s interest in the fintech space is evident by his commitments towards the companies in this space. In July, he invested USD 7 million in Mumbai-based digital lending platform Kissht. Earlier this year, through his debt fund BAC financing Bansal provided debt of USD 35 million each to Altico Capital and Indostar Capital Finance.
According to an earlier report in Economic Times, Bansal wanted to receive a private banking licence, and had met the top management of India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India. The acquisition of CRIDS is a move in that direction.
The 10-year-old CRIDS targets rural, low income populace in the Indian states of Karnataka, Bihar, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. It provides auto loan, housing loan, small business loan and education loan to its 350,000 customers spread over 32 districts in India.
In the financial year 2018-19 CREDS reported revenue of USD 15.5 million, a jump of 45% compared to FY 2017-18, when it also reported a net loss of USD 11, 250.
According to management consulting firm, Boston Consulting Group, more than 1,000 fintech companies have sprouted in India in the last seven years.