India: Slice's Series B round propels it to unicorn status

India’s Slice becomes unicorn with $220M funding from Tiger Global, Insight Partners and Advent

Inclusion Times Patrick Okwe

India's fintech sector is becoming a popular destination for investors in recent times. This is not surprising given the number of fintechs and fintech adoption rate ( the highest in the world) in the country. Facts like these explains why VCs like Tiger Global is strongly investing in India's fintech sector.

According to a publication on TechCrunch, Tiger Global has finalized — or is in late stages of concluding — more than 25 deals with Indian startups this year. Tiger Global is not slowing down when it comes to investing in India's fintech space as it co-led Slice's $220 million Series B round with Insight Partners.

For Slice, the latest seed round makes them a unicorn.

The funding is coming a year after the Bangalore based startup closed a seed round in June that valued the startup at under $200 million.

Tiger Global and Insight Partners were not the only VCs present in this round. Private equity firm Advent International’s Sunley House Capital, Moore Strategic Ventures, Anfa, and existing investors Gunosy, Blume Ventures, and 8i also participated in it.

“Slice has built a product that customers love, which we expect will result in continued growth and market share gains,” said Alex Cook, a partner at Tiger Global, in a statement. “We are excited to partner with Rajan and the team as they expand access to credit and deliver best-in-class customer experience.”

Deven Parekh, Managing Director at Insight Partners, in a statement said, “Slice targets an underpenetrated market in India and seamlessly allows users to make online payments, pay bills and more. There is a large opportunity in the credit and payment space in India, and slice is well-positioned to become the leader in the industry. We look forward to this partnership with slice as they continue to scale up and grow.”

Slice is looking to redefine the way banks issue credit cards or loans in India. Banks rely on archaic methodologies to determine an individual’s creditworthiness and whether they deserve a credit card. This often lead to the conclusion that it is too risky to give a credit card or even a loan to most Indians.

Slice is tackling this by using its own underwriting system. The startup has established itself as one of the market leading card-issuing firms in India. The startup offers a number of cards that are aimed at tech-savvy young professionals in the country.

Slice boasts of a customer base  of over 5 million users. The startup claims that it is issuing over 200,000 cards each month, which according to a person familiar with industry figures, makes the startup the third largest card issuer in India after two banks

Slice will deploy the fresh funds to expand its product offerings. In the coming months, it plans to launch support for UPI, a payments railroad developed by a coalition of retail banks which is the most popular way Indians transact online.

India in focus

GDP: $2.262 trillion compared to $2.871 trillion in 2019

Population: 1.38 billion in 2020 compared to 1.366 billion in 2019

GDP per capita: $1,900 in 2020 compared to $2,100 in 2019

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Patrick Okwe

Economist | Analyst