NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel has bought a stake in Seynse Technologies, valuing the fintech company at over Rs. 100 crore, in a bid to add teeth to its financial operations platform including the payments bank.
The acquisition of the “strategic stake” in Seynse was made through subsidiary Bharti Airtel Services, according to a statement. Both companies did not disclose the amount invested or the equity stake taken.
The deal values Seynse at over Rs.100 crore, according to people familiar with the matter.
“Over the years, Airtel has developed strong in-house data science capabilities that enable us to serve our customers better,” Harmeen Mehta, global CIO at Bharti Airtel, said on Wednesday.
Mehta said Seynse’s advanced credit scoring algorithms based on multiple sources and digital analytics will add immense value to Airtel. The services of Goa-based Seynse will be offered to the 270 million-plus customers of India’s largest telco.
Seynse has created a digital lending platform, Loan Singh, which enables easy loans for credit-worthy yet underserved borrowers. The company has built a proprietary credit engine and advanced machine learning capacity to serve customers.
Industry experts said Airtel could leverage the technology platform by tying it with the payments bank business. Although payments banks are not allowed to lend to consumers, a product along these lines could be offered by the telco on its own.
Airtel Payments Bank started operations in November last year, the first to go live since the Reserve Bank of India granted in-principle approvals to 11applicants in August 2015. Parent company Airtel has committed Rs.3,000 crore of investments as part of plans to build a national digital payments ecosystem with over 5 million merchants. Over 1 million merchants have already been signed up across India.
“We’re privileged to have Airtel as a partner in our growth journey and look forward to gaining from their deep understanding of the Indian customer,” said Gourav Jaswal, director at Seynse. “This partnership will give Seynse the opportunity to innovate for a much wider audience and add to its product portfolio.”
Bharti is the latest backer of Seynse, which has investors including TVS Capital chairman Gopal Srinivasan, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts’ India CEO Sanjay Nayar and Paragon Partners’ founder Siddharth Parekh.