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Peer2Peer Finance News | July 23, 2019

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Welendus closes funding round as it prepares for India expansion

Welendus closes funding round as it prepares for India expansion
Hannah Smith

WELENDUS, the peer-to-peer lender focused on short-term loans, has closed its last seed funding round, as it prepares to expand into India.

UK/India cross-border fund Unicorn Ascension Fund (UAF) participated in this round as a co-investor with Pontaq, a London-based venture fund focusing on cross-border technology transfer between the UK and India.

The amount raised in this funding round was not disclosed but Welendus said it will help fuel the company’s growth and push its future expansion into the Indian market.

“It’s great to have UAF on-board our journey,” said Nadeem Siam, co-founder and chief executive of Welendus. “UAF’s investment marks the closing of our last seed investing round, positioning us for rapid growth. This is a very exciting stage for the business and we are looking forward to making the most of UAF’s expertise.”

Read more: Welendus plans rebrand to “easier to understand” name

“The UK is the home to innovative fintech companies,” added Bhaskar Majumdar, UAF’s managing partner. “I am very excited about our first fintech investment which is also the third investment since launching our UK-India EIS fund.

“Welendus has seen significant growth since its beta launch in January 2018. The fact that Welendus has been regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority from day one and has seen over £1.5m being issued via its platform in 2018 bodes well for the product.

Read more: Welendus expresses caution over problem debt proposals

“The alternative lending sector has significant relevance in India as more than half the population is unbanked and banks are not able to cater to the debt needs of all small businesses and individuals. The company has also thought through their go-to-market strategy for the Indian market.”

Read more: Welendus launches third crowdfunding round

UAF was formed through a collaboration between UK-based Ascension Ventures and India-based Unicorn India Ventures. The company is looking to invest in EIS-eligible, UK scale-ups (typically pre-Series A stage) that can offer their tech and products to the rapidly digitising and growing Indian economy. With this Welendus investment, the fund now has three companies in its portfolio.