Please introduce yourself and share your story so far.
My name is Vaibhav & I have done MBA from IIM Ahmedabad. I am CEO & Co-founder of i2ifunding.com. I completed MBA in 2009 and for past 6 years have been in Operations & Business Excellence role. I have had opportunities to set up large scale operations from inception to full-fledged implementation. I have also designed and led development of various enterprise level solutions. Before MBA, I had graduated from T.S Chanakya in Nautical Sciences and sailed all around the world as a Navigation officer on various merchant ships. The discipline and training which I received during this period has helped me immensely in all my endeavors. I am from Varanasi.
When and How I2Ifunding’s journey got started?
I was always looking for an idea which really creates value and benefits a large population. I came across a situation where I saw one of my colleagues borrowed money from money lenders at a monthly interest rate of 4%, to meet some urgent financial requirement, because his personal loan request was rejected by Bank. This case left me thinking about creating something which can help people meet their financial requirement at genuine interest rate without really squeezing them. This is how we started working on the concept of i2ifunding.
We started our operation in October 2015, our head office is in Noida, with another office in Mumbai.
Introduce your Co-Founders and Team.
Neha completed her MBA from XIM-Bhubaneswar and graduated from SS CBS, Delhi University with distinction in Finance. She has worked from brand management in FMCG sector to product development in financial sector. She has handled SHG & FDOD instruments in past of over $25 million.
Manisha is a Chartered Accountant and brings with her over 8 years of domestic and overseas work experience in various fields. Manisha has been instrumental in starting a recruitment consulting firm as an entrepreneur. She has also worked in the past with NGOs like CAT Protection and ADHD in UK overseeing finance and treasury activities. She has also worked with Birla Sunlife Insurance in the past.
Our advisory team comprises industry veterans as well as alumni of leading institutions such as IITs and IIMs.
Explain more about I2Ifunding, How is it different from other similar platforms?
I2Ifunding is an online platform connecting verified borrowers looking for unsecured personal loans and investors looking for alternative investment opportunities for higher returns. The personal loan can be used for multiple purposes, which include the purchase of consumer durable, debt consolidation (i.e. repayment of credit card debt etc.), medical expenses, education expenses, cash cycle optimization etc.The entire process is transparent, quick and easy. Apart from providing end-to-end services, We diligently evaluates the credit risk of each of the loan projects, basis its evaluation, we assigns risk category and recommends an interest rate for that project (a borrower has the option to borrow at an interest rate, which is higher than or equal to this rate). This ensures that borrowers as well as the investors are not clueless and aware about the benchmark interest rate of a loan project. In the process, the investors get an opportunity to earn higher ‘risk-adjusted returns’ while the borrowers get an opportunity to get funded at the lowest cost possible as per their risk profile and market-based demand.
We are not just another peer to peer lender in India. There are quite a few differentiators, which set us apart from our competitors, like:
Some Key Differentiation:
- Investor Protection Reserve – Investor protection reserve has been created to provide guarantee on principal amount lent. No other player is offering such a comfort to their investors.
- One Loan one interest rate: All other platforms allow each investor to negotiate different interest rate with the borrower. We believe this is not scalable as negotiations inherently delay the process.
- Proprietary credit score model used to screen the loans before posting them on our portal – i2i is the only platform which perform a through risk evaluation of the borrower and interest rate is proportionate to the risk involves, instead of simple negotiation between borrower and investors.
What challenges did you face while setting up i2ifunding? how did you overcome?
So far our biggest challenge has been hiring right resources within our limited budget. It takes lot of time to hire a right candidate who is willing to work for a startup and whose though process is aligned with our vision.
Apart from hiring, convincing customers about this new concept has been a challenge for us especially convincing investors. In India, retail investors have been cheated by many Ponzi schemes and chit funds in the past and they have become very skeptical about new investment products or concepts. But slowly and surly we have been able to convince lot of investors. Now people have started getting returns on their investments and they themselves are encouraging others to register on our platform and get maximum benefit out of it.
I believe in team work and whenever I face in challenging situation, I share with my team and do a brain storming to find an innovative solution for that challenge and I would like to tell you that my team has never disappointed me.
What’s the Current Path and Future plans?
While P2P lending is still at a nascent stage in India, it is one of the leading means of financing in countries such as the US, the UK, Germany, China etc. and many p2p players have grown to become Billion dollar companies. It has been growing in leaps and bounds around the world, thanks to an increase in the internet penetration and tremendous acceptability of e-payments.
In India also, I see P2P lending to follow the similar growth trend that has been witnessed by ecommerce industry. We currently have investors from all across the country; however, borrowers are mainly from Delhi NCR and Bangalore. We are looking to expand to all major cities of India in next couple of years.
We went live in October’15, and from last 9 months, we have approx 2000 registered users (Borrowers & investors) on our platform. We are distributed loans approx. 1 Cr to individual borrowers. We raised angel fund Rs 2 crore (around $300,000) from a group of angel investors.
We are investing very heavily in technology, and will be a technology driven platform which will help investors and borrowers transact very easily.