Bangalore based, Fintech start-up Bluebear Technology Private Limited (“Propelld”) announces that it has raised $250K in seed funding from Indian Angel Network and IAN Fund. Leading the funding round are IAN Members Ambarish Raghuvanshi (Former, CFO, Naukri), Alok Sharma(Former CEO, Apple India) and Satish Jajodia (Former-CEO/CFO of Education Dynamics, Ex. Director Strategy and Advanced Analytics with Citigroup).
Propelld is a student education financing platform which brings Financial Institutions to lend to students taking professional training/Vocational certification courses, using its proprietary employability outcome algorithm to include earning potential when determining the ability of a borrower to repay. This includes data points such as schools, academic performance, stream and work experience to get a grasp on ability and propensity to repay.
Commenting on the future direction of Propelld, Victor (Co-Founder at Propelld) said “Measuring employability of students based on their academic history and skills is our core strength. We are looking at leveraging the data to introduce new financing products in the markets such as CV based lending (without the need of co-guarantors) and also expand our scope of services to career path discovery, lead generation for Institutes, creating skill community etc.”
Ambarish Raghuvanshi (IAN Lead, ex-CFO Naukri), said, “The Education Space has traditionally been overlooked by financial players. Its challenges are unique. At the same time, this translates into a massive opportunity, especially with year on year increased spending in the space. We saw an amazing drive in the founding team, wanting to dream, dare and scale. We strongly believe that the solutions provided by Propelld, not only differentiates them from other players but also, their unique outcome-based underwriting approach for students and their impressive understanding of the education space, puts them in a strong position to solve this sectors’ unique challenges.”
Over the last 5-7 years, a lot of alternate short-term courses have sprung up which focuses on teaching hands-on industry skills that are more market oriented and cost a fraction of the traditional longer duration degrees. However, the current lending infrastructure shy away in lending to students of such courses due to high perceived risk and legacy systems which do not permit product customization. This results in unfilled seats and drop-outs.
Addressing these challenges, Victor adds, “Before us, Banks/NBFCs saw lending in this space as high risk, equating youth and lack of credit to risk. I believe, we have cracked the code of quantifying the risk in one’s education. We model our decisions on expected income and expected expenses. Till date, we haven’t had a single case of default. We started with technology courses such as certification programs in Data Science, Digital Marketing, Cyber Security, Coding etc. However, having seen a much larger demand in the non-technology space, we have now started moving in that as well. Currently we provide loans in such diverse sectors as Beauty, Aviation, Paramedical training as well, to name a few. Given the impetus given by the Government on the Skill India story, we do believe that India is poised towards becoming the Skill Capital of the world. We have the basic resources – employable human capital. It is just a challenge of empowering them with the right tools and creating that supporting eco-system.”
The unique system provides a win-win situation for both institutes and lenders . Institutes benefit from increased lead conversion, higher quality students and decreased lead conversion times. Financial lenders benefit from getting access to high-quality students pursuing quality courses, at bulk, with zero upfront investment and zero acquisition cost.
Having launched in the year 2017, Propelld currently works with Institutes covering both technology and non-technology certification/skilling courses across Bangalore and Hyderabad. Propelld partnered Institutes have an annual intake of approximately 30,000 students. The Startup has 12 employees, with founders from IIT Madras, MBAs, Banking professionals with experience across Risk, Debt Raise, Product, Technology and Data Science.