Slice gets into unicorn club after Tiger, others invest $220 mn



Slice gets into unicorn club after Tiger, others invest $220 mn

Slice has turned India’s latest unicorn after the fintech startup raised $220 million at a valuation of just over $1 billion.

The capital-raising was done as part of Slice’s Series B funding round led by New York-based investment companies Tiger Global and Insight Partners.

The round also saw participation from new and existing investors such as Sunley House Capital, Moore Strategic Ventures, Anfa, Gunosy, 8i and Blume Ventures. Flipkart founder Binny Bansal, along with other notable angels, also took part in the round.

Slice is the 41st Indian startup to get unicorn status this year. A unicorn is a privately-held startup with a valuation of $1 billion or more.

Slice, owned by Bengaluru-basedGaragePrenuers Internet, is the 11th fintech startup to become unicorn this year. With this round, the firm has raised around $250 million in equity funding so far.

Slice had secured $20 million in June as a part of a funding round led by existing investors Blume Ventures and Gunosy Capital.

Slice plans to use proceeds from the latest fundraise to raise its existing lines of business, invest in newer products and also grow its engineering and design functions. The firm will also use a portion of the fresh capital to fund its non-banking financial company (NBFC) arm, and scale its loan book.

Slice allows users to pay bills, manage expenses and unlock rewards. It is focused on new-age millennials and Gen Z, with an average age of 27, who have largely been refused credit cards by large banks because of inadequate credit scoring around this demographic.

The firm issues credit and payment cards, ‘Slice Super Card’, with Visa and SBM Bank India Ltd, allowing them to build credit scores and win rewards and discounts from payments.

“At Slice, we believe that we have built a solid business model and will focus our energies now into growing and scaling the platform. We have been prudent with our business so far and burnt $4.5 million (in capital) over five years. A part of the capital from this fundraise will be invested in our NBFC, as we need to have our own skin in the game, rather than raising debt alone. The remainder will be utilized towards launching new products and scaling the team," Rajan Bajaj, founder and chief executive officer at Slice, stated in an interview.

Slice is presently working on introducing unified payments interface (UPI)-based payments on its app, besides credit card issuances, Bajaj said.

This year alone, Slice has ramped up its monthly credit card issuances tenfold, from 20,000 cards in January to close to 200,000 cards in October.

The credit line offered by the company on these cards ranges from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10 lakh. It has close to five million registered users on its app.

New card issuances and users for the firm are growing 40% every month, Bajaj said. He said the company is presently recording an annual revenue run rate of $60 million.

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

The company also has plans to initiate newer products around wealth management and commerce, Bajaj said. He did not give any timelines.

“Slice targets an under-penetrated 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," stated Deven Parekh, managing director at Insight Partners.