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Machine Learning Can Work Wonders For Fintech


The fintech sector is booming in India. Fintech has been a major catalyst in the enabling easy banking operational processes which is empowering customers to avail quick and efficient financial solutions. Fintech solutions, through their advanced predictive algorithms and data analytic capabilities, are rapidly emerging as the most viable channels that allow Indians to spend wisely, save better and earn more. Technology is the way forward for finance, and Fintech is the enabler for its continued growth. Today Smartphones with a host of Fintech applications installed in them, are already fast becoming the new credit cards.

Capital Float, an online platform that provides working capital finance to SMEs, has disbursed about Rs 400 crore and operates across 40-plus cities in India. In an exclusive interaction with CXO Today, Rohan  Angrish, CTO, Capital Float, talks about the future of fintech in India.

In the last three years, with presence in over 100 cities, how would you compare the acceptance and response to online capital finance across various regions? Has the response and the penetration of the concept been uniform across all cities?

The response has been fairly uniform in terms of interest from borrowers. The segments vary with region sometimes though, but in line with typical geographical profiles of various industries across the country.

Capital Float provides loans to SMEs based on online applications, easing their struggle to procure loans. How does the firm plan to enable a cashless economy and increasing the probability of acquiring working capital?

A lot of our loan products are cashless, where the money from the loan is deployed directly on behalf of the borrower, like when we’re financing an invoice or a car loan for Uber. Repayments are also often directly from the business eco-system, like Uber, or an E-Comm platform. These transactions never manifest in hard-cash at any stage. This then becomes a virtuous cycle. The larger the footprint a business generates on a digital ecosystem, the more business data that is readily available about that business, and the easier it is for a company to evaluate it and give it a loan.

The Fintech sector is fast booming in the country. E-wallets have become extremely popular, and there are a host of Fintech startups that cater to the needs of SMEs. How does Capital Float distinguish itself from its counterparts?

Capital Float is the largest Lending Platform in the country today by a large margin. The only way it’s able to do this is by treating data as king. This has made Capital Float one of the most nimble players in the market that knows what sort of data to collect and how to use that data to meet the financial needs of a company. “Access to Capital” being a huge attraction, CF finds it easy to tie up with other Fintech players, like Wallets for instance, to provide the much needed value-add of access-to-capital to those players. Today, it’s a symbiotic entity in a number of different financial ecosystems with dozens of partnerships all across the spectrum of Fintech.

How do you plan to employ APIs to exchange data in order to leverage higher levels of scale, speed and accuracy?

Eventually, as I’ve often said, machines will talk to machines. All data that is collected, all decisions that are communicated, all money that flows, everything will happen over APIs. Today, at CF, a partner can submit an application over an API, and lenders can participate in loans over APIs. Everything that we’ve built within the company has been built on those same APIs to ensure that we are always ready to scale-up.

What are the advantages and hindrances in leveraging cell phone penetration to offer customized financial services?

The advantages are that almost everyone today has a cell-phone. Not only is it a source of business-relevant data, it’s also what allows us to collect identifying information about a person since cell phones are linked to Aadhaar as well. The biggest stumbling block, though, at the moment is the consent piece. We need to make sure a cell-phone user knows exactly how we’re using data on their cell-phones to make financial services available to them.

What does the adoption of machine learning in the Fintech space hold in the near future for Fintech startups and customers?

Machine Learning is already here, and it’s here to stay. In this day and age of scale, the only way to start, and to iterate is by using machines to help us learn as we grow. At CF, machine learning was part of our fabric from day one, and as data grows, the role machine learning plays will grow as well. The ability for machines to do what they do, along with the intuition of experts will help us move forward with rapidity and correctness of action.

What are the future expansion plans for Capital Float?

We are looking at expanding our customer base to 20,000 and servicing them in over 100 cities. We are constantly working towards improving the borrower experience while retaining the status of being the leading marketplace lending platform in the country.

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