Housing finance provider Sewa Grih Rin Ltd has raised $ 20 million, led by Norway-based Nordic Microfinance Initiative (NMI) and Women’s World Bank Asset Management. Existing investors are Holdings, Oikocredit and Omidyar Network Fund also participated in the round.
The company plans to utilize the money to grow its loan book, work towards digitizing its offerings and expand operations in Odisha, Jharkhand and other states. Currently, the startup operates through a network of 36 branches in eight states, including Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana.
Founded in 2015 by Shruti Gonsalves, Sewa Grih Rin – branded as Sitara – provides loans in the range of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 30 lakh for house construction, extension, purchase, and renovation exclusively for low-income households, especially to women in urban and rural areas.
“We aim to help around 7,000 families additionally in the current financial year by disbursing around $ 63 million and consequently achieving a book size of $ 97 million in FY23,” Golsalves said. The equity funding is expected to help the startup hire more talent at the supervisory and senior management levels, Gonsalves told ET.
Sewa Grih Rin has assets under management (AUM) of $ 46 million, with around 15,000 customers. “We are presently at around Rs 300 crore of AUM and we plan to reach around Rs 700- Rs 800 crore AUM by the end of March 2023,” Gonsalves added.
The startup’s business model combines lending with social impact – catering to an informal housing tenure or incomplete property documentation – where it assists potential customers in making the property title legally executable.
“We aim to be an active and value-adding investor and are looking forward to joining like-minded investors on the Sitara Board. We are impressed with what we have seen from the company so far and optimistic for its future, ”said Arthur Sletteberg, managing director of NMI.