[Turning Point] How SaaS startup Perfios went from personal finance management to credit underwriting analytics

Headquartered Bangalore perfios was founded in 2007 by former Aztecsoft executives, VR Govindarajan Y Debasish Chakroborty.

perfioswhich provides a software-as-a-solution (SaaS) service to financial institutions for credit underwriting, raised $68 million earlier this month from returning investors Bessemer Venture Partners and Warburg Pincus as part of its ongoing Series C round, based on the documents you submitted. with the Register of Companies (RoC).

On March 16 this year, Perfios said it acquired Mumbai-based Karza Technologies, a SaaS platform for financial institutions, for nearly $78 million.

The startup is a product company focused on real-time credit analytics and decisions today. However, when the company started in 2007, this was not the problem statement it started with.

The beginning

Perfios initially started out as a personal finance management firm.

In 2007, he started building a technology platform that had the ability to acquire any type of data and then do the analysis. His first product was also in the personal finance space.

“His goal was to help people manage all finances, whether through bank accounts, credit cards, loans, insurance, or capital markets. It had the ability to absorb this data in three ways and do the analysis,” said Govindarajan. Your history in an interaction.

In the case of businesses, this extended further into the likes of analysis of cash flow and capital gains statements, and automatic filing of income taxes.

“But we had a challenge to monetize it. There weren’t too many people willing to pay for it,” says Govindarajan.

That’s when the company decided to pivot and approach businesses directly rather than consumers.

“We flipped the model on its head, but we leveraged the same technology platform and instead of doing it as a B2C (business to consumer), we turned it into a B2B (business to business) model, doing the same thing for digital lending. systems,” he says.

Aware of the difficulties faced by different stakeholders, such as banks and borrowers, in the lending process, the founders of Perfios felt that the problem statement could be to make the lending process smooth and simple.

They did a proof of concept for 12 to 18 months, adding a layer of analytics specifically on top of the original product, after which they brought the product to market.

“But the technology platform remains the same. It acquires the data it aggregates from different data sources. The difference is that in the case of loans, the analysis you are doing is more than what an underwriter or credit manager would be looking for,” he adds.

While the personal finance management still exists and has 7,000 users, the underwriting and credit analysis platform is its core business.

Trip

“At first, it was an additional sale. It was a category creation and it wasn’t like this already existed,” says Govindarajan. “It took a lot of initial evangelization effort.”

“We couldn’t just go and say we have this platform that’s faster, cheaper and better than the one you were using. We had to explain to them why they should get this platform,” she adds.

However, many things turned out in favor of Perfios, such as the digital transformation initiatives of the government and companies, especially the fintech ecosystem.

“There were a lot of fintechs that received funding and their main USP was digital. They were looking for a partner that could help them differentiate themselves from a typical banker or NBFC,” he says.

For many of these startups, Perfios turned out to be this partner. “Most of the biggest fintechs in the market today used to work with us from day zero of their existence,” he adds.

By 2017, before raising its first round, Perfios had between 50 and 60 clients with the largest financial institutions in the country, including NBFCs, banks and fintech as its clients.

Perfios raised $6.1 million in 2017 Series A from Bessemer Venture Partners to fuel its expansion. In 2019, it closed another $50 million Series B led by an affiliate of private equity funds managed by Warburg Pincus and Bessemer Venture Partners.

Today, Perfios has more than 300 clientsof which around 250 are in India.

The company says it gets about 50 percent of its revenue from banks, 30 percent from NBFCs and 20 percent from fintechs.

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