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Bengaluru-based Avanti Finance, a technology led NBFC focused on financial inclusion, has raised $26 million (Rs 195 crore) in debt and equity from Oikocredit, Nomura and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Technopreneur cum philanthropist Pratul Shroff & existing investor NRJN Trust also participated in the round, Avanti Finance said in a release.

The company will use the funds to strengthen its platform and expand its presence to accelerate livelihoods purpose credit and other financial products to the next 100 million unserved and underserved households in India.

Avanti has built a digital platform that facilitates a paperless, presence-less, and cashless approach to lending that will reduce costs and friction for unserved and underserved segments, especially in rural India.

Avanti partners with a diverse set of organisations with strong roots in local communities to offer loan products that are hyperlocal and focused on livelihood sustainability.

It has built a strong proof of concept in 15 states covering 110 districts and further expanding its footprint.  

Avanti uses its own balance sheet and will also establish partnerships for livelihoods-focused lending with other capital providers who share the mission of enabling financial inclusion for the most needy.

Currently, more than 75% of Avanti borrowers are women. Avanti is building a scalable partner ecosystem that includes social enterprises, financial institutions, business correspondents, and agri-tech innovators across the country.

Avanti CEO Rahul Gupta said, “We are excited and humbled to have this consortium of marquee investors partner with Avanti in our goal of building a population scale platform to usher in the next era of financial inclusion.”

Oikocredit Equity Officer Anirudh Sarda said, “We anticipate technology to play a transformational role in the way financial services are accessed, especially by the low-income segments.”

“Fintech incumbents have predominantly targeted the urban population. We believe technology will play a major role in enabling credit access to the rural and unbanked population,” said Nomura Head of Global Markets Sales, Asia ex-Japan Samir Bhandari.

Unitus Capital acted as exclusive financial transaction advisor to Avanti and Abhiraj Krishna Associates acted as the legal advisors to Avanti.

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