The world has become smaller nowadays and people are traversing the globe for their education and career. When people set their foot in a new country, they find it extremely difficult to get a handle on that country’s financial products, and they are always on the higher credit risk category. What if the financial systems of all the countries are connected, and there is a way to access global financial products on a single platform?
Zolve, an Indian startup, aims to create a financial world beyond borders that provides equitable access to global financial products on a single, new-age platform.
They offer local access to credit and insurance at affordable rates to those who traverse the globe. Their cross-border capabilities enable individuals to save money and invest it further, helping them be financially free to pursue their ambition.
The story of Zolve is interesting. Six years ago, co-founders Raghunandan G and Aprameya Radhakrishna were building TaxiForSure and then Ola came in and bought out their startup. After exiting, Raghunandan started backing several startups as an investor, and visited startup hubs in China, Israel and the U.S. While in New York, he saw some of his friends pay their dinner bill with a debit card rather than a credit card. This sparked in him the idea of creating a cross-border neo bank catering to the global citizen. Zolve was launched in December 2020.
Raghunandan worked out the solution to this problem by acquiring highly creditworthy customers in their home countries and partner with banks in their destination nations to offer them financial services at rates comparable to what the locals there would get. This is a win-win – creditworthy immigrants get easier access to money and the banks acquire new paying customers. Zolve and the banks share revenue from transactions made by the people who use the neobank.
Zolve is starting with the India-US migrant corridor and is expecting to build a platform for multiple services, across multiple markets, including helping people make cross-border stock market investments and maybe even purchase bitcoins. All this adds up to a potential $85 billion market, serving the global citizen, Zolve estimates.
Zolve recently raised $15 million in seed funding, led by Accel and Lightspeed Venture Partners. This seed round also saw participation from Blume Ventures and notable angel investors including Dr. Ashish Gupta (ex-Helion MD), Greg Kidd (angel investor in Twitter & Ripple), Kunal Shah (founder of Cred), Rahul Mehta (Managing partner at DST Global) and Rahul Kishore (Senior Managing Director, Coatue Capital). It is also the first investment of Founder Collective (investor in Airtable and Uber) in an Indian startup.
The funds will be utilized to build the core technology platform, the team, and marketing efforts.
The global ‘neo and challenger bank’ market was approximately $18.6 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow to around $394.6 billion by 2026, at a compounded annual growth rate of around 46.5 percent between 2019 and 2026, according to a May 2019 report by US-based Zion Market Research.