This Odisha-Born Man Launched A Platform When He Was 19 That's Filling A $530 Bn Gap For India's Small Businesses

Pravas Chandragiri, a 19-year-old entrepreneur from Balasore, Odisha launched Soptle in 2021, targeting one of the most significant challenges in the Indian economy — access to credit for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). These businesses, critical to the nation's economic fabric, often find themselves bogged down by the traditional banking system’s limitations.

What to know: Chandragiri founded Soptle, a Gurugram-based B2B credit lender, to transform this landscape by offering nimble financing solutions specifically designed for small businesses. Within just two years, Soptle reported an impressive annualized Gross Loan Value (GLV) of $30 million, showcasing the efficacy of its model.

The startup offers a spectrum of financial products tailored to the unique needs of SMEs. Its term loans support long-term investments like equipment purchases, while invoice financing allows retailers to leverage unpaid invoices for immediate funding needs. Additionally, Soptle offers lines of credit, providing businesses with a flexible borrowing option where they only pay interest on the amount utilized.

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Serving as a backbone for Soptle's operations is an AI-driven credit engine that evaluates potential borrowers based on various data points like credit scores and banking history, enabling the issuance of collateral-free loans. This data-centric approach ensures that credit is accessible and tailored to each business’s capacity and needs.

As of now, Soptle serves a community of 17 enterprises and over 350 distributors, achieving a monthly disbursement of ₹32 crore. Looking ahead, the company anticipates increasing its total disbursement to ₹400 crore within the next six months. The firm’s innovative revenue model, drawing from differential interest rates, alongside strategic partnerships with banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), positions Soptle strongly for growth.

Despite fierce competition in the SME lending space, Soptle’s distinct blend of technology, accessibility, and customer-centric products sets it apart, promising to narrow the vast credit gap estimated at $530 billion by Avendus Capital. With ambitious plans and a clear vision, Chandragiri's Soptle is poised not just to compete but to lead in transforming how credit flows to India's small businesses.

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