SME Times News Bureau | 21 Dec, 2021
In an exclusive interview with
SME Times, Nitin Sharma, Chief Product Officer & MD – SME Business,
CredAble said that credit and cash flow management remains the biggest
roadblock for growth of SMEs and UpScale will help to bridge this gap.
Excerpts of the interview…
Please tell us about CredAble and
its entrepreneurial journey.
Nitin Sharma: CredAble was founded in 2017 with
a mission to solve working capital challenges for India Inc. using
technology-enabled solutions. We have stayed true to our core beliefs and have
been reimagining working capital financing for over 100,000 companies ranging
from large, mid, emerging corporates, MSMEs to renowned financial institutions.
In the last four years alone, we
have enabled more than $2 billion annually in working capital for enterprise
ecosystems and SMEs in the country.
We treat our clients as partners
and are invested in helping them drive exponential growth and pursue strategic
investments. Our platform offers value-added financing solutions and hosts over
50 corporate customers, and 25 large financial institutions and banks.
Today, CredAble is India’s
largest platform for enabling working capital and we’re at the forefront of
shaping the future of working capital management.
What was the idea behind launching UpScale?
Nitin Sharma: In our journey of transforming
the working capital landscape in the country, we’ve helped fuel growth for
businesses both big and small. In our interactions with them, we realized that
working capital financing remains a challenge for most businesses, especially
SMEs. The absence of an efficient cash flow management system is the primary
reason why small businesses end up in a cash crunch. We’ve seen how increased
liabilities or even expenses arising from downright emergencies could end up
slowing down business growth at critical points.
These problems require
best-in-class technologies that solve both credit and cash flow problems
Building a more supportive
overall environment for SMEs is critical to ensure supply chain resilience,
business continuity and the recovery of the economy as a whole.
This is why we built UpScale — we
work with a robust tech stack to roll out scalable products and growth tools
designed to cater to the diverse needs of today’s SMEs.How will SMEs benefit?
Nitin Sharma: UpScale’s all-inclusive solution
is built to bridge the gap between finance and opportunity.
We understand that for SMEs
today, credit and cash flow management remains the biggest roadblock for their
growth. In recent years, we’ve seen many FinTechs come up with solutions
catering to the banking, payments and other financial services needs of businesses.
Having said that, credit has always been left out from their solution suite.
We wanted to do something about
it - using our vast experience and expertise in this field, we’ve built an
integrated platform that helps businesses tackle credit and cash flow
UpScale gives businesses a 360°
view of their financial health and operations and helps them make more informed
and smarter financial decisions.
By syncing in accounting and
transaction details through an accounting software like Tally and enabling
businesses to connect multiple bank accounts in one place — UpScale provides a
detailed yet intuitive look at the overall financial position of a business.
With an all-in-one platform,
businesses can manage banking, accounting, and payments on a single dashboard
and get instant access to collateral-free working capital. UpScale removes the
hassles of switching between platforms to manage finances.
By automating credit and
cash-flow management, we’re saving time for business owners and helping them
focus on what’s more important - growing their business.
From early payment programs to
receivables funding, just-in-time financing, and smart reconciliation
capabilities, we’re simplifying financial management for SMEs like never before!What is your view on Indian SMEs adopting products like this?
Nitin Sharma: Today, SMEs in the country are
plagued by financial constraints due to a broken cash flow and credit
management system. They are dealing with a manual, cumbersome not to mention
time-consuming reconciliation process.
SMEs are also currently battling
a liquidity crunch due to the staggering effects of the pandemic. This is
further curbing their growth and limiting them to low revenue streams.
All this is to say that it has
become imperative for SMEs to fast-track digital transformation. In times like
these, technological interventions are paramount in helping SMEs successfully
manage their cash flows. You need to plan in advance to prevent cash crunches
from occurring and the only way that’s made possible is with the adoption of
SMEs are now realizing that
adopting the right technology and tools is crucial for the future of their
businesses. Owing to the pandemic, most offline and traditional businesses have
already reaped the benefits of investing in digital solutions. They have
identified that manual systems are one of the biggest inhibitors for business
Innovative digital tools, like
UpScale’s AI-powered technological solution, will not only give SMEs greater visibility
and control over their cash flow but also help them make informed financial
decisions about the business.
With capabilities to serve even
traditional businesses who may be primarily functioning offline, we have plans
of penetrating into the local markets so that smaller businesses can leverage
this platform and take their business to the next level.How can there be more credit accessibility and financial
inclusion for SMEs in India?
Nitin Sharma: There have been many attempts to
mobilize credit and fund the SME sector in India — most of which have failed to
address the biggest pain point that SMEs face. Talking to business owners
across industries, we’ve realized that there is a dire need for a centralised
cash flow management system that equips them with the knowledge of ‘when and
how’ they could access the credit that they need.
While MSMEs contribute to nearly
30% of the GDP, they are largely starved in terms of credit — with only 16% of
MSMEs having access to formal credit.
One thing is for certain — there
is a rising need to create inclusive growth for these small businesses. With
depleting cash reserves, MSMEs need to fast-track digital transformation to
make informed financial decisions about the business.
New-age companies are now
simplifying access to working capital and supply chain financing. FinTechs on
their part, are building proprietary lending solutions that are tailored to
meet the growing needs of businesses in India.
Over the last few years, we have
been focused on enabling growth and financial inclusion for SMEs and MSMEs in
India. In September 2021, we disbursed Rs 3,500 crore to more than 100,000
small businesses and we’re gearing up for higher disbursements in the coming
Innovative digital solutions like
UpScale will not only help SMEs gain greater visibility and control over their
finances but they will also get instant access to collateral-free business
loans in minutes.
What do you think about the monetary policy review of RBI
Nitin Sharma: While RBI’s Monetary Policy
Committee (MPC) is closely assessing the current economic scenario, the key
interest rates i.e., the repo rate and reverse repo rate are likely to remain
unchanged for now, at 4% and 3.35% respectively.
That said, in a bid to tackle the
surplus liquidity in the system — in FY22, the MPC is expected to change its
accommodative stance and introduce a phase-wise increase in the interest rates.
Doing so can have adverse effects
on the country’s GDP. With higher interest rates and tighter lending standards
in play, MSMEs will cut back on making strategic investments, which will end up
slowing down productivity and economic growth. With lesser disposable income,
consumers will also look to save rather than spend. With all this, the GDP is
bound to take a hit. The way we see it, for the betterment of the MSME sector
and the economy as a whole, introducing a sectoral policy rather than a general
policy is the need of the hour.Please share your future plans for CredAble and UpScale and
any other information you would want to add.
Nitin Sharma: At CredAble, we are driven to
deliver maximum efficiency and provide a unified experience across the board.
By catering to the unique needs of every stakeholder that is involved in the
process, we’re solving the working capital problems in the country, one
business at a time.
We’re looking to tap into the
massive potential of making financial management that actually works for 63
Million MSMEs in the country with our integrated credit and cash flow management
Our plan for the future is to
become the go-to app of credit and cash flow management for businesses in
India. While we’re gaining ground and are working towards establishing a strong
foothold in the market, we’re also building our existing product suite with
additional offerings to cater to the rising needs of businesses across various
We aim to help SMEs manage
finances better and scale faster. In our efforts to offer a more holistic
solution for businesses, we will be integrating other scalable FinTech products
into our solutions suite.