Indian fintech Jar, which closed a $32 million funding round in February this year, is in talks to attract new funding as it looks to scale its product and expand its offering.
The Bengaluru-headquartered startup is in talks with several investors to raise about $50 million at a valuation of $350 million, according to four people familiar with the matter. Jar co-founder Misbah Ashraf was asked for comment on Wednesday, saying it was too early to comment.
Tiger Global, an existing financier of Jar, is positioning itself to lead the Series B funding of the year-old startup, the sources said, asking for anonymity as the details are private. Folius Ventures and Paramark are also in the process of investing in the new round, the people said.
Jar, who runs an app of the same name, helps millions of Indians start their investment and savings journeys. The startup has amassed more than 7.5 million registered users, it announced to investors last month.
Nearly a billion Indians have bank accounts today, but they have never made any investment. Part of the reason is confusion, Nishchay Ag, Jar co-founder and chief executive, explained in an earlier interview with gotechbusiness.com. “Their world is littered with advertisements of various financial instruments,” he told gotechbusiness.com in an earlier interview.
For decades, banks and mutual funds have been trying to tap into Indian masses with their products. Despite the hundreds of millions of dollars they have invested in capturing the market, they have been able to try fewer than 30 million individuals.
“Making a product is one thing, being able to sell it is another. All these settings are well in production. To sell, you need to be attuned to the persona, idiosyncrasies, insecurities, cognitive load, and cultural significance of the individual. That is an art and science in itself,” he said at the time.
Jar addresses this by choosing a financial instrument familiar to most Indians: gold. For more than a century, Indians have kept gold in their homes, viewing the yellow metal as both a good investment and a status symbol, he said.
Until to say Indians have a fascination with gold is an understatement; they have a private stash worth $1.5 trillion of the precious metal. For generations, Indians across the socio-economic spectrum have preferred to hide their savings – or at least some of them – in the form of gold. In fact, the demand for gold in India is so great – Indians deposit more gold than citizens in any other country – that the South Asian nation is also one of the world’s largest importers of this precious metal.
Jar fetches a small amount each time a user makes a transaction. It rounds up a person’s daily expenses and puts some money aside as an investment. Users’ investments in digital gold are backed by physical gold of the same amount and they can choose to withdraw as much gold or liquidate their investments at any time.