A UAE-based FinTech with regional services, Datacultr raises $1M in its SEED round to delve further into the space of digital debt collection and risk management, leveraging data to provide borrowing opportunities for the unbanked
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UAE-based Digital Debt Collections and Risk Management start-up Datacultr has successfully raised $1Mn in its seed funding round led by London-based Sturgeon Capital, along with Seedstars International LLC, NP Consulting LLC & Startupbootcamp Fintech.
Launched by Neel Juriasingani and Sujoy Ghosh in 2020 in DIFC, Dubai, Datacultr is a global, credit recovery operating system for high-risk lending, that drives collection efficiencies, reduces delinquencies, and Non-Performing Loans. Datacultr allows lenders such as Banks, Non-Banking Financial Institutions, Micro-Financing Institutions, FinTechs, and telecom operators to give out unsecured loans, at a lower risk, to unbanked and under-served.
The FinTech sector across Emerging Venture Markets has been the investor industry of choice as recorded in our Startup Funding- 2022 Emerging Venture Markets Free Report. Aside from the exceptional 550% YoY growth in FinTech funding over 2021, driven by 5 FinTech Mega Deals in Africa, the rise in FinTech investment was indicative of critical financial trends. In markets like Egypt and Nigeria, for instance, the FinTech space thrived on finding alternative payment and financial solutions to serve the unbanked, with startups like alternative payments and salary roll-out platform Dopay and peer-to-peer payments platform Telda raising major rounds backed by prominent international investors like Sequoia Capital and Force Over Mass (UK). In Nigeria, the FinTech sector raised more than 70% of all investment in 2021 with the highest funding round closed by alternative payment provider OPay. In more mature markets like the UAE, the FinTech space has been providing more intricate and specialized payment solutions with startups like BNPL provider PostPay, peer-to-peer payment platform Ziina, and Cards-as-a-Service startup SimpliFi observing fundraising success and investor traction over the past year. This gave rise to the space, where UAE-based FinTech startups observed more than 100% YoY growth in VC funding over 2021 as recorded in our UAE 2022 Venture Investment Report.
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Datacultr has the vision to bring more people under the umbrella of financial inclusion; the platform drives credit decisizing and repayments, thus enabling banks and other lending companies to lend to this segment profitably. Commenting on the success of their journey so far, Datacultr Co-founder, Neel Juriasingani explains “Built on strong market insights by an agile team, we have developed a comprehensive and localized tech platform now live in 9 countries with over 600,000 loans secured on the platform to date.” He further added, “Datacultr is delivering outstanding results on key metrics like payment defaults, NPLs, and collection efficiency and the response from our customers has been overwhelming.”
Over the past 2 years, Datacultr has onboarded some of the largest lenders in South Asia as well as telecom operators in South East Asia & Africa, and recently they have signed up banks and FinTechs in new markets of Central Asia, South-East Asia, Egypt, and Mexico. “Datacultr is solving a key problem that affects the lives of millions of people in emerging markets that have no access to financial services due to lack of reliable data. It is very easy to lend money, however, it is much more challenging to get it back, especially from first-time borrowers. Through sophisticated techniques based on behavioral change principles, Datacultr educates these individuals and has a meaningful impact on their future by bringing them into the formal financial sector. We believe that Datacultr has a truly global, scalable product that can be implemented across emerging markets for the benefit of millions of people”, said Robin Butler, Investment Director at Sturgeon Capital.
Many regional and international investors have found great opportunities in FinTech solutions that cater to the underserved market segments of the unbanked. Through its risk equalizing efforts, Datacultr was able to crack a solid market offering creating impact for both the lenders and the borrowers. Elaborating on the UAE-based FinTech’s strong points Gregoire Baudin, founder of NP Consulting LLC highlighted, “Datacultr immediately caught our interest as we recognized the dual opportunity offered; first in enabling underbanked populations to get access to phones thus helping them to do business and secondly to tap other sides of the financial sector like Micro-loans.”
With the newly acquired funds Datacultr aims to expand its sales team and bolster its technology team, as well as launch a new solution meant specifically for the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) segment. Charlie Graham-Brown, Partner of Seedstars International concluded, “With its experienced team, Datacultr is not only opening up a $200bn market opportunity for financial institutions in emerging markets but is also enabling them to include those unbanked customers that have traditionally been excluded from mainstream financial services. As of Q4 2021, Datacultr achieved a 127% growth (QoQ) in the number of loans secured on its platform, amounting to over $76mn worth of active loans.”
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