SarvaGram Solutions, an India-based rural household-focused lending and distribution platform, has on Tuesday announced the close of its Series C round at $35 million.

Investors in this round include Elevar Equity, Elevation Capital, Temasek and TVS Capital Funds, with Elevar Equity being the largest investor in the company, SarvaGram said in a statement.

SarvaGram closed its Series B round at $10 million in February 2021, which was led by Elevation Capital and Elevar Equity.

With this funding round, SarvaGram plans to expand its distribution network by adding 75 more outlets (to reach 125) by the end of FY 2024.

It also plans to expand its on-ground franchisees – known as ‘SarvaMitra’ – to 3 times of the current strength across different states in India.

The funds would also be deployed towards strengthening the technology layer – both in terms of hiring tech talent and solidifying SarvaGram’s existing tech stack – to support and enhance business operations.

Additionally, the company plans to advance its data analytics capabilities with the aim of enhancing customer experience and offerings, along with widening the customer funnel.

“The fundraise will boost our mission of putting more power in the hands of rural households by enhancing our technology platform, strengthening the data analytics layer apart from growing our distribution and adding on-ground human capacity,” said Utpal Isser, Co-Founder, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of SarvaGram.

“Sameer (Co-Founder) and I are extremely privileged and excited to on-board our new investors Temasek and TVS Capital Funds to SarvaGram and very thankful to Elevar Equity and Elevation Capital for their continued belief in us, our platform, and in the strength of India’s growing rural economy,”

“Having successfully executed our household-centric hypothesis across tens of thousands of rural households, we now understand our customers much better,” he added.

Founded by banking industry veterans Utpal Isser and Sameer Mishra in 2019, SarvaGram facilitates access to productivity enhancement tools such as loans, farm mechanisation services and risk mitigants, in a fair and transparent manner.

It empowers rural India’s aspirations through a carefully devised data-driven distribution platform.

SarvaGram provides a range of customised financial and capacity-enhancing products to unlock the potential of an increasingly aspirational rural India – a target market of over 80 million households.

It takes a 360-degree view of rural households as cohesive economic units and applies data-driven intelligence to assess their overall potential – including an in-depth understanding of their ground reality, balance sheets and multiple income streams.

This allows a high degree of de-risking as well as customization, thus serving the needs of the households as opposed to being restricted to a product selling paradigm.

SarvaGram’s unique high-touch, high-tech distribution platform leverages technology and data science along with a highly nimble on-ground presence.

Headquartered in Mumbai, SarvaGram currently operates out of 8 hubs, 50+ outlets across 4 states, and has 250+ franchise partners covering 8000+ villages.

“Having partnered with several founders from scratch to help build scale in delivering essential services, we are most excited about the fact that SarvaGram is at the cusp of two critical trends,” said Jyotsna Krishnan, Managing Partner, Elevar Equity.

“First, the inflection point in rural markets as demonstrated by growing economic activity and aspirations seen across rural households and second, leveraging the entry point of financial services for a truly data led broader distribution strategy,

“This round provides aligned growth capital to help the company execute to their scale ambitions after successfully demonstrating robust financial margins in the business model,” he added.

Meanwhile, Elevation Capital Partner Mridul Arora said the firm is delighted to double down on its partnership with Utpal, Sameer and the SarvaGram team as they pioneer a household-focused approach to rural lending and distribution.

According to him, their lending offering is unique and creates the foundation to offer a range of solutions – unlike the urban salaried individual with a payslip, assessing income for a rural borrower is tricky – given multiple income streams, variability in agricultural earnings, and limited paper trails.

“While collateral may be available, the documentation is non-standardized. Consequently, the 150 million household-strong rural market is underserved by banks and large NBFCs – a clear whitespace addressed by SarvaGram,

“We are impressed by the team’s strong execution in a tough environment, scaling to INR 275 Cr asset under management, while maintaining tight credit quality and approaching profitability,” he added.

TVS Capital Funds Anuradha Ramachandran also said the firm is glad to partner with Utpal and Sameer, who come with years of experience in building strong rural lending books in large institutions.

“We are growth investors with deep experience in the financial services sector. We found the strong experience of the founders, the focus of SarvaGram on the underserved rural middle class households and the increasing availability of data which makes for better underwriting, a differentiated story,

“Their flexible approach of providing multiple products to their customers will benefit over 80 million rural households,” he added.

Indian agri-consumer tech startup Eggoz raises $8.8M led by IvyCap Ventures