Kunal Shah (ex-Freecharge) raises $30mn for new startup CRED; Nobody knows what the startup does yet!


Kunal Shah is back in the news!

Kunal Shah, famous as the man who founded and sold the online recharge & e-Wallet firm ‘FreeCharge’ for $450 million to SnapDeal in 2015, is back in the news. Ever since he announced his new venture ‘CRED’ on Twitter, the tech-journalism space has been lit abuzz, with Kunal facing and answering queries from the likes of Inc42 and YourStory, none of whom have received exact answers about what the new startup will do, exactly.

Speculations arise about CRED being in the fin-tech space

The last few months have witnessed the rise of many new players in the fin-tech sector, with the investment community betting big on the sector. What leads most people to believe that Kunal’s new startup ‘CRED’ too will operate in this space, is that:

a) He has raised his seed investment of $30 million from Sequoia Capital, Ru-net and Ribbit Capital – all of whom are VC firms with a keen interest in the fin-tech space. Out of the three, Ribbit is almost exclusively dedicated to the fin-tech cause!

b) His Twitter post describes CRED as ‘a platform to celebrate and reward the most creditworthy people in India’.

Focusing on the latter, and dissecting Kunal’s choice of words, allows us to assume that CRED will probably deploy an alternate credit-scoring mechanism for Indian salaried professionals, self-employed professionals, and entrepreneurs alike. Today, almost every traditional lender (read:banks) in the Indian market operates by evaluating an outdated credit-scoring mechanism called CIBIL. A new breed of fin-tech startups have already attempted to rectify the situation. Startups such as PaySense and CASHe have been able to demonstrate strong credit scoring mechanisms in the past, which can bypass some of the roadblocks that CIBIL presents. This logic, however, is purely speculative until the time Kunal and the CRED team decide to drop the veil and come out of stealth mode.

We can expect a beta version of CRED to go live in a few weeks, which will hopefully lay the speculations to rest.


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