A ringside view of the banking and finance industry has helped Manavjit Singh build Rubique into a company that is more than just another aggregation business.
After spending close to 25 years with banking and finance companies, Manavjit Singh, 49, decided to set up his own business.
In October 2014, he founded Rubique, an online marketplace for financial products, along with his friend Sandeep Nambiar, 35, an experienced banking professional. Rubique caters to the borrowing needs of individuals, micro, small and medium enterprises.
Having worked with some of the biggest financial institutions in the countryCiti, HDFC Bank, Reliance Capital and Yes Bankthe choice of a business operating in the banking and finance space was an obvious one for Singh.
“I had seen the consumer and lender interaction from very close quarters, from different vantage points, and realised that there was a huge gap between the requirement of banks and the needs of the customer. Same with lenders’ challenges and customers’ pain,” he says.
Rubique is an expression of Singh’s insights. A ringside view of the banking and finance industry has helped him build Rubique into a company that is more than just another aggregation business.
“We have introduced a tech-led lending solution which is unique in terms of its matchmaking algorithm (matches loan seekers with suitable lenders) and direct integration with the lending systems of financial institutions,” he says. The business model is focused on loan disbursement rather than securing customers for banks or lead generation.
“Our technology allows customers to get the best deal in the quickest possible time while lowering the cost for customer acquisition for the financial institution,” says Singh, Founder and CEO. In less than two years, the startup has helped individuals and enterprises borrow Rs 200 crore from financial institutions on its platform. It has also been instrumental in issuance of 5,000 credit cards.
Based out of Mumbai, Rubique also operates in Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Hyderabad.
Founded with an initial investment of Rs 10 crore from the founders, the startup received a funding of Rs 20 crore in September 2015, in a round led by venture capital firm Kalaari Capital with participation from YourNest Angel Fund, Globvestor and Dexter Angel Circle. While the founders’ investment helped set up operations in six cities, VC funding, says Singh, will help Rubique scale up operations.
“It’ll help bring in the right talent from the industry for functions like technology, business and marketing and also assist in acquiring technology expertise,” says Singh. The startup is particularly focused on investing in better technology.
The startup, whose 2015-16 revenue (as of February), stands at Rs 3 crore, is seeing a 50% year-on-year growth.
At the time of starting Rubique, the founders’ biggest challenge was to get financial institutions onboard their platform. Their long corporate stints came in handy. Today, Rubique’s partner list of 54 financial institutions includes major players such as HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Citibank, IndusInd, Indiabulls, Tata Capital and Aditya Birla Finance.
“During the initial months, we focused on getting as many financial institutions on board as possible. Our value proposition helped convince leading institutions to partner with us,” says Singh.
The founders, who aim to make Rubique the leading online marketplace for loans, say running the business has been a very different experience compared with working for a business. “The journey in a startup begins from unlearning many things from one’s past corporate culture and widening the horizons to learn more,” says Singh. The founders continue to unlearn the past and learn newer ways of building their business.