Vayana Network receptive to PE funding to strengthen cross -border trade financing in Japan, S. Korea and Taiwan, CEO

Vayana Network, a Pune-based supply chain trade financing platform, will be receptive to raising funds from private equity investors preferably from Japan, Taiwan and South Korea as the firm looks to enter at least one of these markets in the next year, said founder & CEO R N Iyer.

It prefers PEs who have a strong pedigree in financial services and have an understanding of global supply finance chain, he said. The company has received multiple inbound approaches from undisclosed PEs and it is currently holding early- stage discussions with a few, he said.

He also indicated, without specifying the exact amount, that Vayana Network can consider to raise northward of USD 25m this financial year ending March 2021. It will not be mandating financial advisor at this stage, he further added.

According to a Mergermarket report in April 2019, the firm was considering conducting a Series B for an undisclosed amount in early 2020. Iyer declined to comment on these plans.

It raised USD 4m in Series A from Jungle Ventures and Chiratae Ventures in July 2017, according to Crunchbase data.

It aims to establish a local presence in at least one of the regions among Japan, South Korea and Taiwan and will be receptive to local legal advisory approaches from these regions to assist it with the market entry by this year-end, he said.

Legal firms can approach the company’s Global Head – Sales & Marketing, Vinod Parmar he said.

He mentioned that India-Japan, India-Taiwan and India-South Korea trade corridors are strong and will increasingly strengthen in future, opening up massive opportunity for supply chain finance for the company.

Vayana Network lends to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through its partnerships with around 17 NBFCs (Non Banking Financial Institutions) and banks, he said. It has disbursed loans of USD 2bn (INR 150bn) by March 2020. Vayana’s digital Network enables businesses and their trade partners to get easy access to financing.

The range of finance varies as per the sector, he said, giving an example that it disburses

as low as INR 100,000 in textiles and in segments such as steel it can disburse upto INR 1bn.

Customer acquisition is reference-based incurring ‘zero’ cost, he said, adding that the firm has extremely low cash burn model.

Presently, it conducts cross-border supply chain finance in USA and Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia in South East Asia, he said.

It started cross-border supply chain finance last year, he said adding that it will contribute to 25% of volumes this year compared to 10% last year. He noted that a lot of cross border supply chain financing will increasingly come into effect in areas of healthcare, pharma and chemicals in the next 12 months.

Vayana has offices in the US and Singapore, apart from India, he said.

Established in 2009, it has a team of 60 people. He did not disclose the stakeholding structure of the company.

He stated that despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic implications, the firm will hit net profitability during this financial year. The business has been impacted, although due to its extremely low cash burn model the firm will not be impacted severely, he said.

The company commenced various initiatives on the back of COVID-19 pandemic, he said elaborating that it is helping local grocery stores (kirana) to access to financing. It is also helping start-ups in pharma and healthcare get finance as well.

by Jasmine Desai in Mumbai, Merger Market