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2015-03-26

CRM solution firm Artoo raises Rs 3.1 crore from Accion Venture, Artha Initiative

Artoo relies on the power of mobile, cloud, and alternative data to bring banking and financial services to the poor.

Bangalore based CRM solution provider Artoo has raised $500,000 (Rs 3.1 crore) in Series A funding from Accion Venture Labs and Switzerland-based Rianta Capital Zurich's Artha Initiative. The two firms join Villgro Innovations Foundation, a prominent local impact investor, which led the seed round last year.

Artoo relies on the power of mobile, cloud, and alternative data to bring banking and financial services to the poor. Artoo's customer relationship management solution offers a complete suite of modules, such as lead management, loan origination and credit underwriting.

Working with clients in microfinance and micro, small, and medium enterprise lending, Artoo currently disburses $3 million in loans, a figure that is increasing by 20 per cent each month. Artoo's work has resulted in a 400 percent improvement in productivity, a 40 percent drop in customer acquisition cost, and a 40 percent reduction in loan turn-around time, representing a 3-8 month return on investment.

"One of hardest things about selling enterprise software to a 'first time' technology user is to ensure that they adopt it. At Artoo, we constantly strive to listen and learn from our users and use these insights in our product design. Today, we have more than 1,000 users, most of whom have never used a smartphone or have had limited exposure to the internet." said Kavita Nehemiah, Co-Founder & COO of Artoo.

While traditional lending in this sector uses generic underwriting methods, Artoo has claimed that it has developed unique tools such as occupation-specific templates to capture the nuances of volatile cash flows and assess borrower creditworthiness and a scenario analysis tool to predict customer behavior in turbulent times. Artoo's paperless solution also uses biometrics to address borrower authentication and provides rich data insights to help banks improve loan performance and reach new categories of borrowers.

"We want to improve quality of lives of poor by improving access to financial services. Our solution is unlocking a huge opportunity for lending institutions, allowing them to improve customer experience, to scale deeper by offering tailored financial products and to lend to a segment with undocumented, volatile income while reducing risk. We are excited to have Accion onboard. Their network and understanding of new age financial services will be extremely valuable as we look to expand internationally, build more data centric tools and create personalized financial products, in a space which is providing limited or no options." said Sameer Segal, Founder & CEO of Artoo.

Since its launch in May 2010, Artoo has served more than seven million end-users. The startup is capitalizing on the dropping costs of tablets and smartphones, as well as the concurrent expansion of global Internet access.

"There are roughly 2.5 billion people without access to formal financial services, many of whom live in extremely remote geographies," said Michael Schlein, CEO and President of Accion. "Innovative financial technology startups like Artoo help lending institutions overcome once-insurmountable distances by providing field staff with the reliable and intuitive tools they need to help reach new clients anywhere.  This is essential if we are to achieve the goal that everyone should have the financial tools they need to help secure their economic futures, regardless of where they live or work."

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