Indian fintech unicorn Slice has secured rare approval to merge with North East Small Finance Bank (NESFB), a significant feat that has eluded many tech giants and financial startups. The merger will enable both entities to better serve consumers who lack access to basic banking services and supercharge their product offerings. Slice has been working with NESFB for 12 months, allowing them to establish a shared vision and positive relationship. This merger marks a revolutionary moment in India’s fintech journey and heralds a digital first banking revolution.
Slice secures rare approval to merge with bank
Slice, which was valued at $1.5 billion in its previous funding round, has received approval from the central bank to merge with NESFB. Merging with a bank is an uncommon feat for tech giants and financial startups, making this approval a significant achievement. The Reserve Bank of India clarified guidelines last year that impacted many startups, including Slice, making it more challenging for firms to issue cards. This rare approval indicates the trust and confidence placed in Slice by the central bank.
Merge enables better service for consumers lacking access to banking services
The merger between Slice and NESFB will enable the combined entity to reach more consumers who currently lack access to basic banking services. This is crucial as Slice previously offered credit card-like cards and issued over 400,000 cards per month, surpassing any other fintech or bank. The merger also allows for a wider audience and deep emotional connection with customers. By joining forces, the merged entity can better serve the underserved and address the banking needs of a larger population.
Merger to supercharge product offerings and accelerate product iterations
The merger between Slice and NESFB will not only enhance their product offerings but also accelerate product iterations. The new entity will have the opportunity to expand and innovate its products, meeting the growing demands of customers. Industry executives anticipate increased innovation and growth as a result of this merger. The combined expertise and resources of Slice and NESFB will drive the development of new and improved financial products and services.
Slice has been working with North East Small Finance Bank for 12 months
Prior to the merger, Slice has been collaborating with NESFB for 12 months. This extended timeframe allowed board members, investors, and management to get acquainted with each other and develop a shared vision. The positive working relationship and partnership formed during this period laid the foundation for a successful merger. The collaborative efforts and alignment of goals between Slice and NESFB have contributed to the seamless integration of the two entities.
Slice valued at $1.5 billion in previous funding round
Slice, backed by prominent investors such as Tiger Global, Insight Partners, Blume Ventures, and EMVC, was valued at $1.5 billion in its previous funding round. The confidence and support from these investors demonstrate the potential and value of Slice as a fintech unicorn. The successful valuation of Slice in the market further solidifies its position as a leading player in the fintech industry.
Investors in talks to invest $125 million in merged entity
At least two investors are currently in talks to invest a total of $125 million in the merged entity. This level of investment shows the market’s confidence in the merged entity and its potential for growth. These funds will be crucial in supporting the growth and expansion of the new entity. With the backing of these investors, the merged entity will have the necessary resources to further innovate, develop new products, and reach a larger customer base.
The union of Slice and NESFB heralds a digital first banking revolution
The merger between Slice and NESFB is a defining moment in India’s fintech journey. It introduces a digital first banking revolution that will have a revolutionary impact on India’s 600 million smartphone population. The combined strengths of Slice’s innovative technology and NESFB’s dedication to serving the underserved will pave the way for inclusive and accessible banking services. This union represents the potential for positive change and transformation in the Indian financial landscape.
NESFB is a subsidiary of RGVN (NE) Microfinance
NESFB, a subsidiary of RGVN (NE) Microfinance, is headquartered in Guwahati, India. It primarily serves customers in the north eastern region of the country. Supported by investors such as Pi Ventures, Bajaj Group, and government-backed SIDBI Venture Capital, NESFB has established itself as a player committed to supporting the underserved. The collaboration with Slice will further enhance NESFB’s reach and services, reinforcing its mission to provide inclusive and responsible banking.
Banks and fintech startups forging tie-ups in India’s banking phase
India is currently undergoing a pivotal banking phase, with banks and fintech startups forging various tie-ups. Federal Bank and SBM Bank India have increasingly engaged with startups to boost their businesses, and larger banks like HDFC, ICICI, and Axis are embracing the idea as well. This trend reflects the changing landscape of the Indian banking sector, with traditional banks recognizing the value and innovation that fintech startups bring. The merger between Slice and NESFB is another example of the collaboration between banks and fintech startups to drive innovation and improve financial services.
Obtaining a banking license remains rare in the South Asian market
Obtaining a banking license in the South Asian market, particularly in India, remains rare. The central bank has heightened its oversight, making it more challenging for applicants to secure banking licenses. This applies not only to universal banks but also to minor licenses such as those for non-banking financial companies (NBFCs). There are concerns about the growing presence of tech giants in the financial services sector, prompting regulators to exercise caution. Slice has managed to hold an NBFC license for about five years, demonstrating its credibility and compliance with regulatory requirements.
In conclusion, the merger between Slice and NESFB is a remarkable achievement that opens new opportunities for both entities to better serve consumers and drive innovation in the fintech industry. This partnership represents a defining moment in India’s financial landscape, heralding a digital first banking revolution. With the support of investors and a shared vision, the merged entity is poised for growth and success in providing inclusive and accessible financial services. The collaboration between banks and fintech startups sets the stage for continued innovation and development in India’s banking sector. Although obtaining a banking license remains rare, the merger between Slice and NESFB shows that with the right partnerships, opportunities for growth and transformation are possible.