Refyne has landed another round of funding just seven months after securing its previous funding as the Bengaluru-based startup scales up its platform that helps employees access their earned salaries in real time.
Tiger Global led Refyne’s $82 million Series B financing, the two said Wednesday. Existing backers QED Investors, partners from DST Global, RTP Global, Jigsaw VC and XYZ Capital also participated in the new round, which brings the total revenue of the year-and-a-half-old startup to $106 million.
Refyne has not disclosed how it was valued in the new round, but co-founder and chief executive Chitresh Sharma told BestFitnessBands in an interview that the valuation has risen 6.5 times since the Series A in June.
Refyne is building what is known in the industry as a wage-earning access platform, linking pay and work. The startup is working with employers to give their employees access to their earned salaries in real time. An employee of the partner company can log into Refyne and see how much they have earned in a week and for example withdraw a fraction of that whenever they want.
It is not uncommon for people to run out of money between their pay slips. At that point, they either take out a loan from friends and family, go to a bank, or approach loan sharks in an alarmingly high number of cases. Refyne serves customers who employ both white-collar and blue-collar workers, so a bank loan is unlikely for many of them.
The idea – which has been tested in several markets – appears to be showing signs of a market fit in India, the world’s second most populous nation. More than 150 companies — including Practo, TeamLease, Tenon, Shadowfax, Rebel Foods, Acko, BlackBuck, Arti Group and Cafe Coffee Day — are partnering with Refyne today to enable the service for their more than 700,000 employees, Sharma said.
Her clients today operate in a wide variety of categories, a factor that Sharma says requires Refyne to use different strategies to best serve each of them. “We have a team on the ground for the manufacturing industry that focuses on orientation and introduction. Seventy percent of our effort precedes implementation. For companies that are geographically dispersed, we also do a lot of Zoom orientation given the COVID times.”
In a statement, Alex Cook, a partner at Tiger Global, said: “We believe Refyne will be the partner of choice for major employers looking to offer access to earnings. We are delighted to support Chitresh, Apoorv and the Refyne team in their efforts. to improve the financial wellbeing of the Indian workforce.”
The platform, which supports 12 languages and is compatible with any human resource management system and enterprise resource planning service, has had a “significant impact on customer retention and helping employers hire faster.” said Sharma, adding that the startup was the first and largest player in the space. That has increased Refyne’s responsibility to raise market awareness about EWA and to clear up some misconceptions, he said.
“Some people confuse us with other forms of credit products such as payday lenders. So most of our efforts will be to make sure the category is known as we continue to expand our growth rates,” he said.
Sharma said the startup is constantly improving its service and building datasets to understand how people behave to better evaluate and project their creditworthiness. “Current credit scores look at people’s past behavior to determine their future.”
The startup aims to serve 3 million employees by the end of the year and is also taking on various positions.
“The support and confidence that global investors like Tiger Global have shown us is a testament to our mission,” he said.