Smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc has led a US$13.4 million extended series A round in Indian digital lending platform ZestMoney.
The follow-on round witnessed the participation of existing investors including PayU, Ribbit Capital and Omidyar Network, according to a local media report.
Founded in 2015, Bengaluru-based ZestMoney enables instant account opening and real-time credit approval, digital loan servicing and repayments. It has partnered with e-commerce companies such as Amazon, Flipkart, UpGrad and Zefo to enable financing at the checkout and equated monthly installment (EMI).
Lizzie Chapman, co-founder of ZestMoney told media that the firm is focusing on artificial intelligence and facial and voice recognition technologies to reach users in lower-tier cities in order to tap people less comfortable with English and less exposed to the Internet services.
Xiaomi has already worked closely with ZestMoney. Last year, the start-up helped Xiaomi to develop its Mi Finance service for its customers in India. Customers can buy smartphones with ZestMoney’s card-less EMI option.
Last November, Xiaomi had said it will invest as much as US$1 billion in 100 Indian start-ups with Shunwei Capital, a venture capital firm founded by Xiaomi’s founder Lei Jun, in next five years. The duo will focus on the fields of content, financial technology, hyper-local services including mobile phone repairs and manufacturing, in the country to create an ecosystem of apps for its products.