INTERVIEW | This one-year-old startup raised $82 million led by Tiger Global to offer employees advance on their salaries

  • Refyne allows working professionals to get on-demand salaries within 60 seconds.
  • The company is backed by DST Global, RTP Global, QED Investors and now Tiger Global.
  • It has partnered with 150 organisations, catering to over 700,000 employees.

One-year-old fintech startup Refyne, which allows working professionals to get a portion of their earned salaries in advance within 60 seconds, has raised $82 million in a round led by private equity firm Tiger Global.

The company’s existing investors DST Global, QED Investors, Jigsaw VC, XYZ Capital and RTP Global also participated in the round, The company has not disclosed its valuation.

However, Refyne’s founder and chief executive (CEO) Chitresh Sharma told Business Insider that its valuation has increased nearly 6.5 times since its last round raised in June 2021. With this, the company has raised $106 million since its inception in December last year.

The Bengaluru-based startup was founded by Sharma and Apoorv Kumar as a way to offer a quick earned wage access (EWA) platform to working professionals. The concept has seen keen interest in the western market with players like PayActiv, Wagestream, Clair, CloudPay NOW and Square Payroll.

Refyne claims to be the first Indian startup to enter the EWA domain. It has partnered with 150 organisations, catering to over 700,000 employees. Its clientele include Practo, TeamLease, CARS24, Tenon, Shadowfax, Rebel Foods, Acko, BlackBuck, Arti Group, Cafe Coffee Day, among several others.

In a conversation with Business Insider, CEO Sharma highlighted that organisations would have to shell out a lot of capital, manpower and efforts in order to integrate earned wage access mechanisms to its employees. Therefore, integrating with a third party platform like themselves would make much more sense.

“We save a company close to 150 man hours every month when they deploy a plug in. And it is commercially free for platforms [companies],” Sharma added.

Refyne currently charges a small transactional fee, starting from ₹6 on each of these transactions. The company has emphasised earned wage access is not a loan, therefore the company does not charge any interest or hidden processing fee.

“If my salary was 30,000 and I work for 10 days, I can see my salary for those 10 days and I can access a certain percentage of that salary in 60 seconds. No paperwork, no bureaucracy… I have money in hand,” CEO Sharma said, explaining Refyne’s business model.

A report by Ernst and Young (EY), in partnership with Refyne, had noted that 81% employees in India are facing liquidity crunch between pay cycles.

The company aims to cater to the needs of 3 million employees by the end of 2022 and believes that Tiger Global international network of companies could come in handy here. “We are already working with a lot of their [Tiger Global’s] portfolios by default. For their exposure to their portfolios, where we are not there. Yes, it will help a lot,” Sharma added.

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