Women focussed networking and hiring platform Sheroes has raised funds from global fintech investors Coinbase Ventures and Atlantis in its Series A round to strengthen its Mahila Money app – their credits and payment business – CEO and founder Sairee Chahal told Business Today in an exclusive interaction.
Sheroes is a 2 million strong women member community that has forayed into commerce, fintech segments during the pandemic and is aiming to set up one lakh women-led digital storefronts on the platform by March 2022.
The company had last raised Rs 12 crore led by Lumis Partners in August 2016 in the first tranche of their Series A funding.
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Chahal said investments have become a crucial aspect of Sheroes’ fintech venture and an announcement on cryptocurrencies will be made by the company in weeks from now. This comes at a time when India is contemplating introducing a regulation to oversee crypto transactions in the country where the userbase is around 2 crore.
“We are in touch with the investors for further funds-raise for both Sheroes community and Mahila Money and have received a wide interest,” Chahal said. Right from 2014, when Sheroes began as a community-led platform to help network and create employment opportunities, the company has added streams of revenue by enabling women to apply for jobs, become micro-entrepreneurs as well as access credit.
Sheroes has tie-ups with the largest private lender of the country HDFC Bank and a dozen other NBFCs and financial institutions for providing small-ticket loans to the women entrepreneurs with facilities like credit guarantees, quick disbursals, etc.
“The target is essentially to create an ecosystem of 50 million women-micro entrepreneurs and we have just taken off. What I have realised during my personal journey and also while speaking to the women who approached us that there is a need to avail quick credit, payment access to our gender and each Indian woman for that matter has a side hustle, whether that is running a beauty parlour, private tuitions or crocheting. The pandemic has laid bare the limitations and women have undoubtedly suffered more. So, we have been able to channelise our resources to help them create a source of income,” the journalist-turned-entrepreneur said.
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The early backers of Sheroes include Raghav Bahl and Ritu Kapur’s Quintillion Media, 500 Startups, Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Sequoia Capital Managing Director Rajan Anandan, Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal, Freshworks CEO Girish Mathrubhootham, among others.
As the direct-to-commerce market grows rapidly in India, Chahal says that women should not miss out on opportunities. Her e-commerce offering on the Sheroes brands helps women entrepreneurs sell and source their brands. “We already have 5000 women who have their digital storefronts and hope to have one lakh digital storefronts by 2022. Through our commerce offerings, we are hoping to reach an annualised revenue run of $2 billion,” Chahal added.
The women-oriented startup has plans to go public but Chahal did not disclose the timeline. She did say said that the company has continued to be profitable and has a healthy cash flow which gives it a solid advantage for raising more capital and going public.