Chennai: Dvara Kshetriya Gramin Financial Services Private Limited (DVARA KGFS) (formerly Pudhuaaru Financial Services Private Limited), a pioneer in the financial inclusion space, raised INR 97 crores in a fresh round equity of funding. This new round of funding will enable the company to pursue its expansion into newer geographies, strengthen its presence in existing geographies and enhance its digital architecture to provide more customer centric services in rural India. This will also pave way for the company to improve its products and services. The round was led by new investor Stakeboat Capital, with existing investors LeapFrog Investment and Dvara Trust participating, in order to maintain the company’s accelerated growth. The Company’s other major shareholder Accion participated with additional funds in 2018. ICICI Securities acted as exclusive financial advisor to this transaction. Samir Shah, Executive Vice Chair & Group President of Dvara Trust commented “This infusion of new capital from a new investor and existing shareholders will significantly strengthen our existing presence and accelerate our growth into newer geographies as envisaged in our business plan. The funds will help us deliver highly personalised wealth management solutions to our rural customers across a range of touch points.” Michael Fernandes, Partner at LeapFrog Investments commented: “We are excited to continue our partnership and lead the current round of investment in Dvara KGFS, which continues to execute a differentiated and technology enabled strategy to deliver financial services to rural households in India.” Michael Schlein , President and CEO at Accion commented: “Accion believes in providing India’s families and businesses with the financial services they need to build better lives, and we’ll continue working with Dvara KGFS to help more of India’s rural communities thrive,” he said. Accion Chief Regional Officer for South Asia Abhishek Agrawal added, “Dvara KGFS’ use of tech-n-touch to reach to more than 850,000 clients makes an important contribution to Accion’s investment portfolio and our efforts to reach the underserved in India.” Vinay Subramanian, Investment Director at Stakeboat Capital commented: “It is a pleasure to partner a pedigreed institution like Dvara KGFS known for its pioneering efforts in rural finance, leveraging their uniquely deep rural footprint and customer-centric wealth management approach. What particularly excites us is their technological capabilities and deep contextual insights on rural households. With the exponential growth of mobile penetration in India, Dvara KGFS is well poised to serve the rural under-banked, offering seamless customer service on par with their urban counterparts, through increasingly digital means.” He also added, “It is our firm belief that Dvara KGFS will be a market leader at the interface of rural and fintech in the very near future, and we look forward to pivot this growth by being on the board.” Dvara KGFS is also looking to raise more than 600 Cr debt from a variety of sources including banks, NBFCs, NCDs and ECB. After strengthening the entity following the acquisition of Varam Capital, Dvara KGFS will keenly focus on an organic and inorganic growth path to execute its business plan. The company said that the fresh funds would be utilised for the acquisition of Varam business, investing in enhancing the fin-tech capability of the company and strengthening the management team. Dvara KGFS also plans to expand their presence into new states – Jharkhand and Chattisgarh along with deepening their presence in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha and Uttarakand. In addition, the funds would be utilised for introducing new products and services such as affordable micro housing loan product and deepening its Micro Enterprise loans and Jewel loans portfolio. Dvara KGFS have reported revenue from its operations of Rs.163 Crores for 2018-19 and having assets under management of Rs.760 Crores.