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Neo Bank Fi Secures $50 Million In Series-B Funding

The Fi app is a savings-friendly product that aims to simplify finances for working professionals. Over a million users had registered on Fi’s waitlist to open a savings account.

In the backdrop of the positive response to its early access launch in April, Fi, the Bengaluru-based neobank has opened up its app access to all. Users will no longer be waitlisted and can now download the Fi app directly from the Google Playstore and App Store. Fi has now raised $50 MN at a valuation of $315 MN from B Capital Group, Falcon Edge and others in addition to an earlier interim round with existing investors Sequoia Capital and Ribbit Capital. The latest round boosts valuation 7 times over, from their Series A round in 2020 that valued Fi at $45 MN.

The Fi app is a savings-friendly product that aims to simplify finances for working professionals. Over a million users had registered on Fi’s waitlist to open a savings account. The account is an instant, zero-balance savings account with a debit card issued in partnership with Federal Bank. The early access to Fi was open to only Android users until recently. On popular demand, the neobank launched its iOS app last month.

Sujith Narayanan, CEO and Cofounder, Fi said, “The feedback from users has been encouraging and the app has been well received. We have been focused on delivering a banking experience for digital natives that reflects their personality- simple, smart, fun and flexible. So we are going to continue to build on our proposition through ecosystem partnerships and new offerings, the funding is an added bonus that will fuel our growth. It is a reflection of the investor confidence in the banking need gap we are trying to address.”

Kabir Narang, Founding General Partner, B Capital Group said, “We have been looking at neo-banking opportunities across emerging markets and are excited to be investing in Fi. Fi is focused on serving the pressing financial needs of 60 million digitally savvy millennials in India. This is a large, attractive, and growing market especially in the backdrop of $180 ARPU for top retail banks in the country. Fi is building a modern banking product, that is receiving rave reviews from users of the Fi app and debit card. We are excited to partner with Fi and its exceptional team that is reimagining consumer banking.”

Users who were onboarded on Fi during early access were quick to take to the features specifically designed to help them save. About 20% of users opened Smart Deposits to start their savings journey. The Smart Deposit combines the best features of the Fixed Deposit (FD) and the Recurring Deposit (RD) to help users save towards their goals on their own terms. Another feature that was well-received called ‘FIT Rules’ saves money automatically based on conditions defined by the user. The most popular FIT Rules at present are the ones titled “Healthy, wealthy, and wise” and “Don’t shop till you drop” that set aside money each time a user orders food and shops online respectively.

Sumit Gwalani, Cofounder, Fi said, “We have observed that there is an inertia towards saving amongst digital natives. They want to save but never actually get to taking proactive steps towards saving. While designing the features for Fi, we have tried to keep the user at the centre and build tools that help them overcome this inertia. The uptake of some of these features validates our efforts.”

Fi users have also been leaning on for their money related queries. It is Fi’s in-built virtual financial assistant that can answer queries in less than a second. Interestingly, the top search queries from millennials have been around their monthly savings and their spends on Amazon. With more users being on-boarded, new FIT Rules were also added to include football, cricket, and the Olympics. The most recent additions to FIT Rules have been around widely relatable habits like phone usage, screen time, social media usage etc, that allow users to set aside money into savings if they manage to keep their screen-time down.

In September, Fi was one of the first fintech companies to adopt the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Account Aggregator (AA) framework and showcase its use-case at the industry-wide launch event organized by iSPIRT. Fi’s Connected Accounts feature built on the AA framework will allow users to view their financial  data from all of their bank accounts.  The feature will be available to all users soon. Additionally, Fi will be rolling out an ‘investments’ feature on the app in the coming months.

2021 has witnessed the rise of fintech in India and the finance sector is finally seeing an increase in adoption of user-friendly tech and innovation. As millennials look to the finance sector to deliver an end-to-end banking experience, Fi’s onboarding process and kit has garnered favour with its users. The kit includes a comic ‘Zine’ and a minimalist debit card. 

Source: Business World

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