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zolve funding: Raghunandan G ventures out again with $15 million seed for Zolve


Mumbai: TaxiForSure co-founder Raghunandan G.’s global neobank venture Zolve has picked up $15 million in its seed funding round, which was led by Accel and Lightspeed Venture Partners and saw participation of Blume Ventures and a group of angels, including Cred’s Kunal Shah.

DST Global’s Managing Partner Rahul Mehta and Coatue Management’s Senior Managing Director Rahul Kishore were the other notable angels in the round. The seed funding also marked the first investment of US-based seed-stage investor Founders Collective in an Indian startup.

With the newly infused capital, the US-headquartered fintech startup is set to offer frontend banking solutions to migrants moving from India to the US and vice versa, through tie-ups with US and Indian banks in its first stage of launch.

Raghunandan told The Economic Times that the company then plans to open its services to other international corridors and widen its bouquet of solutions to portfolio and tax management services as well. Zolve is set to go live for customers later this year, he said.

“There is a bit of plumbing that needs to be done before setting the requisite banking rails. We will first enable services for the India-US corridor and then expand our focus to more such corridors across the world,” Raghunandan said.

The startup’s customer acquisition strategy involves offering banking and credit support to migrants planning to relocate to another country. It’ll also offer international banking and portfolio management services to cross-border travellers through an integrated platform.

This, according to Raghunanadan, is an $85 billion market. In its second phase of expansion, the company plans to provide banking solutions in the UK and Canada, as well as the Middle Eastern countries, predominantly targeting the Indian migrant community.

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“Our cross-border neobank will enable global citizens to access financial products seamlessly, save money and invest it further, helping them be financially free to pursue their ambition, no matter where they are,” said Raghunandan.

His previous entrepreneurial venture saw Raghunandan co-found cab aggregator platform Taxi For Sure in 2011, which was later acquired by Ola for $200 million in 2015. “We felt that the world is going global; except for finance. This is a real opportunity to create a new solution,” he said, talking about his segue into fintech.

Taxi For Sure’s other co-founder, Aprameya Radhakrishna, recently co-founded Koo, which is now gaining popularity as a homegrown rival to the US-based Twitter.

According to Anand Daniel, partner at Accel, Raghunandan’s “track record” at Taxi For Sure coupled with Zolve’s potentially disruptive business model could make it a compelling bet.

“The global citizen community is largely underserved in terms of access to financial services and we believe that there is a huge market opportunity for Zolve,” Anand said in a statement. “Raghu has a proven track record as a founder and we are delighted to partner with him again on his latest venture.”

Bejul Somaia, MD of Lightspeed Venture Partners, said, “Individuals with financial identities in multiple geographies need seamless global financial solutions and we believe the team’s strong identification with the problem will enable them to deliver compelling and innovative financial experiences,” said Bejul Somaia, Lightspeed India Partners.”





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