Salary app Refyne raises $16 million from DST Global, others

Mumbai: Salary app Refyne has raised $16 million in a Series A funding round, which saw participation of new and existing investors, such as DST Global, RTP Global, QED Investors, XYZ Capital and Jigsaw VC.

The fundraise comes six months after the fintech startup raised $4.1 million in seed funding in December 2020. The firm’s total funding now stands at $20.1 million. The fresh funds will be used to expand the company’s technology team and scale growth initiatives.

Founded in 2020 by Chitresh Sharma and Apoorv Kumar, Refyne—which claims to be “India’s first and largest earned wage access platform”—allows real-time access to pay for both full-time and contracted employees. Its app allows employees to withdraw their salary from the seventh day onwards instead of waiting for the monthly payday. The service is free of cost.

The company caters to more than more than 300,000 employees at over 100 companies, including Cars24, Rebel Foods, Hira Group, Chai Point and Wow! Momos.

“While the company was in the idea phase, we spoke to thousands of people across the country to understand the challenges of personal finance and wage management in India,” said CEO Sharma, who hails from Raipur in Chhattisgarh.

Another seemingly worrying fact Sharma found during the research was that several Indians opted for high-interest loans when faced with mid-month liquidity crisis which paves way for debt traps and financial mismanagement. “What we found was that in India, employees trust their employers more than the banking system. We instantly realised there was a gap to fill here,” he said.

For QED Investors, Refyne is its first bet in India. “The need for financial inclusion is more important today than ever before,” said Nigel Morris, co-founder and managing partner at the venture capital firm. “By providing a real, affordable alternative to payday loans, Refyne will not only improve a person’s financial health but also add control for the consumer and dramatically reduce the stress on those who worry about meeting their financial obligations.”

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