Karbon Card, a fintech company offering corporate cards, has raised growth capital from the world’s most sought-after accelerator Y Combinator (YC) that counts Airbnb, Doordash, and Stripe as its portfolio companies. Karbon has been selected in YC’s summer batch of 2021, representing one of the few high potential companies from India.
Karbon will use the funds to step up its product development, hiring plans and operations.
Founded in 2019 by Pei-fu Hsieh, Amit Jangir, Kartik Jain and Sunil Sinha, Karbon is now joining YC which previously groomed global corporate card startup Brex, which has achieved unicorn status in record time reflecting the magnitude of the pain points they are solving for startups and SMBs.
In India, a traditionally credit starved country, these pain points for startups and SMBs are significantly greater. As the early mover and most established corporate card startup in India, Karbon is already a well known name in India’s startup ecosystem.
The Bengaluru headquartered company offers startups with four key benefits such as credit of up to Rs 5 Crore with no personal guarantee or fixed deposits, provides seamless payments transactions through corporate cards to its customers, offers rewards specific to the startups’ requirements such as AWS credits with $50,000 or SaaS products. Lastly, it helps offer expense management through WhatsApp in a very intuitive way.
“We figured that it was challenging for the early-stage startups to avail corporate cards from the banks wherein the banks ask for 110% deposit guarantee, a personal guarantee from founders, and a huge amount of documentation and time. That was the Eureka moment for us. We thought if we offered the corporate cards with no fixed deposits, personal guarantees and built a process in just five minutes, then we would solve a lot of problems,” said Pei-fu, Cofounder, Karbon.
Karbon also feels that a YC tag would help the company create more value in the Indian startup ecosystem and help mitigate the biggest challenge of convincing startups about the existence of a product like Karbon.
With over 1500 clients in less than two years, the company has managed a 35% month-on-month growth in revenues despite the pandemic that slowed down corporate spending to a large extent. However, as the economy starts reviving, Karbon expects faster growth too. Additionally, considering the recent RBI’s Mastercard ban, Karbon has been quick to integrate with Visa network to provide uninterrupted experience to their customers.
The company has raised $3.5 million so far from investors such as Orios Venture Partner and US-based 2AM VC and is in the process of raising a more significant round in the next few months.
“Karbon has helped our portfolio companies save significant time not having to access the slow traditional banks for a higher credit limit for corporate expenses. Startup founders and Digital SMEs want to focus on building their business and not spend time doing paperwork in today’s digital world,” said Anup Jain from Orios Venture Partners.
To this, Hershel Mehta, Cofounder at 2 AM VC, said, “The rapidly growing Indian startup ecosystem needs solutions like Karbon Card. Moreover, there are more than 40 million SMBs in India. Karbon is well-positioned to serve this huge untapped market.”
While Indian SMBs and startups are warning up to the idea that corporate cards can solve some of their major pain points, globally the market is evolving fast reflecting the growing need to simplify expense management with players such as Brex, Ramp and Divvy amongst others.