pinBox, a global PensionTech committed exclusively to digital micro-pension and social security inclusion, has raised $ 1 million funding in a round led by Venture Catalysts (Vcats), India’s first and largest integrated incubator. Vcats’ accelerator fund 9unicorns also participated in the round.
Founded in 2016 by industry veterans Parul Seth Khanna and Gautam Bhardwaj, pinBox uses technology, process innovation and a simple, intuitive user interface to address friction and access challenges in delivering micro-pension and insurance solutions to underserved informal sector workers.
In 2020, pinBox joined hands with WhatsApp and integrated its platform with the popular app to make saving for old age as quick, easy and simple as sending a message.
Talking about the need of micro-pension products, Gautam Bhardwaj, co-founder of pinBox said, “In the last year or so, we have seen how vulnerable self-employed women and informal workers without savings and insurance are to risks, and how unprepared most are to withstand even short-term income shocks. Without comprehensive social protection, we are staring at an old age poverty crisis that will soon impact everyone in the world. By 2050, this problem will become too large and irreversible — somewhat like climate change. We must urgently encourage and enable young, economically active citizens to start saving for a 25-year retirement. There is no other option.”
pinBox has worked extensively with several governments, regulators, financial inclusion stakeholders and DFIs like World Bank, UNCDF and UKAID across Asia and Africa on expanding digital micro-pension and social protection coverage to self-employed women and informal sector workers including gig-workers.
pinBox has built the world’s first white-labelled and fully API-enabled micro-pensionTech platform that integrates the digital ID, finance and payments ecosystem to “switch-on” an inclusive social security marketplace.
pinBox provides its ready-to-deploy pensionTech platform to governments and regulators seeking to expand pension and insurance coverage to non-salaried workers. Pension funds, AMCs and insurers use the pinBox platform and solutions to directly deliver small-ticket pensions, savings and insurance products and financial literacy to vulnerable populations whom agents and traditional distributors are unable to reach or service. Credible grass-roots organizations and social techs use it to offer an affordable social protection solution to their clients, members or employees.
In 2018, pinBox assisted the Government of Rwanda to launch Africa’s first fully digital, government-sponsored micro-pension and insurance scheme which already has nearly 1.5 million subscribers. In 2020, pinBox deployed its pensionTech platform in Kenya to enable Zamara, Prudential and Equity Bank to deliver an integrated pension and insurance solution to Kenya’s 17m non-salaried workers. In India, pinBox is working with HDFC Pension, SBI AMC and leading insurers to help deliver NPS and customized saving and insurance solutions to India’s 400m informal sector workers without social security benefits.
Says Dr. Apoorva Sharma, co-founder and president of Venture Catalysts, “We strongly echo the urgent need for simple and easy access to micro-pensions and social protection by millions of informal sector workers. Parul and Gautam clearly have unique expertise, experience and passion that is needed to succeed at scale. We’re delighted to provide pinBox the capital it needs to multiply the impact of its mission.”
Parul Seth Khanna says “We’re absolutely delighted to have received our first equity investment from such a seasoned and fully aligned investor like Venture Catalysts. The funding from VCats will help us upscale our capacity to more effectively meet the growing interest in comprehensive social protection from multiple countries. We’re also grateful to Positron Advisors for their valuable strategic inputs”.