The Pattern: L&T starts, Cred moves and agriculture drones

Mayank Jain   /    Head - Marketing and Content    /    2022-03-11

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    Good evening aka TGIF

    I think I can speak for (almost) everyone when I say that the news cycle has been fairly draining for what feels like a lifetime now. We’ve been bombarded with the gloom and doom around COVID since 2020, and just as the clouds were beginning to clear, we are now witness to an armed conflict, mass migration, stock market crashes and global economic uncertainty. Interesting times, right?

    In the midst of this chaos, it can be exhausting trawling through article after article for updates specific to our (or any) industry. That’s why we at FinBox decided to roll up our sleeves and do the grunt work for you - so here’s your concise and crisp weekly round-up of all things FinTech and finance, from FinBox and beyond.

    There’s big news coming in from renowned infrastructure developer Larsen and Toubro (L&T), who announced the launch of their B2B marketplace earlier this week. Industrial supply chains have been plagued by challenges in the recent past, which meant they were relying heavily on B2B directories and an unorganized SME supplier base to fulfill their sourcing needs. With this new electronic industrial marketplace, companies will be able to source goods and services from SMEs through a reliable and cost effective process.

    We’ve always been huge proponents of how Embedded Finance (EF) could transform B2B marketplaces - and my colleague Vasavi recently wrote a piece on how EF can reshape such marketplaces from simply discovery and purchase channels to a full-fledged ecosystem that caters to a buyer’s every need. Check it out here.

    Moving from industry to agriculture, the Directorate of Civil Aviation, the agriculture ministry and the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee are working together to fast-track adoption of drones in farms to monitor crop health and spray nutrients. Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) are being touted as aggregators for all stakeholders in the farm drone ecosystem - and we’ve got a pretty strong feeling that these farmers' collectives will be playing an increasingly important role as farming becomes increasingly tech-enabled.

    Our content marketing specialist Shamolie wrote an in-depth article on the relevance of agri-FinTech in India and the benefits of FPO-FinTech collaboration. Read it here for a low-down on the challenges that FPOs have had to battle in the last decade and how the above mentioned collaboration could mean improved prosperity and easier credit access for India’s small and marginal farmers.

    In other news, Cred, the Indian FinTech that made paying off credit cards cool, is now looking to apply for an account aggregator license. If approved, it will allow them to leverage the data of members that use the app to stay on top of their credit card payments.

    My colleague Chitwan recently wrote this enlightening piece on how alternative data combined with the account aggregator framework can throw light on both the ability and intent to repay. Take a look here and tell us what you think!

    P.S. Did you know FinBox was one of the first companies to go live with the account aggregator framework?

    Talking about another Indian startup (albeit in a different space), Urban Company recently announced its plans to allot stock options in the company worth INR 150 crore to its gig workers - including plumbers, carpenters, beauticians, and more. This will be done through a partner stock ownership plan (PSOP) plan over the next five to seven years. 

    Interestingly, this comes soon after women gig workers protested against the platform’s low commissions and unfair practices - but that’s a story for another day. Truth is, their livelihoods in India have always been precarious - and while stock options are a move in the right direction, there’s a lot left to be done.

    Our content specialist Aparna explored this in a timely and relevant piece that talks about how FinTechs can build for the unique needs of gig workers across industries. Read all about it here.

    And that’s a wrap for this week. I hope you enjoy these pieces as much as I did - I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    See you next week.

    Mayank

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