Jar raises $32 million in Tiger Global-led funding to help Indians kick-start their savings and investment journeys – TechCrunch

Startups

A seven-month-old fintech app that helps millions of Indians start investing and saving for the first time in their lives has caught the attention of Tiger Global.

Bengaluru-based Jar said Thursday it has raised $32 million in its Series A funding round, just months after securing seed funding. The New York-headquartered investor led the new round, with the participation of dozens of investors including Rocketship.vc, Stonks, Force Ventures, Arkam Ventures, Klarna founder Victor Jacobsson, Ali Capital’s Suleman Ali, Sila Money’s Shamir Karkal, Byron Ling from Cannan Partners and Joel John from Ledger Prime.

The new round values ​​Jar at more than $200 million, according to two people familiar with the case. Jar’s co-founders declined to comment on the rating.

Nearly a billion Indians have bank accounts today, but they have never made any investment. Part of the reason is confusion, said Nishchay Ag, co-founder and chief executive of Jar. “Their world is littered with advertisements of various financial instruments,” he told TechCrunch in an interview.

For decades, banks and mutual funds have been trying to tap into Indian masses with their products. Despite the hundreds of millions of dollars they have invested in capturing the market, they have been able to try fewer than 30 million individuals.

“Making a product is one thing, being able to sell it is another. All these settings are well in production. To sell, you need to be attuned to the persona, idiosyncrasies, insecurities, cognitive load, and cultural significance of the individual. That is an art and science in itself,” he said.

Jar addresses this by choosing a financial instrument familiar to most Indians: gold. For more than a century, Indians have kept gold in their homes, treating the yellow metal as both a good investment and a status symbol, he said.

It would be an understatement to say that Indians, who have a private stash worth $1.5 trillion of the precious metal, is an understatement. For generations, Indians across the socio-economic spectrum have preferred to hide their savings – or at least some of them – in the form of gold. In fact, the demand for gold in India is so great – Indians deposit more gold than citizens in any other country – that the South Asian nation is also one of the world’s largest importers of this precious metal.

Jar, which raised $4.5 million last year from a range of investors including Tribe Capital and Arkam Ventures, has an app of the same name that makes it really easy for users to start investing.

The app collects a small amount every time a user makes a transaction. It rounds up a person’s daily expenses and puts some money aside as an investment. Users’ investments in digital gold are backed by physical gold of the same amount, and they can choose to withdraw as much gold or liquidate their investments at any time, he said. Misbah Ashrafco-founder and chief product officer of Jar, in an interview.

The bet works. The app has amassed more than 4 million users, 99% of whom are investing in an asset class for the first time, Nishchay said.

The duo first made contact several years ago when MarsPlay, Misbah’s previous venture (which has since been acquired), and Bounce, where Nishchay worked, were trying to explore synergies for the startups. They kept in touch and realized during one of their many conversations in late 2020 that neither of them knew much about investments.

This was a trigger point for Misbah, who had seen his family struggle with debt, he said. “We were both tech savvy, running businesses and yet we hadn’t thought much about saving and investing either,” he said. “We started to wonder if we were alone or if it was a systemic problem with everyone. It’s pretty much the latter,” he said.

Jar tries to build a financial habit among individuals to begin their investment journeys. Now that it has made its way to consumers in every Indian state, Nishchay said, the startup aims to offer much more financial instruments for users to invest in, he said.

“Clearly a habit and discipline are being formed and we are seeing a 20% increase in investment from our users on a monthly basis,” he said.

The startup is also seeking loans to its users and offering them insurance in the coming months, he said.

“Jar is bringing new users to the online investment space, starting with digital gold as its first product,” said Alex Cook, partner at Tiger Global, in a statement. “We’re committed to Jar’s mission to help users build a daily savings habit, and we’re excited to partner with the team as they scale to millions of customers.”

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