Freecharge founder Kunal Shah launched his second startup named Cred in November 2018. It is basically a platform for all forms of credit card bill payments. For paying their credit card bills on Cred, users are provided points which can later be redeemed for various offers.
Cred has been in news for quite some time now. This time around, we finally have a first look at how the company is performing financially. And in all honesty, the numbers do not look so good, but are typical of any early-stage fintech company, looking to tap into a potentially multi-billion market.
During the first fiscal year of its operations, the company had a negative operating cash flow of ₹117.84 crore, although the company was only operational for the first five months of FY19. Further, the regulatory filings reveal that the company recorded zero revenue from its operations with an overall burn of ₹64 crore in the fiscal year 2018-19.
However, the company has generated ₹3.3 crore in interest on deposits. Marketing and communication expenditure of ₹21.3 crore accounted for nearly 33 percent of the firm’s total expenses incurred in FY19.
The company sent around ₹4.8 crore on specialised consultancy. Employee benefits expense was the second biggest component in the overall burn with ₹17.02 crore as the company handed out ₹15.3 crore in salaries and another ₹1 crore on staff welfare.
For IT and software, the company spent ₹6.24 crore, which is less than 10 percent of the total cash burn. Miscellaneous expenses included unexplained “Direct Costs”, which amounted to ₹10.75 crore, pushing the total expenditure for FY19 to ₹63.9 crore. This amounts to the net loss of ₹60.86 in FY19 for the Bangalore-based startup.
Based on what the numbers above show so far, the company doesn’t seem to have a viable business model in place. Media reports across spectrum indicate that Cred is exploring monetisation by charging brands for running promotions on the platform. But then, even if that does work, it won’t really align with the core business of the company. Advertising after all is an obvious revenue generator for any online-only business.
Cred had raised $120 million in Series B funding in August last year, which was led by Ribbit Capital and Gemini Investments, valuing the company at staggering $450 million. Prior to that, the company had raised $30 million in Series A funding, led by Sequoia Capital.