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India's first earned wage access Refyne raises $82 million in Series B round

Refyne, which says it is India’s first and largest earned wage access (EWA) platform, has announced the closing of its $82 million (Rs 607 crore) Series B round led by Tiger Global, with significant contribution from existing international investors - QED Investors, partners of DST Global, Jigsaw VC, XYZ Capital, and RTP Global - and new investor Digital Horizon.

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Refyne, which says it is India's first and largest earned wage access (EWA) platform, has announced the closing of its $82 million (Rs 607 crore) Series B round led by Tiger Global, with significant contribution from existing international investors - QED Investors, partners of DST Global, Jigsaw VC, XYZ Capital, and RTP Global - and new investor Digital Horizon.

Refyne enables employees to withdraw their earned salary at any point in the month, without disrupting payroll. EWA is not a loan, therefore Refyne does not charge any interest or processing fees for withdrawals.

The concept is to help Indians who may face a liquidity crunch get access to their own earned income between pay cycles so that they do not have to depend on loans at high interest costs.

While the startup did not disclose the exact valuation post the funding round, co-founder and CEO Chitresh Sharma said that the valuation has grown by 6.5 times from the valuation during the Series A round.

Within just 10 months of being operational, Refyne has raised a total of $106 million. The jump in valuation and the large funding round are reflective of the unprecedented investor interest witnessed by startups in India over the past year.

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The startup said that the funds will be used for product development, expansion of the team, and to ramp up various business functions.

Refyne, founded by Sharma and Apoorv Kumar, partners with employers to enable their employees to access a portion of their accrued but unpaid salary any time before payday. The company has partnered with more than 150 organisations, catering to over 700,000 employees. It expects to reach more than 3 million employees in 12 months.

Sharma, said, "We built Refyne on the notion that everyone should be able to manage their personal finances without the threat of falling into debt traps due to liquidity shortfalls between pay cycles. The support and confidence that global investors such as Tiger Global have shown in us is a testament to our mission."

Refyne's partner companies include Practo, TeamLease, CARS24, Tenon, Shadowfax, Rebel Foods, Acko, BlackBuck, Arti Group, Cafe Coffee Day, among several others.

Alex Cook, Partner, Tiger Global, said, "We believe Refyne will be the preferred partner for large employers that want to offer EWA. We are excited to support Chitresh, Apoorv and the Refyne team, as they work to improve financial wellness for the Indian workforce."

Refyne's angel investors and advisors include Indian fintech veterans Susir Kumar, founder of Intelenet; Bobby Mehta, chairman of Jones Lang Lasalle's board, former head of TransUnion and Allstate Corp; and private global venture capital investor and entrepreneur Oliver Jung.

Asia's first comprehensive report on EWA and financial well-being in India by Ernst and Young, in partnership with Refyne, noted that 81% employees face liquidity crunch between pay cycles.

The report also noted employers who implemented EWA observed a significant drop in attrition, faster talent acquisition, enhanced workforce productivity, and improved eNPS.

Dwaipayan Bhattacharjee
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