Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) EdTech startup MSMEx announced raising $1 million in a Pre-Series A funding round co-led by Razorpay, the leading full stack financial solutions company, and the international investment firm TNF Investments.
The startup had earlier raised angel funding from a clutch of leading angel investors including Badri Pillapakkam (Partner at Omidyar Network), Krishna Kumar (Founder of SimpliLearn), Manoj Sharma (CTO of Cleartrip), and Heetesh Veera (Partner at E&Y), among others.
MSMEx said in a statement that it will use this funding to develop new intuitive technologies, including a deep learning-based recommender system, an intelligent LIVE chat system and an AI-based behaviour analytics system, and also scale its operations to serve more users.
MSMEx was founded by Amit Kumar in 2019 and was joined at an early stage by Vishal Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Khushboo Arora and Kumar Sambhav.
Amit Kumar, Co-founder & CEO, MSMEx said “Only 0.5 per cent of micro businesses are able to scale up and graduate to the next level in India, while the comparative figures for China and the USA are at 25 per cent and 45 per cent respectively. Not every micro business owner gets access to world-class business education or mentors and advisors, as 90 per cent of them are located outside metro cities. MSMEx is taking structured business education and advisory services to every corner of India, to create future leaders of Indian economy.”
MSMEx offers LIVE business sessions for micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) owners and also connects them with curated business experts for online interactions and hand holding support. Business owners and entrepreneurs can also ask queries to experts through a LIVE chat community and can talk to experts through 1-on-1 video calls for mentoring and leadership advice.
Speaking about the future growth, Amit added, “Our investors understand the MSME space well, and we are therefore excited to achieve this aligned vision together of impacting 10 million MSMEs in the next five years.”
Shashank Kumar, CTO and Co-Founder, Razorpay said, “We all agree that India has been making significant strides in the SME and MSME segment, more so during the last few months, owing to businesses realising the impact of digitisation on their business, economic growth, job creation and overall productivity. While this unprecedented situation has forced the MSME segment to adopt everything new and leverage this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, there’s been a need for startups and small business owners to be well-enabled to make informed decisions and move in the right direction. Amit and the MSMEx Team have been solving such challenges, expanding the breadth of their products in a short span and are becoming a leading business advisory platform for all advisory and mentoring needs of SMEs & MSMEs in India. We are excited about investing in a team like MSMEx which has its mission and commitment strike a strong chord with ours – to serve and solve the problems faced by the inadequately serviced market, the small businesses. We look forward to supporting MSMEx’s continued growth and innovation in this under-serviced space.”
Samir Khosla, Managing Partner at TNF Investments said, “Micro and small enterprises in India and other developing economies are demonstrating explosive growth, in their numbers and ambitions. MSMEx’s unique positioning addresses the core challenges faced by the entrepreneurs leading these enterprises – access to high-quality business advice, focused mentorship, actionable business education, all within a tight budget and available on-demand. Amit is an exceptional entrepreneur, who along with his highly motivated team, has developed a business model of democratising business education and advisory, which is already making a significant positive impact on the trajectory of enterprises in this segment, particularly as they strive to transform digitally. We envision MSMEx evolving into an integral and indispensable part of tens of millions of entrepreneurial journeys in India and internationally. This investment is the first step of a larger vision and partnership, which will become a catalyst for best breed MSME entrepreneurs, supporting them by applying our intellectual, network, and financial resources. Along with our co-investor Razorpay, we look forward to working closely with the MSMEx team on this exciting phase of their journey.”
The last 15 months have changed the way business is done in India. While large corporations and technology companies have managed to adapt to the new reality of remote work, having already undergone digital transformation, India’s 63 million micro businesses with their limited resources have found business transformation and online interaction challenging. MSMEx bridges the gap by enabling access to digital transformation and business best practises for these smaller, geographically dispersed businesses in a cost effective and efficient manner.
Currently, the MSMEx platform has over half a million users representing micro and small businesses from over 1,200 cities across India. The startup said it has registered 55 per cent MAU growth since January. MSMEx currently offers English language content with a strong focus on the quality of experts. The platform will shortly be launching content in Hindi and other regional languages to cater to a much larger non-English speaking user base.
While there are various start-ups solving the problems of the small and medium enterprise segment through lending, payments, accounting, attendance, distribution and other solutions, the micro segment continues to be a significantly underserved market. MSMEx believes that with over 63 million micro enterprises in India, this segment is unfolding as a multi-billion opportunity.