• 4 August 2023
  • SME Banking Awards | Fintech | Qorus Top 3 SME Neobank 2023 | SME Financing | SME Financial Inclusion

Validus Wins Top 3 ‘SME Neoplayer of the Year’ in 2023 Qorus SME Banking Awards

We’re thrilled to share that Validus has been named as a Top 3 ‘SME Neoplayer of the Year’ in the 2023 Qorus SME Banking Awards!

The SME Neoplayer category highlights SME financing challenger players, established within the last ten years, that are poised to make a significant impact on the SME banking industry in the next five years by offering enhanced user experiences and more accessible financial services.

Ken Burke, Qorus SME Banking Community Chairman and Senior Advisor, says, “The Qorus SME Banking Awards stand as a symbol of excellence and innovation in the global banking sector. They recognize exceptional achievements in fostering a deep understanding of the SME ecosystem, developing innovative products and delivering outstanding customer service enabled by digital transformation, helping SMEs to thrive and succeed in an increasingly competitive market.”

The award is a testament to Validus’ commitment to fintech innovation and excellence in SME financial services, and underscores the significant progress we’ve accomplished in improving SMEs’ access to tailored financial solutions, through data, AI, technology, and strategic partnerships.

Kudos to our outstanding #OneValidus team across Southeast Asia for making this win possible, and a big thank you to Qorus SME Banking Community for this recognition, and to our customers, investors, and partners for their trust and support. Together, let’s remain steadfast in our efforts to drive growth financing to under-served SMEs!

How Validus is re-inventing financial services for SMEs

In a Q&A interview with Qorus, Validus Co-founder and Executive Chairman Vikas Nahata shared more about how Validus has been at the forefront of re-inventing financial services for SMEs to drive deeper SME financial inclusion in Southeast Asia – by leveraging technology, data, AI and strategic partnerships to provide accessible, faster, and more affordable financial services for SMEs.

Here are some brief excerpts from Vikas’ interview with Qorus:

Qorus: In which countries do you operate and how do you perceive the banking offer to SMEs there? In your opinion, does the offer from existing financial institutions meet the needs of SMEs?

Vikas: “… Existing players have struggled to balance the needs and credit characteristics of SMEs with the stringent criteria set out by local regulators. It is not enough to rely on the SME to provide enough data for underwriting; in order to truly scale support for SMEs and drive financial inclusion, alternative methods of assessing creditworthiness are required, and credit scoring, underwriting and loan monitoring processes need to become more efficient.”

Qorus: What is your business model and your core value proposition for SMEs?

Vikas: “…One key approach we take to making SME financing more accessible is to partner with some of the largest corporate conglomerates in each of our markets on supply chain vendor financing solutions, thereby accelerating SME financial inclusion for their small business vendors who otherwise may not be able to get access to credit. Using the supply chain data from our partnerships, alongside alternative data and data from the SME, we then use data analytics and AI to price the SME risk.”

Qorus: How’s the experience at your institution different compared to other players? What are the unique features you offer to your customers?

Vikas: “…Unlike traditional financial institutions, which often have a one-size-fits-all approach to lending and financial services, our products and services are specifically tailored to the needs of small business owners.”

We set out to innovate our working capital financing product and credit underwriting – with a focus on making it simpler and faster for SMEs to access the funds they need for growth, within one day. We are the first in the industry to innovate and develop a proprietary AI-powered credit underwriting algorithm that leverages alternative data and predictive models to automate the underwriting and credit risk decisioning for small-ticket working capital loans (of up to $150,000) in just one minute. SMEs need only submit two documents for credit assessment, which is 67% fewer documents compared to banks and other financial institutions.”

Qorus: Being a banking provider without physical branches, customers only interact with you remotely. How do you ensure an excellent sales and service model leading to a great customer experience with interactions being 100% digital?

Vikas: “We have made significant investments in developing and implementing a tech stack to ensure an excellent sales and service model. Our digital SME business account platform is designed to be user-friendly and easy to navigate, and we utilise CRM and servicing tools to communicate with and provide our customers with the assistance they need in a timely way.

Our focus is on creating a seamless experience for our customers, and we leverage data analytics and AI to gain insights into customer behavior, preferences and needs, which helps us to tailor our products and services to meet their specific needs. With a robust digital outreach and engagement strategy in place, we are able to effectively reach and engage with our target audience – prospects and existing customers.”

Qorus: Where do you see Validus in five years? What impact or difference are you trying to achieve for small business owners in your portfolio?

Vikas: “At the heart of our mission is a commitment to empowering small business owners and uplifting the lives of everyone in communities that are linked to the small businesses we serve, through better digital finance. We believe that access to affordable and uncomplicated financing is critical to achieving true SME financial inclusion, and we will continue to strive to deliver deeper value for SMEs for all things business finance, from loans, to B2B cross-border payments and business expenses.

The landscape for SME financial services is extremely fragmented, and there is a huge opportunity for all-in-one SME financing platforms like Validus to provide an accessible, seamless and hassle-free experience. Thanks to the pandemic, small businesses are open to and seeking digital solutions for their business finance needs, such as loans and B2B payments.

We will continue to deliver deeper value for SMEs across all the stages of their lifecycle for all things business finance, from loans, to B2B payments and business expenses. In doing so, we aspire to become the most loved, credit-led, all-in-one SME financial services provider in Southeast Asia.”

Read the full interview with Vikas Nahata, originally published on Qorus, here.

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