How OfBusiness is aiding MSME of India

SMEs, or small and medium-sized firms, account for around 63.4 million units in India, employ approximately 460 million people, and account for approximately 30 percent of the country’s GDP.

The Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector is a significant contributor to the country’s socio-economic development. The sector has grown in prominence in India as a result of its contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and exports. The sector has also made significant contributions to the development of entrepreneurship, particularly in India’s semi-urban and rural areas.

According to the regulations of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) Act, 2006, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) are divided into two categories: Manufacturing Enterprises and Service Enterprises.

The businesses are further classified depending on their equipment investment and annual turnover.

SMBs and SMEs have surged in the last few decades because of digitization that is leveraging technology with various business prospects in India.

Due to digitization and the vast usage of technology the geographical lines have been blurred. That is a person sitting in Kolkata can circulate his content globally, just like a person from Delhi can sell products to someone belonging to a different state.

OfBusiness is one such startup that is making procurement of raw materials easier and hassle-free and also making loans more accessible.

OfBusiness is a raw material collector and procurement financing provider. The company works with banks to give loan lines to small and medium-sized enterprises with more than $3 million in annual sales. The platform collects user behavior data, which it then utilizes to insure loans to businesses that use the OfBusiness platform to obtain raw materials and bids.

Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) have played an important role in the Indian financial system, supplementing and competing with banks while also injecting effectiveness and variety into financial intermediaries. NBFCs have come a long way in terms of operations, heterogeneity, asset quality and profitability, and regulatory architecture.

NBFCs are increasingly expanding into Tier-2, Tier-3, and Tier-4 markets, distributing loans across numerous client touchpoints and establishing a linked channel experience that provides an omnichannel seamless experience with 24/7 sales and service.

Overview:

OFB Tech (OfBusiness) is a digital platform that allows SMEs in the infrastructure and industrial sectors to source raw materials and secure financing. It blends technology into SME purchasing behavior to provide clients with better products at lower costs and in quicker time frames, as well as substantial online and offline support. Raw materials such as metals, chemicals, polymers, agricultural commodities, petrochemicals, and construction materials are all vital.

OfBusiness, through its NBFC ‘Oxyzo Financial Services,’ provides SMEs with cash flow-based financing for the acquisition of raw materials. One of the company’s many digital services for SMEs is BidAssist for new growth chances.

Small and medium-sized firms in the industrial and infrastructure industries can use the company’s platform to obtain financing from local distributors and lenders, helping them to meet their financial obligations. OfBusiness provides institutional loans to SMEs (both secured and unsecured). They do so by aggregating a variety of raw supplies, acquiring funding from local distributors and financiers, and then passing on the majority of the aggregation benefits to the SME, such as bulk discounts from manufacturers.

Through the aforementioned manner, OfBusiness enables SMEs to get credit lines for a variety of raw materials, including industrial steel (structures, plates, and coils), electrical goods, cement, bulk polymers, chemicals, building materials, and solar systems. The raw materials chosen by SMEs across clusters and ordered directly from the manufacturer are then aggregated through OfBusiness.

The inception

The SMBs and the SMEs are the building blocks of the Indian business ecosystem. In the year 2015, the B2B sector was largely untapped and thus the founders of OfBusiness tapped onto that unexplored B2B market and launched their very own tech-enabled raw material procurement platform and financing.

“In the initial years, we realized that one large piece of the puzzle that needs to be fixed in B2B is financing,” says Vasant. 

Born in Cuttack, India Asish Mohapatra has always dreamt of doing something big, he always knew that he had the potential and patience that is required to create disruption in the business ecosystem.

His potential got the acceleration it needs when he was pursuing his undergraduate from IIT. IIT has played a crucial role in Asish’s life altogether.

Before starting out with his own venture Asish Mohapatra worked at a consultancy and then he also worked for a VC company. He soon realised that entrepreneurship was his calling and thus he decided to start his own venture along with his strong pack of co-founders.

Ruchi Kalra is OfBusiness’s Co-Founder and Head of Credit and Payments. Ruchi formerly worked as a Partner at McKinsey & Company and as a Senior Business Analyst at Evalueserve. Ruchi holds a B.Tech in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi as well as an MBA from the Indian School of Business.

It was difficult for Asish to convince and onboard Ruchi into the plan because she was married to him and also worked at the same consulting firm she did not think the idea was great at the beginning but eventually bought it.

Srinath Ramakkrushnan is the head of MRO and also one of the co-founders. Srinath previously served as an Assistant Manager of Projects, Manager of Operations and Supply Chain, and Manager of Sustainability Operations for ITC Ltd. Srinath earned a B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

Vasant Sridhar is another co-founder of OfBusiness. Vasant previously worked at ITC Limited, where he was in charge of New Business Development and Projects. Vasant graduated with honours from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. He also co-founded Bloodline, a mobile and internet-based solution for closing the country’s large demand-supply gap for emergency blood.

Bhuvan Gupta is OfBusiness’s Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer. Bhuvan previously served as the Vice President of Engineering at Snapdeal and as the Director of Engineering at Exponential. Bhuvan earned his MBA from the University of Delhi and his B.Eng in Civil Engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in Pilani.

Ex Chandranshu Sinha is again one of the Co-Founders and CTO of Foxy as well as the Co-Founder and CTO of EkAnek Networks.

Last but not the least, Nitin Jain has been the Co-Founder and Head of Construction at OfBusiness since September 2015. Nitin was previously a Vice President of Structured Solutions Trading at the Royal Bank of Scotland. Nitin holds an M.Tech. and a B.Tech. in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.

Together they signed their resignation letters gave up their designations and took the leap of faith thus OfBusiness was born in the year 2015 in Gurugram. The startup has scaled a long way and now it also has the Unicorn badge of honor under its belt.

 The co-founders hoped to build a large B2B platform that would assist small and medium-sized businesses in sectors including manufacturing and construction. The fact that B2B was a largely untouched business in 2015, when there was a significant B2C boom, propelled it.

OFB Tech (OfBusiness) is a technology-enabled platform that helps SMEs buy raw materials and obtain loans, with a focus on the infrastructure and industrial industries. It blends technology into SME purchase behavior to supply clients with better products at lower prices in quicker time frames, as well as full online and offline support. It facilitates the acquisition of vital raw materials such as metals, chemicals, polymeric materials, agricultural commodities, petrochemical products, and construction materials.

Business & Revenue Model:

In India, SMEs face three major challenges. One is a working capital limitation; because it has limited assets to sell to banks, banks only meet 30% of their entire working capital needs. It must rely on NBFCs, local money lenders, and traders/distributors for the remaining 70%.

The second issue is the exorbitant and opaque pricing of raw materials. Because it is a small business, it does not have access to large manufacturers to obtain raw materials. It frequently requires finance and small quantities, neither of which are provided by the large manufacturers. As a result, the SME’s overall profitability suffers as a result of the obscurity and significant price gap.

Third, they have a restricted number of markets in which to offer their items. They frequently function at 40-50 percent capacity utilization because they lack the resources to market/sell their products.

OfBusiness is attempting to solve each of these issues while also delivering a plethora of technological goods that boost the efficiencies of these SMEs. The company combines the strength of trade and finance.

It finances raw material purchases for SMEs and also assists in the aggregation and fulfillment of these raw materials by partnering with large and small raw material manufacturers, and it claims that the bulk of the pricing benefit is passed on to end consumers.

OfBusiness stated that it is on track to treble its revenue in commerce year over year. OfBusiness has been successful for the previous four years, with technology at the heart of recruitment, servicing, and productivity, according to the company.

OfBusiness, through its NBFC ‘Oxyzo Financial Services,’ provides SMEs with cash flow-based financing for the acquisition of raw materials. One of the company’s many digital services for SMEs is BidAssist for new growth chances.

While commerce accounts for 55% of the company’s total net revenue, loans and SaaS account for 43% and 2%, respectively. The largest contribution to earnings is lending, followed by trade.

In addition to its principal commerce operation in the B2B raw material supply chain arena, it has a lending vertical through its non-banking financing firm and a SaaS business. With a loan book of around $280 million, Oxyzo, the company’s lending vertical, is the company’s second-largest business vertical. The SaaS vertical aids SMEs in the Indian and global industrial and infrastructure industries with online tender procurement.

Growth and achievements of OfBusiness:

The launch of its NBFC unit, OXYZO, in 2017 was indeed a breakthrough point for the company. The unicorn’s lending vertical is the unicorn’s second-largest business vertical, with a loan book of around $200 million. The company says to be growing four times faster than the industry average.

The fundraising function, according to the developers, has driven the startup’s development to the point where it is now, and this is a true turning moment for the company. Normally, the firm receives margins of 5-10%, but (mergers and acquisitions) may assist OfBusiness in increasing margins to the early teens, and finally closing in on the 20% level.

OfBusiness touts over 700,000 registered SMEs, a list of over 100 product categories, and promises to offer raw materials at the lowest prices. Additionally, OfBusiness works in 24+ states across India.

The organization currently serves 3000+ SMEs in India and has previously served 4500+ SMEs. It also has more than 50 financing partners. To date, OfBusiness has recorded disbursements in excess of 10,000 crores.

Competitors:

OfBusiness’ primary competitors include :

  • Funding Circle
  • Moglix
  • OnDeck
  • Zetwerk
  • Avant
  • Capital Float
  • InCred
  • SMEcorner
  • Infra Market
  • Black Knight

Impact of the pandemic:

The pandemic has proven disastrous for humankind as a whole. However, it has given several entrepreneurs, including OfBusiness, soar high. The SME ecosystem was disrupted, and liquidity was initially scarce. The infrastructure and flow of commodities were severely harmed, with conventional companies and traders bearing the brunt of the damage. However, OfBusiness believes that it was able to adapt because it moved quickly and ensured that its clients never had any problems obtaining resources in a timely manner.

 “This certainly helped us gain pole position in most of the products that we were aggregating,” says Nitin Jain.

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