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Blume Ventures-Backed Leverage Edu Launches FlyFinance

Startup's Fly finance primarily focuses on student remittances and education loans, both as platform-play. The company is also aiming to launch a debit card

Blume Ventures-Backed Leverage Edu Launches FlyFinance
Blume Ventures-Backed Leverage Edu Launches FlyFinance

Study Abroad platform LeverageEdu, which started with helping students for college admissions in international universities, has now received its FFMC license from the RBI, said founder & CEO Akshay Chaturvedi. Fly.finance (the brand under which Leverage Edu is building its financial services business), was started earlier this year. It primarily focuses on student remittances and education loans, both as platform-play. The company has hit a transactions processed value (TPV) of ₹135 Cr on forex, while facilitating education loans worth over ₹280Cr this Fall Intake. Rachit Juneja, previously with Blume Ventures, operationally leads the unit. Akshay Chaturvedi added, “we have been building finance ground-up not as a business but as a “student need” that can enhance our customer’s experience - first starting with ‘Scholarships’ that became a massive hit, & then formally launching lending and forex this year.” LeverageEdu has opened access to a pool of over $1.6 billion in financial aid to over 100,000 students within its community, housed on the “Study Abroad with Leverage Edu” mobile app. It also launched a ₹5Cr scholarship from its own corpus last year, extended to ₹7Cr this year. “On student lending, our lens like all other things is student-first, so we have not had an NBFC or own-balance-sheet approach so far, rather dedicating efforts to finding the best possible deal for the student. We help students band together as a group and negotiate reduced student loan rates by essentially acting as a collective bargaining unit with banks”, Chaturvedi added. “It’s a community-first approach that we have seen across other industries: provide a fantastic experience on your core service, let people trust and recognize you, and then introduce them to products or services using a language that resonates.” Juneja adds that the student lending unit spends most of its time in the run-up to the next intake, and then “spend about two months in this auction process across lenders.” The company always has the right incentives to get the best prices for students. Importantly, no student is obligated to take the final loan as negotiated by Fly.finance by LeverageEdu. But, if the company is doing its job, then the offered loan should be competitive with any alternative loan on the market. “We still encourage students to compare it against other products, and if they find anything that is better than what we’ve found, to just let us know. The focus today is on finding the right partners who can help us have students win,” says Chaturvedi. On the Scholarships front, LeverageEdu is targeting to unlock more than $1 billion in declared scholarship money across the next couple intakes. In contrast to some of its peers who are more vertically aligned on student lending, Foreign Remittance is where LeverageEdu is doubling down, the hard-won FFMC license from the central bank showcasing that focus. Speaking on the same, Chaturvedi says, “a solid forex business helps us unlock a lot of what we want to do in the future, as this student graduates, looks for a job, pays rent, and so on. Till last quarter, we were primarily doing B2C forex via third-party license holders, growing at 50-70 percent month on month; now, we have also begun approaching this from the University-end, helping institutions with fee acceptance across borders.” The company is aiming to close FY23 with $200Mn annualised TPV. The startup is also aiming to launch a debit card focused on students going to the UK, which has been its primary destination market, later this year. Here, it will make money through interchange fees. In the future, Fly by LeverageEdu wants to create a suite of products that students can pay to access, including more hands-on advisor consultations or personalised banking features. “You could think of us as a boutique Global Bank for Immigrants over the next few years, we want to do whatever it takes to get them to a better life”, says Chaturvedi.


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