Q1: What current investments does BII hold?

BII recently invested USD 3.5 Million into Mintoak for an equity stake of 3.02%.

Q2: What is Mintoak?

Mintoak is a one stop payments and financial services platform for SMEs. The platform aims to empower SMEs starting with Omni Channel Payments, providing value added services to grow business followed by opening seamless access to financial services.

SME Financial Inclusion is a Global Problem

Small and Medium sized Enterprises (“SMEs”) are integral to every economy, more so in case of growing economies. They account for 25-50% of GDP across emerging markets and more important employ a disproportionately large part of the work force in respective countries. Ironically, inspite of their contribution to most economies, they continue to be largely excluded from the organized financial landscape. While there has been significant interest across stakeholders including financial institutions to solve for inclusion, the micro nature of the segment makes the traditional approaches to access the customers commercially unviable.

Modern Day Technology is solving the Access Challenge

The acceleration of smartphones and data is easing access across geographies. Leading fintechs across the globe are leveraging apps on smartphones to deliver traditional products like payments and lending.

Trust Deficit in the SME Segment restricting Acceleration

While tech companies (including fintechs) have solved for access, the delivery of financial services warrants an element of trust that has not reached the desired comfort levels for SMEs to avail them from such stakeholders. Traditional banks have over a period of time generate trust but these institutions have struggled to adopt new age agile and nimble tech due to their legacy infrastructure. We have an ecosystem with fintechs possessing the requisite nimble technology but lacking trust to deliver solutions and trust worthy banks struggling with technology required for efficient delivery. As a result, the financial inclusion problem continues to remain unaddressed.

Mintoak solves the problem

Mintoak has built a modularized, cloud-native, API-first payments and financial services that integrates with banking partners, allowing them to deploy and rapidly scale value-added services (payments, lending, and engagement) to their tens of millions of SME customers. As a result, the SME gets a competitive tech platform to avail payments and financial services at economical pricing delivered by a partner they trust. The white labelled SaaS platform is used by some of the largest banks in India, Middles East and Africa to ringfence and monetize their respective SME relationships. The platform currently serves over 1.5 million merchants across leading banks in India - HDFC Bank, SBI, and YES Bank.



Q3: What due diligence does BII undertake prior to making investment decisions and how does this compare with best practice?

While BII has invested into Mintoak recently, our engagement with them started almost 2 years ago when one of their investee funds Pravega joined our cap-table. Over the last two years we have met (virtual calls and in person interactions) BII almost on a quarterly basis. Conversations started from familiarizing the team about the platform and go-to-market and gradually evolved to progress and new opportunities within the SME space. These interactions were then supplemented with merchant visits and partner bank meetings to understand their interests and if/how Mintoak is catering to the same. All these interactions over the last two years helped BII build conviction that Mintoak is adequately addressing a large unsolved opportunity by combining trust with tech and making SME the eventual winner.


Q4: How effectively does BII manage funds following its initial investment?

It took BII two years to assess Mintoak and build conviction but we at Mintoak were also clear on the kind of investors we wanted on our cap-table. We are a profitable start-up and hence have had the luxury of being selective about our investors. Having demonstrated initial success on the platform through scale and engagement, we were looking for investors who could open up access to banks and financial institutions in other emerging markets like Africa. BII with it’s relevant connects fit the bill completely. To our benefit BII had already started helping us with the access even before they invested. Their ‘Innovation for Impact’ conference in Cairo in early September 2022 helped us connect with start-ups working in Africa and in the process understand the market nuances as well. This was followed by introductions with the Geography leads who are now working with us to connect with their partner banks and tech entities (like Safaricom) that could potentially use our platform. We expect this to be a continuous engagement and are confident of the partnership delivering the desired outcome.


Q5: How does BII evaluate the impact of its investments?

The dialogue with BII continues to be a recurring one. Beyond conversations we have had folks from the BII team do market visits and meet up with merchants to understand the impact of our approach in solving the real pain points for SMEs. The market visits not only help validate the impact we are making to the lives of SMEs but also allows BII to complement our thought process on accentuating/ accelerating the financial inclusion journey