Bangalore-based Refyne, an Earned Wage Access (EWA) platform for companies said it has raised $16 million in Series-A round from partners of RTP Global and DST Global. Less than a year old startup also disclosed that it had raised a $4.1 million in seed round in December from Jigsaw VC and QED Investors and XYZ Capital.

Founded during the Covid pandemic in Sep 2020, by Chitresh Sharma and Apoorv Kumar, Refyne is a mobile-first platform for employees of partner companies to manage their finances and discover innovative ways to spend, budget, track, and save their money.

Within a short period of its launch, Refyne claims to have partnered with almost 100 companies with over 300,000 employees in India, and are planing to cover more than 1 million workers this financial year. Some of the prominent brands the B2B2C startup has partnered with includes BMW, Rebel Foods, CARS24, Cafe Coffee Day, Chai Point, Hira Group, Wow! Momos, among several others.

Refyne works with employers to let their employees access their hard earned money in real time. An employee can check Refyne app and see how much they have earned in a week and withdraw a part of it anytime they wish.

Refyne is trying to solve the mid-month liquidity crunch, the other options for employees to access quick cash include payday loans or micro-credit schemes. However, these kind of options often carry predatory pricing, which further exacerbates employees’ debt obligations and mental wellness.

The concept is not new in the market, idea has already been tried by many major employers such as Uber and McDonald’s offering this flexibility to their workforce — but is yet to be tested in India

Co-Founder Chitresh Sharma, a third-time founder who returned to India to start Refyne, said the startup’s plug-and-play software is aimed at employers of all size, and the platform can prove beneficial to blue-collar as well as white-collar workers.

“The need for financial inclusion is more important today than ever before. As the first company in India to provide earned wage access, Refyne can revolutionise the way millions of workers manage their money. By providing a real, affordable alternative to payday loans, Refyne will not only improve a person’s financial health, but it will add control for the consumer and dramatically reduce the stress on those who worry about meeting their financial obligations,” said QED Investors managing partner and co-founder Nigel Morris in a statement. This is QED’s first investment in India.

With the fresh round of funds Refyne plans to deploy the capital to expand its tech team and accelerate its growth. By the end of the current financial year, it aims to serve 1 million employees in India.

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