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By Sandhya Michu

The idea of SarvaGram germinated from the words of Verghese Kurien: “India’s place in the sun would come from the partnership between the wisdom of its rural people and the skill of its professionals.” It is the execution of this idea that is now Utpal Isser’s passion. The co-founder, MD & CEO of this Mumbai-based fintech has spent most of his 20+ professional years understanding the different aspects of life in rural India.

SarvaGram operates through a household centric model of lending which treats the entire household as a cohesive economic unit, as against traditional underwriting models which assess individual income/paying capacity before sanctioning a loan. Since its inception in 2019, SarvaGram has served over 20,000 customers across three segment bases, namely farm, MSME and salaried. Its primary offerings are farm mechanisation services and loan options, including housing loans, gold loans, consumer durable loans, personal loans, farm loans, and business loans.

The loan amount starts from 1 lakh goes up to 25 lakh, except for gold and consumer durable loans, for which the loan amount can be less than Rs 1 lakh. Out of its total 20,000 customers, 10,000 are loan customers and 10,000, farm mechanisation customers.

Utpal Isser, co-founder, MD & CEO, SarvaGram

“It took us a year to reach our first 1,000 customers, back in 2019,” says Isser. “In 2022, we onboarded over 1,000 customers in under one month. At the end of the fiscal year 2021, the total loan disbursement figures stood at Rs 26.34 cr. This jumped by 6x and stood at Rs 157 crore at the end of fiscal 2022,” he says.

Currently, SarvaGram is operating in four states—Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Karnataka — through 50 branches and looks to scale this up to 500 in the next five years. The company’s technology platform completes loan applications, from sourcing to disbursement, within 7 days, and farm mechanisation orders are completed within a day.

“All types of advanced farm equipment are provided through our SarvaMitra system on a pay-per-use basis,” says Isser. The owner of the SarvaMitra franchisee is a local resident, trained and empowered by SarvaGram to facilitate credit access and farm mechanisation for MSMEs and agri-aligned entrepreneurs in the region. “Since the franchisee is a local resident , people feel confident about availing our services,” he concludes.

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Author: Howard Caldwell