E-commerce fintech SellersFi secured a $300 million credit facility from Citi, as the U.S. bank is seeing to up its stake in e-commerce and SME lending, leveraging the increasing popularity of alternative payment trends.
This startup provides working capital and cash management tools to SMEs worldwide, applying Artificial Intelligence to power its credit scoring models. Unlike other lending fintechs that cater to a wide range of businesses, including brick and mortar, SellersFi solely focuses on e-commerce—a domain experiencing significant growth and marked by new payment trends.
“This is an important milestone in this macro environment, and we are thrilled to welcome Citi as a strategic investor,” said Ricardo Pero, co-founder and CEO of SellersFi, in a statement. “It will enable us to answer the financing needs of thousands of e-commerce businesses.”
Citi was the senior lender on the deal, but other existing investors at SellersFi – venture capital firms Fasanara Capital and Northzone – also took part.
E-commerce is a key growth sector
Formerly known as SellersFunding, the fintech claims it successfully allocates loans by harnessing AI and a proprietary customer database, extending up to seven years in some instances. On a global scale, e-commerce marketplaces have increasingly used their internal customer data to assess credit risk. This practice has empowered technology companies to enhance lending options for their customers, even amid concerns about rising interest rates this year and the looming risks of a global recession.
“This collaboration strengthens our ability to meet the dynamic needs of our clients,” said CFO Abhi Chakraborty in a statement. “We are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead and are confident that this partnership will pave the way for continued growth.”
“Embracing innovation and fostering growth in the rapidly evolving financial landscape is essential for Citi to continue serving the ever-changing needs of its clients,” said Mickey Bhatia, Head of Global Spread Products at Citi, in a statement. The bank’s executives said the SellersFi investment was part of a strategy to set foot in “key growth sectors” such as online commerce.
BNPL is growing in e-commerce
Buy Now Pay Later, or BNPL, has become a significant tool in the online space. It is gaining relevance on the global stage, presenting a modern iteration of traditional financing. This method allows users to stagger their payments over time, becoming an attractive choice for online purchases.
A recent survey showed that BNPL is gaining users across a broad range of U.S. consumers, ranging from the financially vulnerable to the more affluent, thanks to its user-friendly nature. Nearly 30% of customers used it at least once in the last 90 days. While this is still modest compared to other payment methods, such as credit (66%), debit cards (78%), or cash (74%), BNPL is still gaining significant market share. And the opportunity for BNPL in B2B e-commerce is still largely untapped.
In a press release, the company said it was using the proceeds to develop new product offerings and invest in technology.