Tata Trusts chairman Ratan Tata, Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekanian, and chairman of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy Vijay Kelkar have joined forces to set up a technology-enabled microfinance firm.

Branded as Avanti Finance, the new firm will apply to the Reserve Bank of India for registration in the coming days, and is expected to commence operations before the end of the financial year.

The new company aims to leverage social sector presence of Tata Trusts’ and other like-minded partners and the rapidly-evolving India Stack (Jan Dhan – Aadhar – Mobile), UPI and payments bank ecosystem to offer affordable and customised credit to the under-served and un-served customer segments in India. 

Commenting on the initiative, Tata Trusts said: “The promoters strongly believe that the institutional inequalities and information asymmetries are depriving the target customer segment of access to affordable credit.

“The target customer segment over the last few years has displayed very low delinquency rates compared to any other customer segment, but still is charged the highest rate of interest. Avanti's primary objective is to make a difference in this sphere thereby enhancing the prosperity in these communities.”

Tata and Nilekani will bring their investments from their respective philanthropic capital, with gains from the business to be put into philanthropic causes.

"Avanti will be a platform to impact the poor through credit at individual and community levels to create a lasting improvement in their livelihoods and standard of living, ushering prosperity. I am thankful to Dr Kelkar and Nandan for agreeing to be part of this purpose driven initiative," Ratan Tata said.