British SMB fintech platform Tide is planning to launch in India in the first quarter of this year, as part of its strategy for international expansion.

Tide is eyeing a pilot launch in the first quarter and a wider national launch later this year. The firm already has an office in Hyderabad, India, where more than 100 software programmers are employed.

For the present expansion, Tide is said to have incorporated a local subsidiary, with the new team expected to be based in Gurgaon.

The company had selected India for its first international launch due to its significant market opportunities. The British fintech has a long-term aim to operate in markets accounting for 25% of global small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Business Standard reported.

Tide CEO Oliver Prill said: “India was selected as our first market outside the UK due to its vast SME population, and the entrepreneurial spirit that is so prevalent in the country. As an aspiring global business financial platform operating in the largest SME market is a must.

“As a company, we already know India well and we are confident that Tide can adapt to make business banking better for Indian SMEs. With investment and the expertise Tide already has in the country, we can help underserved SMEs thrive.”

The country is home to over 63 million SMEs, and according to Tide, the ‘digitally-savvy companies’ that are vital for the country’s economy are underserved by the banks. Hence, the selection of India for international expansion.

Financial technology is said to have been flourishing in India recently amid digitisation efforts from the government and high smartphone penetration.

The Indian unit will be led by a former PayU senior executive Gurjodhpal Singh. The two teams in Gurgaon and Hyderabad are expected to rapidly support the growth of Tide in the country.

Gurjodhpal Singh will be supported by Prill and chief technical officer Guy Duncan, in the expansion process.