Pepper Advantage doubles India portfolio and expands AI/ML services post Rieom.ai acquisition

Mr. Mukund Kulkarni, CEO, Pepper Advantage India

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], August 26:  Pepper Advantage, a global credit intelligence provider and leader in the credit management, risk management, and data analytics sector, has added an Artificial Intelligence edge to its services with the acquisition of Rieom.ai, launched in May this year. With the acquisition of the AI-driven credit management software platform, Pepper Advantage can now add a predictive, pre-payout, credit approval tool to its suite of products and is firmly positioned to continue its steep upward growth trajectory.

The acquisition also supports Pepper Advantage’s plans to launch its AI-driven credit management model across Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The Pepper Group has an existing presence in mature markets like Australia, the UK, Europe, South Korea, Japan and South-East Asia. Pepper Advantage will combine global and local skills along with its experience and data-driven approach to collections and credit management to secure next-level growth for Indian businesses, empowering Indians to increase financial wellbeing.

The company has already established strategic hubs across major cities in India that include Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Ahmedabad, with upcoming hubs in Kolkata, Lucknow and Kochi. Future plans include the expansion of its applicable market in India to include Fintech, Microfinance Companies, Small Finance Businesses, Co-Operative Banks, Insurance, and Government Institutions to manage and service their credit portfolios, with a focus on clients who help underserved communities. Specifically, Retail and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) are currently contributing more than 40% to Pepper Advantage’s client portfolio. MSME, a highly vibrant and dynamic sector of Indian economy, is actively embracing Fintech within their operations to help increase productivity and product demand.

Commenting on the rapid growth, Mr. Mukund Kulkarni, CEO, Pepper Advantage India, said, “The gross Non-Performing Assets within the Indian banking system are currently estimated at almost USD 85 billion (INR 7 Lakh Crore). Pepper Advantage is well placed to grow in this space as we are one of the only providers that offers comprehensive end-to-end financial services solutions, catering to the diverse needs of banks and non-bank lenders, significantly minimizing risk and optimizing credit assessments. Our offering has helped us add 17 prominent financial services clients in India over the past year to our growing portfolio, and we are on track to add another 5 to 6 clients by the end of the fiscal year (March 2024). This success emphasizes the critical role that credit management and risk assessment services play in mitigating financial risks for lenders.”

The credit management sector in India has seen a surge in demand for outsourced services such as KYC verification, credit score checks, collection activities, and legal support in NPA management, with more than 200 million loan applications processed annually from banks, NBFCs, and microfinance companies. Amidst this flourishing market, Pepper Advantage has successfully provided a one-stop-shop for credit management and collection, master and back-up servicing, investment processes and transaction advisory services. The company’s dedication to providing leading technology and efficient services has resulted in an impressive 200% growth in its assets under management (AUM) within a year.

Pepper Advantage’s key differentiator lies in its state-of-the-art technology that integrates advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. This technology empowers lenders to make data-driven decisions and significantly reduces the risk associated with falsified documents by helping to identify potential frauds during the loan underwriting process. Pepper Advantage also supports financial institutions in the proper execution and usage of this technology at every stage of the loan process and provides a 360 degree end-to-end solution in mitigating the variety of fraud risks. As of now, there is no other company in India that can provide such a diverse range of solutions, all under one roof.

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