HDFC Bank Wants To Become The Go-To Lender For Startups
A customer exits an HDFC Bank branch in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

HDFC Bank Wants To Become The Go-To Lender For Startups

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Private sector lender HDFC Bank Ltd. aims to be a dominant and go-to bank for startups, according to an official.

Close to 9,000 startups are currently banking with HDFC Bank, Smita Bhagat, country head for government and institutional business, e-commerce and start-ups at HDFC Bank, said in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

The bank now has dedicated "SmartUp" zones in 70 branches in 30 cities across India.

"Through the SmartUp programme, we are already engaging with startup community to partner with them in their entrepreneurial journey using smart financial tools, advisory services and technology", Bhagat said. "We also have a platform where the startups can register themselves and sell their products to our own customers.”

HDFC Bank on Tuesday disbursed SmartUp grants totalling Rs 5 crore to 20 Bengaluru-based startups working in the social sector. With this, the lender has now given a total of Rs 14 crore in grants to 60 startups over the past three years. "We hope to take this number to 100 by the end of the next financial year", Bhagat said.

These grants have been offered under the aegis of 'Parivartan', the umbrella name for the bank’s social initiatives. The lender works through incubators such as IIT Kanpur, T-Hub, KIIT TBI, Villgro, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore and BITS Pilani to identify startups in the social sector. It has signed MoUs with several state governments to support the start-up ecosystem in those states, she said.

"We would like to be a dominant bank and go-to bank for all the startups and start-up community", Bhagat said.

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