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The Story of CRED

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

The credit process has been completely revolutionized with increased modernization and development brought about by the 21st century. Society nowadays has become overly dependent on credit for their day-to-day needs and for undertaking major investment decisions. But at the same time, no one likes paying huge credit card bills every month.

This is where the fintech startup CRED jumped in. Founded in 2018 by Kunal Shah, the startup, through its innovative and forward-looking approach has made the credit process better by rewarding its customers for paying their credit card bills. The startup is continuously progressing and has started making headways into new business verticals as well to ensure the continued success of the startup over the long term.

But what’s the story behind this unconventional startup entering the coveted unicorn club in only a short span of 2 years? Listed below are the main reasons responsible for its success.

The Founder

The founder of CRED is Kunal Shah, a philosophy graduate from Wilson College, Mumbai. He further went on to pursue MBA from NMIMS, Mumbai but later on dropped out of the course to venture towards his entrepreneurial journey to success.

He is a multi-talented person who has served as an advisory to the board of Bennett Coleman & Co Limited, Y Combinator, and Sequoia Capital India over the years. Not only that, but he has also served as the chairman of the Internet and Mobile Association of India from 2015-2017.

Apart from founding CRED, he has been responsible for the formation of various other startups like PaisaBack and Freecharge. Currently, alongside managing CRED he works as a part-time angel investor and mentor for growing startups across the Asia-pacific region.

The Thought Process

The founder of CRED, Kunal Shah has talked a lot about how he came up with the idea of CRED in the past. With his first venture, Freecharge being sold to Snapdeal in 2015, he had a lot of free time on his hands to come up with ideas for his next venture. He utilized the time by travelling and exploring the business environment and cultures in developed nations all over the world. He was impressed by the level of transparency maintained and the trust of the public in the businesses. This led to the establishment of CRED as a way of rewarding the honest and trustworthy consumers within the society.


Over the course of its eight investment rounds, CRED has raised a total of $722.2 million in capital. On October 19, 2021, the firm witnessed its most recent Series E investment round, which was co-led by its previous investors, Tiger Global and Falcon Edge, and was valued at roughly $251 million. Other investors in the Series E round of funding included DST Global, Insight Partners, Coatue, Sofina, RTP, and Dragoneer. Meanwhile, CRED has added two new investors to its portfolio: Marshall Wace of London and Steadfast Venture Capital.

Following the completion of its investment round on October 19, 2021, the firm was valued at $4.01 billion.

Revenue Model

The startup was formed with the main objective of gaining a wide consumer base and later on expanding to make profits. Currently, the startup has most of its revenue coming from the sale of financial data of its users to various financial institutions and users of such information. These institutions and businesses pay a fee to the startup for accessing this data. Further on, it provides businesses with a chance to list out their products and services on the platform for customers to view.

The startup, at the same time, is working towards generating profits and monetizing the platform by adding various services like CRED Mint and CRED Cash. These services provide the customers with the chance to invest their idle money at an above-average market interest rate without any penalties and avail credit lines of up to ₹5,00,000 no forms, documents, phone calls or physical visits necessary.

Marketing Strategy

CRED marketed strongly throughout the 2020 IPL competition and enlisted the help of some of the finest stars from the past to promote the product. Everyone was pushing for the product, from singing superstar Bappi Lahiri to Bollywood icons Madhuri Dixit, Govinda, and Anil Kapoor. In just two years, CRED was able to secure 20% of the most affluent customers. These are the kinds of company indicators that attract investors, and they want to be a part of such a success story.


In conclusion, the above-mentioned factors coupled with the grit and determination of the founder, Kunal Shah have propelled CRED to great heights. Despite not making any money at the moment and aiming to facilitate personal loans in collaboration with banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), CRED has become a buzzing phenomenon in recent months, owing largely to the IPL, and has intrigued and piqued the interest of many in the audience. Its success story serves as an inspiration to business models of rising startups all over the world.

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