Half of the 12 million autorickshaw drivers in India operate a rented vehicle. They lose more than 60 per cent of their daily revenues to leasing and fuel costs, which lock them in a cycle of financial distress. Low income and strict lending requirements of traditional banks prevent autorickshaw drivers from acquiring their own autorickshaw and becoming asset owners.
Three Wheels United (TWU) is a non‑bank financing company (NBFC) that developed a credit assessment and payment collection platform that enables them to finance unbanked autorickshaw drivers without requiring collateral. TWU focuses on electric autorickshaw lending. Compared to the income of drivers who lease traditional rickshaws, TWU’s clients operate their own electric rickshaws and are retain more than 75 per cent of their daily income.
ADB Ventures SEED grant aims to support the financing of at least 100 electric autorickshaws, the design of a lending model for electric autorickshaws in India, and facilitate at least USD 300,000 in pre‑Series A investment.
TWU is an Indian company that became a licensed NBFC in 2019. The company uses data captured from borrower interactions digitally and in‑person, and through telematics in the vehicles to assess the borrowers that are able and willing to pay. Since then, it has financed more than 4000 vehicles, reduced more than 172,000 tonnes of CO2, and generated USD 71 million in additional income, while achieving a less than one per cent default rate.