Bhavik Vasa is the founder of GetVantage, an alternative funding platform based in Mumbai that provides startups revenue-based financing (RBF), where entrepreneurs don’t need to dilute equity or pay interest. GetVantage makes money through one flat fee that’s charged as a share of future revenues. As the global tech downturn slows traditional venture capital funding, RBF is emerging as a quicker model for entrepreneurs to finance their startups. Direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands have been the primary driver for RBF, which is estimated to be a $100 billion opportunity in India by 2025, according to Avendus Capital.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Can you explain what revenue-based financing is and how you came up with the idea? 

Revenue-based financing (RBF) is a type of capital-raising method in which investors agree to provide capital to a company in exchange for a percentage share of the company’s future revenues. This model doesn’t require the founder of the company to dilute equity, give up board seats, pay interest, or put up any collateral. We provide a data-driven, unbiased, founder-friendly fundraising alternative to traditional financing that enables entrepreneurs to access up to 10 crore rupees [$1.2 million] in as fast as five days. As a result, revenue-based financing is a hugely popular equity-free, alt-VC model today that is fast becoming a preferred choice for founders globally.

While scaling operations and increasing visibility for ItzCash as their chief growth officer, I came across the “ad for equity model,” a barter deal where media houses take a certain stake in companies in return for advertising and promotions on their platform. When I quit EbixCash to go on a personal break, the thought of providing alternative financing to startups, for plans that would directly impact and improve their bottom line, kept lingering. Less than a year later, one of my dear friends and now chief growth officer at GetVantage, Karun Arya, pushed me to follow my passion and dream to build a company. Thus, GetVantage was born. 

At what stage in a startup’s journey should founders turn to RBF? 

RBF is revenue-first and founder-friendly by design. RBF is a great addition to the capital stack of any modern business that is revenue-generating. RBF has become a “go-to” funding option at every step in the growth journey of a company, whether you are seed stage or series B, as it allows a business owner to invest in growth without diluting ownership. We’re already seeing tens of thousands of founders in India who are clamoring for RBF, and we expect even stronger demand in the coming years.

What are the common misconceptions about RBF among founders? 

There are gaps in awareness and understanding of the model. Many founders confuse it with equity capital, EMI-based financing, time-bound repayment, high interest rates, collateralised and having less flexibility. But in reality, RBF is none of this. RBF, via platforms like GetVantage, makes funding frictionless. No paperwork. No equity dilution. No interest. No board seats. No collateral. Once people understand how RBF works, there’s no looking back. 

Does RBF become more attractive amid the current funding slump?

Absolutely! Investors and founders both are looking to diversify into more robust opportunities like RBF provides. RBF has seen explosive growth globally in the last 18–24 months, as over 30 new companies have emerged, raising in excess of $2.5 billion. For investors, RBF is rapidly creating itself as a new asset class. Importantly, founders around the world are moving to alternate financing options that are non-dilutive. We onboarded over 9,000 businesses on our platform in 2022 and helped over 450 small and medium enterprises access between 10 lacs rupees ($122,00) and 10 crore rupees ($1.2 million).

Can you tell us about one of the most impactful uses of RBF by an Indian startup? 

A couple of interesting examples are brands like Rage Coffee and Urban Monkey. Rage Coffee was one of our first customers over two years ago. They were a small direct-to-consumer coffee brand, and we were able to help them secure a small quantum of equity-free working capital at the time. Since then, we’ve facilitated multiple follow-on rounds of significantly larger quantums that have enabled the company to launch more product lines, expand into more markets and platforms, undergo a complete rebranding exercise, and bring aboard one of the most iconic superstars of cricket, Virat Kohli, as a brand ambassador. 

Urban Monkey has been a vibrant Indian streetwear brand that has been on a strong growth trajectory. Last year, they appeared on Shark Tank India, where founder Yash Gangwal turned down an offer from the sharks because he believed their equity investment offer seriously undervalued his business. Shortly after, we became a strategic investment partner to Urban Monkey and have since given them multiple rounds of working capital.