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Indian fintech unicorn Slice acquires stake in a bank

Slice has acquired a 5% stake in the Indian bank North East Small Finance in what analysts say is a key step in the unicorn fintech startup's journey amid mounting challenges from the central bank that has toppled many young firms.

The Bengaluru-headquartered startup invested $3.42 million for the 5% stake in the Guwahati-headquartered small finance bank in September, a regulatory filing showed.

The investment comes at a time when the Reserve Bank of India has clipped the wings of many fintech startups operating in cards and lending categories by mandating strict compliance with stringent new guidelines.

It’s unclear how a stake in a bank, admittedly a rare and ostensibly significant milestone by a startup, would be immediately beneficial to Slice, a $1.55 billion startup that counts Tiger Global, Insight Partners, Blume Ventures and Axis Bank among its backers.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.