January, 24, 2017

This Suffix Called ‘Tech’

Recently, I had a very interesting conversation with a veteran banker and former CEO of a bank, on India’s startup ecosystem. The topic of conversation was the ‘tech’ suffix – foodtech, mediatech, insurancetech, fintech, healthtech, etc. – that entrepreneurs, investors and, of course, the media, seem to add to various sectors.

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Focus on greater transaction experience

Nirvana and Faering Capital India-backed Transerv, a payments enabler, was setup with the goal of building unique payments experience which not only facilitates payments but also delivers convenience and engagement to the consumer. Its goal for now remains consolidating its services and maintaining profitability through sustainable operations.

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A discounted investing platform

RKSV, the discount brokerage, has now rebranded itself to Upstox, and the founders have launched a low-cost, mobile-first stock trading platform. Shortly, the company wants to foray into mutual funds and also service the NRI market.

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The bot platform

Senseforth.ai’s intelligent action bots also perform tasks, resolve issues and make the right product recommendations besides answering queries.

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A grassroots approach to saving

By addressing the fundamental problems of traditional investment methods through transparency and simplification of investments, Tauro Wealth is inculcating the habit of online investment in the stock market amongst India's young population.

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Going beyond the common man

While Suvidhaa initially began by creating s-commerce boutiques to serve India’s common man, today it has introduced a host of fintech services, in partnership with leading banks and NBFCs, such as prepaid card programs for merchants and customers, nano-credits for merchants and mPOS and the Standard (Traditional) POS terminals for B2B customers.

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The Razorpay Story

RazorPay is an online payment gateway that allows merchants to collect payments through credit/debit card, net banking, or wallets such as MobiKwik, Freecharge, PayU and the like.

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Seeing through it all clearly

Set up with transparency as its core policy, PolicyBazaar.com is an online insurance comparison portal that has sold about Rs.1000 crore of premium since its inception in 2008. Over the next four years, the company aims to take this number to Rs.10,000 crores.

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Bringing simplicity into PoS Systems

Pine Labs provides retail PoS solutions which simplify payment acceptance (for merchants), while also offering a host of features to benefit the issuer, merchant, brand and customers.

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“We believe our biggest competitor is cash.”

Paynear Solutions, a transactions processing company which builds solutions for payment processing, customer and store management, aims to serve more than one million merchants and process billions of transactions in the coming years.

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Paying attention to unit economics

Omidyar Network, IIFL Seed Ventures, Khosla Ventures and Aspada Investment Company funded NeoGrowth facilitates digital lending to consumer facing small businesses and aims to build a sustainable competitive advantage around achieving scale, favourable unit economics and superior customer experience.

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A Universal Investment Gateway

Aditya Birla Money’s MyUniverse allows the customers to track all their money in one place, get advice on what to do with the money and convert the advice to action, essentially transacting in a paperless manner.

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The automated financial advisor

MoneyView was initially designed as an app to help customers manage their finance by displaying expense and income-related information, bill payment reminders and similar features on a single platform. Now, it’s introducing newer features such as using customer data to understand their finance management patterns and recommend savings-related schemes with low risk profile that they can invest in.

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How MobiKwik serves 40 million end users

MobiKwik, an Indian wallet major with a network of over 2,50,000 direct merchants and 40 million users, is taking strong strides towards realising its vision of digitalising India and head towards a cashless economy.

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Carving A Niche in Online SME Lending

Lendingkart has developed a doctrine for credit comfort, wherein, it has identified proxies to evaluate a borrower, to enable online lending of up to Rs. 10 lakh for Indian SMEs. It counts its key differentiations to be a focus on simplicity (in application), up to 72-hour window to process loan disbursement, flexible repayment and renewal terms and minimal human intervention.

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India’s first invoice discounting platform

Kredx, founded by experienced bankers, is betting on a financial product based on ‘receivables’, to help SMEs get collateral-free working capital.

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Reducing friction in MSME Lending

Alok Mittal, the entrepreneur-turned-VC-turned-entrepreneur, wants to use big data to reduce friction and inefficiencies in the process of lending to MSMEs. At a macro level, he believes Indify and several companies of its ilk will play a crucial role in reducing the MSME financing gap in the country.

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Breaking the digital divide

IFMR Holdings sees technology as the means to product innovation that will change the way the underserved customer views and accesses finance in India.

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Expense management for enterprise customers

Angel Prime-backed Happay, a business expense management solutions company, aims to take its product deeper into the B2B segment and handle all their expense management needs. It also plans to onboard around 10,000 businesses in the next two years.

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Improving credit delivery in India

Ribbit Capital and Omidyar Network funded ZestMoney is a technology company that facilitates EMI payment option for products purchased online or offline through its partner merchants without the need for a credit card.

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Transforming into a payments bank

Incubated by ICICI Bank, FinoPaytech is a payments technology company that pioneered biometrics smart card solutions that helped banks, MFIs and other financial institutions identify customers and facilitate financial transactions in remote rural areas. By Q4 2016-17, the company expects to transform into a payments bank.

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The peer-to-peer lending platform

Faircent founder Rajat Gandhi got the idea that peer-to-peer lending would work, thanks to observing a colleague buy a bullet by borrowing credit from a bunch of friends. Today, Faircent processes over Rs. 1 crore worth of loans per month, all through peer-to-peer lending.

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The Electronic Payment Network

Aavishkar, Apis Partners and Asia Participation B.V-funded Electronic Payment and Services is a prominent retail banking technology and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) services provider. Since incorporation, the company has grown steadily and aims to focus on ATM deployment and related services and expand its ATM services portfolio to 15,000 machines by 2017.

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The integrated payment acceptance platform

Targeted at retailers, Ezetap’s plug and play device is creating a universal payment solution to adapt to any existing or newer payment methods that may arise in the market.

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Breaking the silos

Founded by a team that was part of the products division of Infosys Technologies, Customer XPS, aims to help banks identify frauds real-time and helps them take preventive action.

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Determining Your Financial Merit

CreditVidya was initially founded to use traditional and alternate credit insights from 10,000+ data points of each customer (borrower), to arrive at a credit score for lenders, typically banks & NBFCs, to base their decisions on. In the near future, it aims to extend its proprietary technology to serve other verticals such as e-wallets, insurance companies and ecommerce firms.

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Covering all the angles

Accel & SAIF-backed Coverfox, an online insurance portal that sells general insurance products, has understood that the only way to fuel the growth in this sector is by making it extremely transparent to understand and easy to transact. With this built into its solution, the company is all set to touch Rs. 1,000 crore in premium billing by 2019.

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The Business of E-Tax Filing

ClearTax was initially founded with a goal of making tax filings easy for individuals, SMBs and large corporations. However, currently, with a million end users and 20,000 CAs and employees using its service, it is now introducing a slew of B2B and B2C products such as helping users maximise tax savings and aiding startups in filing for incorporation at ease.

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Attention to detail, the key

Citrus Payments, which was recently acquired by Naspers-owned PayU, offers a range of digital payment solutions with detailed reporting and analytics especially for merchants. Jitendra Gupta, the founder believes that, attention to the finer needs of merchants and consumers is critical to winning their loyalty.

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Scaling up digital lending

Capital Float is an online lending platform which provides collateral-free working capital loans to small-time entrepreneurs, with a focus on Tier II and Tier III regions as well.

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Easy Access to Foreign Exchange

Bookmyforex.com has a slew of offerings related to foreign exchange, aimed at making travelling abroad easy for Indians.

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Deal makers go digital

With its mid-market deal origination platform, BankerBay aims to challenge the traditional means by which capital is sought world over. Currently, it brokers over 600 deals a month and has recently entered the Chinese market.

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Making BFSI software agile

Founded by Kalpesh Desai, the former COO of 3i Infotech EMEA, Agile Financial Technologies (Agile FT) has made a serious dent on the InsuranceTech segment, thanks to the domain expertise of its founder.

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A chatbot for banks

Founded by banking veterans, Active.ai wants to enable better customer experience for banks using artificial intelligence

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A retail platform for mutual funds

Faering Capital-backed Funds India is a platform focused on mutual funds for retail investors. It is all set to expand its customer reach across the country and plans to enhance its service offerings especially using mobile platforms and seeks to grow its market share from the current two per cent to 15 per cent over the next five years.

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Financing the ‘Missing Middle’

Vistaar Financial Services is striving to create financial inclusion for the ‘missing middle’, typically family businesses run by entrepreneurs who deal with cash. So far, it has disbursed Rs. 1,100 crore in loans to over a lakh customers through 200 centres across India.

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The Fintech Wave

Every one of the 35 fintech entrepreneurs we spoke to, is bridging a gap in two segments; for MSMEs, the glaring gap in availability of finance, and for consumers, improving penetration of basic financial products. But, how conducive is the Indian ecosystem to support this growth?

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“Opportunity lies in using technology and innovation to deliver financial services that can increase adoption and expand the market itself”

Bala Srinivasa, Partner, Kalaari Capital, helps us understand the nuances of the fintech sector and the various opportunities available for the entrepreneurs.

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Zoho, Now Built From Rural India

At a day-long tete-a-tete during the launch of Zoho Desk at Tenkasi, its co-founder Sridhar Vembu uncovers the entrepreneur, the strategist, and the Buddhist in him.

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The KPO with a difference

Sathya Kumar R, founder & CEO, Techindia Infoway, started his entrepreneurial journey in 2000 building custom ERP software applications for clients in manufacturing and healthcare. In early 2003, a serendipitous meeting with a client in the US, who was building a sleep lab, enabled him to transform Techindia into a healthcare management services firm. Today, the company employs over 600 people and serves clients in the U.S., Japan, Canada and Australia offering high-end, ‘near real-time’ cardiac monitoring, sleep disorder monitoring, EEG/EMG, clinical trials and highly specialized e-ICU and e-Nurse support. Sathya, who is also an active angel investor, is media shy and spends most of his time in the world of healthcare and disruptive technology. We convinced him to share his journey for Smart CEO’s Hidden Gem series, which tracks profitable, growth companies that are often away from the glare of mainstream media.

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Where can I get ideas?

The author believes that ideas are everywhere. It is up to us to pick, choose, adapt and implement – all towards the outlier-marketing goal of achieving the set business objectives.

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