May, 25, 2017
A Universal Investment Gateway
19 Jan
2017
Posted by Madhumita Prabhakar

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.

Aditya Birla Money’s MyUniverse, founded in 2012, caters to the consumer side of personal finance management. In other words, the app 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.

Currently headed by Rahul Parikh, the company has thus far signed three million customers on board, with overall aggregated money touching over US $3 billion. “We are now developing a mobile app which will help users simplify personal finance, get personalised advice on investments and transact on the platform, all at once,” shares Parikh.


“The lack of a clear, consolidated picture of a customer’s finances and the abysmal penetration of wealth generating financial products exposed a large opportunity in terms of expanding the known financial services market, by serving this large, under-served, digitally native category.”


Where It All Began

The idea for a business such as this arose when the company held a consumer research to identify why, despite Indians being great savers and the growth of the Indian economy contributing to increasing household incomes (over the past decade), it has not resulted in wealth creation for many. “We identified three possible causes for why many still preferred to invest in Fixed Deposits, Gold and Real Estate, instead of in wealth creating instruments like Mutual Funds and Stocks,” adds Parikh. A primary cause was the lack of a clear, consolidated picture of his/her finances: how much one is spending, where one can save, and the best place to invest. Secondly, although India is seeing a rise in digital young native Indians, traditional wealth management and financial advisors still prefer to serve the HNIs, usually in the age group of 40 to 45. “This, combined with the abysmal penetration of wealth generating financial products, exposed a large opportunity in terms of expanding the known financial services market, by serving this large, under-served, digitally native category,” explains he.

So, how does it work?

Typically, a one-time secure setup ensures that all transactions are automatically imported and the balances are kept current. On the investment front, the app provides unbiased, automated, customized investment advice, which can be converted into action on the platform itself. Moreover, a paperless account opening process combined with eKYC allows the customer to start investing instantaneously. Take for example, ZipSip, a feature it launched last year. Positioned as an instant SIP product to life, paperless feature, it allows even non-KYC investors to start investing, with the entire process of investing reduced to two minutes flat. “Within a year, we broke into the top 10 rank in terms of new SIPs per month amongst online and offline players. In fact, recently, we have also bolstered our mutual fund offerings through goal-based investing, which allows one to plan, invest and track investments against each of one’s life goals,” comments Parikh.

It followed this launch with a series of other products; first among them being Maxit, which understands customers’ location and spending patterns and offers them customised features to save every time they swipe their card. A second feature it launched was an automated instant personal loan, which enables funds to be credited to his/her account, once they complete the loan application process. “Furthermore, we’ve strengthened our multi-product proposition by launching other financial products like equities, insurance and credit card market place. We also invested significantly in our analytics capability to offer personalized and contextually relevant advisory,” shares Parikh.

Capitalising On Opportunities

Demonetisation, as is the case for most other fintech players, has presented a good growth opportunity for MyUniverse, as much as the expansion of digital infrastructure has. On the latter, Parikh believes Aadhar-based eKYC and central KYC will streamline the entire process and make it a one time, all pervasive process.

The introduction of UPI is another opportunity which has opened the gates for digital payments to create better products for the customer, by analyzing his usage patterns. Secondly, the newly introduced NACH, Parikh feels, will also make paper ECS mandates a thing of the past. “eSign will remove the necessity of wet signatures on most forms and make all processes truly paperless,” he adds. Apart from these, penetration of data and analytics, which will build personalization of offerings, and conversational UX, machine learning and API-fication are some prospects the company is banking on, to improve fintech penetration.

The Five Year Vision

The company envisions being among the top three digital intermediaries in the next five years, across all products, and wants to empower one million Indians towards financial freedom within this period. More specifically, in the current year, it seeks to multiply its revenues with newer propositions on the platform, and capture considerable market share across all product offerings; especially mutual funds, personal loans and credit cards. “The game plan to achieve this is to ensure that the acquisition to transaction funnel conversions improve manifold, and we have a healthy active user base leveraging the analytics on aggregated data provided by customers, to offer relevant and personalized propositions,” he explains, on a concluding note.


Snapshot

Aditya Birla Money MyUniverse

Year: 2012

Company Head: Rahul Parikh

Customer Penetration: 3 Million

Financial Impact: Overall aggregated money touched over US $3 billion

Five Year Vision: Rank among top three digital intermediaries

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