We are honoured and humbled to have received this recognition, which is testimony to the fact that a passionate team, that sets out to solve real issues and doesn’t deviate from its vision despite market forces, makes for a successful organisation. Our drive and commitment to transform the grocery delivery industry in India is relentless and year 2018 will be a transformational year for Milkbasket and the industry.
The Startup of the Year award is dedicated to young SMEs, aged seven years or less, with great potential to become big in local / international markets. Considered as the most coveted awards show complementing the league’s best across SMEs, SMB and new and emerging small scale ventures, Small Business Awards 2018 were organised by Franchise India Group. The award ceremony was hosted in New Delhi.
Launched in early 2015, Milkbasket is India’s first and largest daily micro-delivery service. Built on the unique Indian habit of getting fresh milk delivered at home every morning, Milkbasket is today fulfilling the entire grocery needs of a household everyday before 7:00 a.m. To enable frequent and frictionless buying, Milkbasket has innovated flexi-ordering and contactless delivery – both a first in the ecommerce industry – and favourites of Milkbasket customers. Founded by INSEAD alumnus Anant Goel with his co-founders Ashish Goel, Anurag Jain and Yatish Talvadia, Milkbasket delivers only in select areas while expanding its network with new launches every week. With an order fulfillment rate of 99%, customer retention rate of 95% and on-time deliveries of 99.9%, Milkbasket has redefined the industry benchmarks and enjoys envious customer loyalty. For more information, please visit Milkbasket.
Koinex, India’s most advanced digital assets exchange, will now be accessible for users on their smartphones through a new app feature launched by the company. The app will be available on Android now, while the iOS version will be launched shortly.
The app version offers ‘personalized price alert’ which will help users to know when their crypto-currency has hit their desired price listed on the exchange. Koinex is the first exchange app to pioneer this feature, in the crypto-currency segment in the country. Other distinctive features include three step security verification, graphical chart representation of industry trading and an extensive log book for users to plot the current crypto-currency valuation. The app also offers users, the feature of scanning QR code to connect to their payment wallet, which again is a unique feature, apart from the seamless interface allowing them to maneuver through multiple sections on the app.
Talking about the app launch, Rahul Raj, Co-Founder, Koinex said
The smartphone adoption in the country has made it inevitable to have an app service. We have been traders ourselves, and we are working to solve the pain known to all of us, one step at a time. The platform currently is the largest digital assets exchange in the country in terms of trading volume and we want to further accentuate our user experience by allowing them to track and trade at Koinex, on the go.
The key challenge was to create an interface that can sustain the enormous trading volume we have on the portal. The app also has been built using our innate tech expertise and we strive to improve Koinex, build more trading tools, develop more blockchain products, and create a holistic crypto-currency trading ecosystem.
Koinex is the first multi-currency exchange with an open-book ledger format, in the country and it began operations in August 2017. Within a short span of five months, the company grew to be one of the largest trading portal by volume, in the country. Few of the key reasons for their success are their cutting edge technology, proprietary trading engine, wallet and platform architectures, grade A security, user-centric UI/UX and tons of user-demanded features that makes it seamless for the users.
The tremendous growth volume is indicator to the scalability and long tenure of the brand in the market. Today as per industry rankings, Koinex stands among the top 50 exchanges globally and is the only Indian exchange in the list. Koinex aims to make India a hotbed of blockchain technology development and adoption.
Koinex is India’s first and most advanced crypto-currency trading and exchange company. Incepted in August 2017 in Mumbai, the web platform facilitates real-time trading of multiple crypto-currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin. By operating on a peer-to-peer exchange model, the live, open order book exchange enables users to discover the best price. Koinex facilitates simple on-boarding with quick e-KYC, and enables users to instantly start transacting in their preferred crypto-currency. For more information, please visit Koinex
DocOnline, India’s quickest and only multi-language online doctor consultation platform announced that the Standards Certification Council has certified the platform under ISO 9001:2015 starting January 2018. With the latest development, DocOnline has become India’s first healthcare start-up to meet the quality standards.
International Organization for Standardization [ISO] 9001:2015 is the most updated standard and focuses on quality management systems and performance. It assists companies in developing a management system that aligns quality with their wider business strategy. This Certification has gained prominence in the times of risk-based thinking and accountability in all organizational processes that helps improve communications, efficiency, and implementation of continuous improvement.
Commenting on gaining the Standards Certification, Rahul Paith, COO, DocOnline said
We are excited to earn certification to ISO 9001:2015 and feel it provides additional assurance to our customers that we are focused on continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.
For any organization, the road to certification requires time and commitment and DocOnline went through the process by evaluation of existing procedures and improving them to meet the prescribed standards. DocOnline, backed by a group of international investors has always maintained high quality standards, and the organization only needed to make minor changes to earn the ISO 9001:2015 Certification.
The key staff of DocOnline went through prescribed training to become certified internal auditors. And by doing so, DocOnline was able to conduct internal audits from time to time and maintain the high standards.
Launched in July 2017 with an initial investment of $1 Million through private venture funding and backed by Swedish investors and entrepreneurs, DocOnline has been developed to address a much neglected yet apparent gap amongst individuals on the first step of action when ill. Hyderabad based DocOnline is envisioned to offer users easy, reliable and affordable health care access. DocOnline allows one to reach a doctor either through Audio, Video or Chat (App) and connects the patient at the general physician level thus aiming to bring in preventive care. For more information, please visit DocOnline
One of the biggest pain points for recruiters and candidates is locking down on a time suitable to both for an interview. Scheduling a time to setup an initial interview is often burdensome, time-consuming and can lead to candidates dropping off from the hiring process due to the back and forth.
To ease the hiring process and avoid fallout’s, LinkedIn launched ‘LinkedIn Scheduler‘, a tool that automates initial interview scheduling for recruiters and candidates, directly via InMail. It helps candidates and recruiters save time spent on scheduling a meeting and helps recruiters focus their energies on hiring strategically and on-boarding the best candidate.
Using this feature, candidates or recruiters can reach each other via InMail to see one’s calendar availability and reserve an interview time that works best for both. It also gives candidates the liberty to feed in their contact information to accelerate this process.
Here’s how it works
First, recruiters are prompted to sync their calendar [Office 365 or Google Calendar] with LinkedIn.
Then, using a new InMail message, recruiters can easily send a scheduling link directly to the candidate of interest.
The link shares a real-time view of the recruiter’s calendar availability with candidates who can then choose what time works best for them, add their phone number and confirm the meeting.
Advance settings allow recruiters to manage preferences such as time zones, availability, length of meetings and same-day meetings.
Candidates can easily and automatically reschedule meetings with the recruiter through the confirmation link.
A very famous quote on investing says – ‘Risk & Rewards are two sides of the same coin’. This means that in most of the cases, higher the amount of risk involved chances of maximizing the returns are also very high! The investment portfolio of every person would differ since it is dependent on various factors like risk appetite, assets, liabilities, dependencies, etc. and hence, it becomes virtually impossible for any investment firm to cater to varied investment requirements of such a large audience.
This is where emerging technologies like Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence can play a vital role in creating a tailor-made investment plan based on your long-term and short financial requirements. Machine Learning has already the paved way into the Fintech market, be it approving loans, documentation, managing assets, etc. Many Fintech startups are leveraging machine learning, AI, Chatbots and helping banking institutions to either enhance the existing banking experience or creating kick-ass products in the areas of wealth management, personal finance, customer service, etc.
According to a report by Bloomberg, less than 1.5% of the Indian population invested in equity markets and only 2% of India’s household savings were exposed to equity. However, there is a rising interest to invest in financial instruments like Mutual Funds if they are given proper guidance.
This is the problem being solved by Sqrrl, a Fintech startup that was incubated at Reliance GenNext Hub and seeks to help young people save & invest in Mutual Funds in a hassle-free manner. Sqrrl also recommends great tax saving investments for its customers, keeping in mind a seamless experience. All this with the aim to help young Indians financially prosper! Today we have a chat with Mr. Samant Sikka, Founder of Sqrrl about the app, Fintech, Personal Finance, etc. so let’s get started with the Q&A…
How did your team come up with the idea of Sqrrl ?
Having spent almost two decades in financial services domain one was constantly exposed to challenges of building distribution in a country as diverse as India. I was always intrigued by the fact that in spite of six decades since independence financial services ecosystem was still struggling to provide access of financial services to its citizens. To my mind the single most important reason that came in the way of expanding financial services footprint was ‘Unit Economics’. Unit economics basically dictated who got access to financial products & services and also which type of products got sold.
Sometime in 2015 I started to absorb the impact that culmination of technology & internet was starting to have on democratizing ‘access’. E-commerce was starting to grain traction and people started getting access to goods and services hitherto restricted to larger cities and towns. 2 things stood out, given the economic prosperity over the 2 decades people had both aspirations and means to consume and were demanding better experiences. Internet had started to travel deeper in the country and social and digital were starting to have an impact on consumers behavior and consumption patterns.
Meanwhile, silently but surely there the impact of #RegTech and benefits of India Stack which were started to make tremendous traction on the two biggest friction areas in financial services, on-boarding & payments. The timing seemed to be just right neither too late neither too early.
Can you take us through the founding team of Sqrrl ?
Putting the challenges & opportunity together gave birth to the idea of Sqrrl. The vision being to build a digital platform aimed at millennials with an Initial offering is around savings & investment products powered by Mutual Funds and will expand to Loans, Insurance, Payments ultimately aspiring to morph into a digital bank. The idea aligned the founding team which brought wealth if experience & complementary skills sets .
Sqrrl is an interesting name for a ‘Fintech startup, how did you zero in on the name and how does the brand ‘Sqrrl’ get along with the moto of ‘building financial literacy among Indians’ ?
Sqrrl name was chosen with care. The animal embodies certain character that we stand for
Doer and Prudent,
Saver and plans for future. hoards for winters in summers,
Good at balancing work & play,
What is the TAM of the Fintech market that Sqrrl is trying to address ?
India’s Asset management Industry has grown at a CAGR of 21% over the last 17 years [ 2000-2017] is expected to grow to USD 700 billion by 2022.
Sqrrl aspires to be amongst the Top 10 players by 2022 with an Asset Under Management [AUM] of approx USD 14 billion and 12 million customers
There are number of Fintech platforms that are targeting a similar problem [as well as market], what according to you are some of the core USPs of Sqrrl when compared to its competitors ?
Sqrrl is different from existing players in many ways. Important ones are highlighted below:
Sqrrl has a customer persona which is in the age group of 25-35 years, salaried class, upwardly mobile and digitally savvy.
Sqrrl is a not a marketplace unlike many others. We personalize investments needs of individuals and match them with funds available in the industry.
Can you please walk us through the funding of Sqrrl ?
We have been bootstrapped from beginning of our journey. We are currently in funding raise discussion of about 1M USD with some VCs.
Once user has created an account on Sqrrl [and all his investments from various AMCs are under one window], what other services does your team provide to the investors so that they can get more returns from their investments ?
Sqrrl keeps monitoring all of the funds recommended by its team. We stay with our customers in their investment journey and keep guiding him with right decisions from time to time.
Can you give a small glimpse about the tech behind Sqrrl ?
We are app only offering on iOS and Android
Our API layer is powered by Python [Falcon framework]
Our database is AWS RDS on PostgreSQL
Other than this we use many third party APIs
Sqrrl is currently limited to Mutual Funds, are there any plans/timeline on whether it would be expanded to cover other financial instruments ?
Yes, we have plans to launch loans and insurance products in future.
What are some of the methodologies that your team use in order to keep the investors hooked on to the platform ?
We have a way to connect with customers in 360 degree way. Our customer success team keeps talking them on Email, Phone, SMS, Whatsapp in addition to in-app communications.
Sqrrl was incubated in Reliance GenNext Hub, how was the experience in the accelerator program and how did the program help your team to validate & scale the startup ?
The program was really of great help in helping us with product market fit study and beyond. They really helped in methodical product market fit. In addition to product market fit, customer traction strategy and its execution planning was done with them.
Are there any setup charges or any other charges that customers have to pay to use the Platform ? Do you charge any withdrawal or closure charges for the Sqrrl’s recommended funds ?
There are no setup charges to use Sqrrl. However there may be early withdrawal charges for some funds before initial lock-in period.
Which are some of the AMC’s that are currently on-boarded on the Sqrrl platform ?
There are 17 AMC that are there with Sqrrl. It covers 91% of the industry AUM
As you have mentioned earlier, Sqrrl aims to encourage Indians to save more. There are various investor initiatives like #MFDayon7th by Reliance MF and CNBC TV18, does Sqrrl have plans of starting an investor education initiative [or something else] in order to widen the horizon of passive investors [that could be an integral part of the investors eco-system, but don’t know where to get started] ?
The ecosystem is doing a great job in educating investors. AMFI is doing great job in communication like ‘Mutual Funds Sahi Hai’. AMCs themselves have different plans. Sqrrl plans to use these and some of its own to launch education awareness. We are working on them.
Many fintech companies, namely PayTm [or PaytmMoney], FreeCharge, PhonePe, etc. are planning to have boutique of finance products on their platform, does this growing competition have an impact on a startup like Sqrrl and how it would the competition result in expansion of the fintech ecosystem ?
It is good that this space is getting its validation by entry of bigger players. There will always be space for early movers like Sqrrl based on its customer service differentiation.
Can you comment on the ‘Customer/Investor’ demographics that are currently using the Sqrrl Platform ?
90% of the users are under age 40 years.
61% of the users are from B15 [beyond top 15] cities.
We have coverage from over 700 cities of India.
What is the revenue model of Sqrrl and does it follow the Freemium model ?
We get distribution fee from the underlying Mutual Funds.
Along with the integrated AMC approach, building investor portfolio as per his requirements, etc. does your team also provide advisory services ? If not, what are some of the services that you plan to offer in future [especially with the Mutual Fund Products] ?
We are not providing advisory services now but we are open to embrace this in future.
How Fintech is shaping up the Financial Eco-system in India and how technologies like Blockchain will bring the next wave of Fintech revolution ?
Blockchain and its acceptance is in very early stage. Most of the work is happening in Crypto exchanges. We are open to exploring something on blockchain which is widely accepted.
Some books that you highly recommend for entrepreneurs
Zero to One by Peter Thiel
The Lean Statup by Eric Ries
Traction : How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg
Some closing thoughts for our readers!
As Bill Gates says, ‘If you are born poor its not your mistake, But if you die poor its your mistake.‘ Sqrrl is a platform available for every Indian to manage their money.
We thank Mr. Samant Sikka for sharing his insights with our readers. If you are planning to put your money to work via smart investments, then you should download Sqrrl. If you have any questions for Samant or the Sqrrl Team, please email them here or share them via a comment to this article.
‘Ownership’ is a word that has a lot of sentiments attached to it. Whether it is owning a commodity like a car, bike, mobile phone, electronic appliance, etc. or owning a house, it brings a deep sense of accomplishment to the owner. Many years back, owning either of them would be considered a herculean task, but with the rise in urbanization, increase in the overall disposable income of the urban Indians, changing lifestyle and easy access to financial tools [like Equated Monthly Installment], the rate of consumption has increased rapidly.
Changing Financial Landscape
If a consumer has a good financial track record and an exceptional CIBIL score, getting a home loan/personal loan/vehicle loan is a piece of cake and consumers can pick and choose from the best possible options, since financial institutions do not want to lose the customer and they would try their best to retain/bring a new customer on board. However, EMI comes with a baggage full of responsibilities and missing the EMI on a consistent basis can have serious implications on your financial track record. In some scenarios, you might be looking for a short-term loan or a relatively smaller amount for which you might not want to take a bank loan. In such scenarios, you either lend money from family, friends or from companies operating in the burgeoning fintech sector.
The overall financial landscape is also changing at a very rapid pace in order to accommodate the changing sentiments of the customers. Innovations like Unified Payments Interface [UPI], India Stack, India Chain, push towards Digital India, increasing internet penetration, etc. have resulted in many innovations in the Fintech Space. Though startups catering to Payment services [PayTm, FreeCharge, PhonePe, etc.], P2P Lending [LendBox, EasySalary, etc.], Personal finance [BankBazaar, Capital Float, ScripBox, etc.], Lending based on credit-line [MoneyTap] have resulted in major customer and investor interest, there is still a lot of room for innovation in the fintech sector. In many cases, Banks and Fintech players are working together and utilizing their relevant expertise to create a better experience for their customers.
#SmartlyOwn – Better Option to Own Things
As reiterated earlier, ownership brings a sense of pride, but it comes at a cost. Though consumers have options to buy furniture, bike, electronic appliances, etc., by utilizing the financial services of banks as well as fintech companies, they still have to worry about repaying their loan on time. Unlike in the past, young population is more comfortable to switch cities in case they find better career opportunities. In case they opt for relocation, they need to take the important decision on whether they carry the commodities they own like car/bike/electronic appliance along with them or sell them at the best possible price. Since each of these is a depreciating commodity, hence their overall value depreciates from the very moment you own them.
Hence, consumers need to take the important decision on whether they need to own them or use options like ‘renting’ so that they can save money and #SmartlyOwn the items. This is the problem being solved by new-age rental companies that are using technology to offer better options to their customers. Even if you own a house, you still need to worry about setting up the home and good home interiors might burn a hole in your pocket. L Rather than blowing up hard-earned savings in owning up such items, the millennial generation has better investment options like Mutual Funds, Stocks, CryptoCurrency, etc. Due to all these factors, many urban Indians are switching to a #SubscriptionLifestyle since they have options to rent bikes, appliances, furniture, etc.
RentoMojo – Consumer Leasing Company to a Fintech Startup
Rentomojo, India’s leading consumer leasing company has various plans so that customers can buy a bike, furniture, electronic appliances on rent for a minimum period of three months. Founded by IIT alumnus Geetansh Bamania, RentoMojo is a first-of-its-kind consumer product leasing business that raises lease-capital from financial institutions for products rented to consumers for long-term periods, typically 12-18 months.
With an option like Rental Monthly Installment [RMI], you can own a product like a piece of furniture, a bike or an appliance without being bonded with a lifetime commitment. How is RMI better as compared to EMI? There are so many benefits that come along with it, which are not available with EMI and flexibility and non-commitment to the products is the biggest of them. You can take the products till the time you want and return when you don’t. The other important benefits include free delivery and maintenance, a swap of the products and much cheaper payouts monthly as compared to EMI. This is how the concept has broadened to a wide universe of the customers who have always considered renting as a financial decision.
Since many customers rent products for a long-term period of 12~18 months, they might want to increase the rental tenure or own the products as well, making a lot more financial sense. This is the thought with which they announced an exciting proposition of Rent-to-Own [#RentToOwn], where now the customers will be able to rent till whatever time they want, return or own the products. This is a whole #NewWayToOwn!
#RentToOwn – A Smarter Way to Ownership
Though it was started as a rental business, Rentomojo has evolved as a fintech model where the customers can lease furniture, appliances, and two-wheelers by paying an extremely affordable RMI. With the new offering of ‘Rent-To-Own’, the customers will have a new way of ownership, where after paying some RMIs if the customer feels like buying the products, it can be done. Customers also have an option where they can ‘try and then buy’ through product trials at their doorstep.
Eminent content contributors were invited for the launch of this event where the idea and concept was introduced for the first time to a larger audience. Sharing his views on being the first fintech startup to have this feature, Geetansh Bamania, Founder & CEO of Rentomojo, said
Usually renting is considered for a longer duration. A lot of customers also get a strong sense of ownership once they buy the products. What we also realized that, although the perception of renting could be for a smaller duration, the average rental tenure of our customers is 12-18 months, which itself makes us very different than a typical rental model. With an option of owning if the customer wants to after he has rented, where he is paying a nominal RMI, is a new way of ownership.
The below table summarizes the advantages of RMI as compared to EMI and ‘Option to Own’ is definitely a feature that would lure customers who rent for a longer duration since they now have an option to own the item they have been using on rent!
Some of the questions asked during the launch event were:
Should customers opt for renting items even if they have the financial capability to own them?
Since Rentomojo provides ‘Free Maintenance’, how does it educate its customers about product quality so that maintenance expenses are kept to the bare minimum?
Who are the partners of Rentomojo in the bike, electronics appliance sector?
Does Rentomojo plan the omnichannel route in future so that customers can also get a touch and feel of the products [especially the furniture]?
Does Rentomojo service only the B2C sector or they also have B2B customers?
What are some of the unique offerings of Rentomojo as compared to other companies operating in the same sector?
Geetansh and his team answered all these questions with ease since they are very confident about their offerings. Since their team has extensive experience in technology, e-commerce, retail, their main focus has been on unit economics rather than chasing a vanity metric like Gross Merchandise Value [GMV].
What are your thoughts about the RentToOwn concept? Do leave your feedback in the comments section.
Eduvanz Financing Pvt Ltd, a skill development loan provider, has announced that it has been granted the NBFC Licence by the RBI to start providing Loans in the multi-billion skill development sector. The Firm has raised $500,000 investment led by Blinc Advisors. Eduvanz will utilize the funds for strengthening it AI based Lending technology for loan appraisal and expands its operation pan India.
Eduvanz is a pioneer in using proprietary AI-based algorithms and complex predictive analytics to collate financial & socio-economic data from conventional and non-conventional sources to make lending easier for skill development. A successful pilot phase where over 12000 leads worth over $8 Million were assessed to fund over hundreds of students, Eduvanz has validated its concept.
With the non-banking financial company [NBFC] status approval from the Reserve Bank of India [RBI], Eduvanz is bringing much needed financial support in the Skill development ecosystem using analytical tools and advanced risk management capabilities to extend loans without any paperwork in a matter of minutes.
We are solving problems that are directly linked with nation building and growth of Indian Industry. Over the next four years, more than 200 million Indians will undergo some form of skill training before they enter the work force. At Eduvanz, our mission is to financially empower every individual to chose the vocation, skills and career of their choice.
With this approval from RBI, Eduvanz has moved one step closer to becoming India’s leading lender for vocational courses, on-job training programs and certifications programs.
??Eduvanz works with Training Partners, Top Corporates and Certification Providers spanning more than 16 Industry Sectors to increase their enrollments by providing innovative financial solutions to students and skill-seekers looking to skill up for their careers.
About Eduvanz Financing Private Limited
Eduvanz is a innovative finance company, which is completely revolutionizing the educational loan market. Eduvanz has won the the Judges Award at the Wharton Indian Economic Forum’s Startup Challenge where it competed with over 500 other start-ups. For more information, please visit here
Indians need not be reminded of the demonetization days which changed everything. The note ban brought about significant changes in the life of every individual across the country.
Apart from meandering queues outside banks and an increasing use of ATMs across the country, the note ban has had a positive as well as a negative impact on the economy. It has been more than a year the note ban came into the picture and here is how India has been impacted.
Improvement in personal finance
People are now choosing to deposit, whatever cash they have, into their savings account instead of stashing across different cupboards in the house. A large number of individuals have realized the importance of saving and deposit the same in their bank accounts regularly.
Increased use of digital payment systems
Indians have finally accepted the digital payment system. Demonetization proved that Indians can easily adapt to any changes and are open to learn about the use of latest technology. With a number of technology enthusiasts guiding others, even the most conservative individuals began using plastic cash and digital wallets.
Reduction of black money
The demonetization move was for a sole purpose – removal of black money from the economy. Almost 99% of the cash was deposited back into the banks since people had no other choice. They could not hold the cash anymore and had to bring it into the financial system of the economy.
A boost in tax payments
The direct impact of demonetization could be seen in an increase in the payment of taxes. There was a record increase in the number of income tax payers as well as first-time tax payers. Additionally, individuals also chose to pay advance tax and income tax returns on time.
Fall in GDP
Demonetization is considered as the main cause for the fall in the Gross Domestic Product [GDP] of the country. There was a significant slowdown in the economy. Also, there were a large number of layoffs across different industries in the country.
Diminished terror funding
Demonetization is considered as a strong reason to evaporate the cash reserves of a number of terror groups. Several terror organizations used fake currencies in order to fund their activities and the government took a very strong step to contain this.
Zero balance savings account
There was an immediate rise in the Jan Dhan or zero balance savings account after the announcement of the note ban. Many people deposited their cash into these accounts.