Foreign exchange buying and selling is now a transparent and convenient process with the rates aggregation platform from Nafex India. Nafex India has collaborated with more than Nine hundred RBI approved money changers and authorised dealers, who bid real-time for any individual currency, prepaid forex card or remittance requirements put up on the platform.

Image Source – Nafex

Rates comparison allows consumers to compare rates offered, proximity of the money changer, and make an informed decision to get the best deal for their forex requirements. This is a significant shift from the traditional model of rates dictated by banks, travel agencies, and grey market operators.  The reverse bidding for currency exchange, forex cards and outward remittances is uniquely available only on the Nafex India platform.

According to Annie Kumar, Co-founder and Managing Director, Nafex India

The money changer market in India and several parts of the world is going through a disruptive phase. Monopolistic rates controlled by few agencies is no longer working out with consumers. Flexibility, transparency, convenience & value are emerging as key considerations for forex buyers and sellers.  Nafex India endeavors to safeguard interests of consumers and build trust in transactions.

The promoters of the company, Jeethmal Mutha and Annie Kumar, have spent two decades in the forex and travel & hospitality industry. The company has tied up Pan India Money changers like Weizmann, Poundwize, UAE Exchange, Spice Money, Centrum along with several hundreds of  regional money of changers are participating in the reverse auction. Leisure travel, education, medical treatment are key areas of focus for Nafex India.

Nafex India platform includes currencies from US, Canada, UK, Australia, Europe, UAE, Saudi, Singapore, China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand. From its launch, the Nafex India platform has witnessed 100,000+ transactions worth USD 40+ Mn in currency alone apart from Forex cards & remittance.

Nafex plans to add more features to the platform such as B2B & to build end-to-end expertise for enterprise and individual money changing solutions globally. Currently present in 100 cities, Nafex plans to rapidly launch its services in other Indian cities.

Payjo has launched SBI Intelligent Assistant or SIA, an AI-powered chat assistant that addresses customer enquiries instantly and helps them with everyday banking tasks just like a bank representative. With SIA, SBI will reduce significant operational expenditure over time.

Since launch, SIA has responded to millions of queries from thousands of customers. SIA is setup to handle nearly 10,000 enquiries per second or 864 Million in a day. That is nearly 25% of the queries processed by Google every day.

Setting up the AI platform for State Bank of India, the world’s largest bank with 420 Million customers is nothing short of an engineering marvel. Payjo’s architecture was diligently calibrated to seamlessly scale up to such magnitude. Deployment of this size is a ?rst of its kind in India and even across the world, such instances are few and far between. Payjo’s over 20 years of expertise in large enterprise ?nancial systems has made it possible for a successful launch.

SIA continuously learns with each interaction and gets better over time. Currently, it can address enquiries on banking products and services. It is trained with a large set of knowledge and is adept at answering frequently asked questions as well.

Commenting on SIA, Srinivas Njay, Founder and CEO of Payjo added

India’s banking infrastructure is light years ahead compared to the western world. The largest public sector bank of the country adopting Artificial Intelligence in a matter of few months is not an easy task. The credit goes to the progressive team at SBI and the continued Digital India push from our honourable PM Narendra Modi. SIA is a revolution in the banking industry. It is set to disrupt the way banks and customers interact.

Shiv Kumar Bhasin, CTO of SBI added

SIA is a perfect example of ground-breaking banking application in Arti?cial Intelligence and Conversational Banking. It will enhance customer service several notches above and Payjo’s expertise in the conversational banking domain helped us build SIA as a superior chatbot in the global banking space. We look forward to taking SIA and simplifying customer’s lives on multiple customer interaction platforms in partnership with Payjo.

SIA can be accessed through SBI’s portal. Payjo is working towards making SIA available across multiple customer touch-points like mobile, IVR, SMS and Social Media platforms. SIA will also be equipped to interact in most regional languages of India.

About Payjo

Payjo’s AI Banking platform powers top banks worldwide and facilitates 24*7 real-time automated assistance. It enables every conversation to be highly personalized, intelligent and secure. Payjo is CERT-In certi?ed for security and compliance and also adheres to RBI regulations as well as the Information Technology Amendment Act of India. For more information, please visit Payjo

Traditionally, banks and similar financial institutions have been the major players in the financial ecosystem in the country. But with the emergence of FinTech startups in India, the scene is changing pretty fast. Various aspects of banking including lending, payment, asset management, and equity finance have been impacted, and many see this as a welcome development in a sector that has lagged behind in offering ample options to meet the demands of a modern market.

Though FinTech is still at a nascent stage in India, the question that is being asked is whether they are merely disrupting banking services or working towards making the financial ecosystem ready for the new-age demands. The jury is still out on that but looking at the latest trends, it seems FinTech companies hold the promise to improve the financial market.

Here’s how they are doing it

Helping banks to reinvent themselves

Digital transformation in the banking sector was long overdue. The popularity of FinTech enabled services like digital wallets, and online money lending has propelled banks to engage themselves with emerging innovations including better, faster, and cheaper services.

Offering greater convenience

FinTech has made making payments, keeping track of one’s finances, and comparing investment policies much simpler. You can make online payment of your bills, pay taxi fare or lend or borrow money with just a click of the button. In today’s world where we are hard pressed for time this convenience of doing your financial transactions sitting at home is certainly a boon.

Providing more options

When it comes to making financial investments, the advice of not putting all eggs in one basket is the right one. But traditional financial institutions don’t offer a variety of financial instruments to choose from and whatever they offer do not give very high returns. FinTech companies are changing this. They not only offer better, more flexible and high return investments options but do so with better online experience. For instance, TachyLoans, a personal loan online provider allows its lenders to lend money to an unlimited number of borrowers and earn a relatively higher return on investment [anywhere between 11.5 % and 25%].

Contributing to the vision of Digital India

By making available a host of financial services electronically, FinTech startups in India are accelerating the vision of Digital India. As digital wallets, online payment, and P2P loans in India have become more common; a digitally empowered Indian financial ecosystem is slowly becoming a reality.

In short, FinTech is going to have a lasting impact on the financial environment of the country and hopefully change it for the better.

Visa, the global leader in payments technology and BillDesk, India’s leading electronic payments company, announced successful enablement of fifty large service providers for BharatQR payments acceptance in a short span of a month, thus extending the digital payment facility to potentially over 300 million consumers.

Image Source – Bharat QR

Some key merchants enabled include Tata AIG, ACT Broadband, Reliance Energy, Gujarat Gas, MTNL, Aircel, Tata Power, Pune Municipal Corporation, and Calcutta Electricity Supply spanning services such as utilities, internet, phone, DTH, insurance, and government services.

T.R. Ramachandran, Group Country Manager, India and South Asia, Visa, said

The core idea that binds technology and payments is simplicity and convenience, and QR code is a great example. Having pioneered QR technology as low cost payments solution for open loop networks, and having worked with the government and the industry in developing BharatQR, Visa’s endeavour is to grow the acceptance network for BharatQR in the country and make digital payments accessible to all. Through our collaboration with BillDesk, we hope to fast-track the transition to digital payments and make less-cash society a reality for India.

Ajay Kaushal, Co-founder, BillDesk said

BillDesk is delighted to engage with Visa to promote BharatQR. This is a simple yet powerful solution with great potential to shift consumers and merchants from cash to digital payments for everyday spends.  It provides the speed, security and convenience that cash payments cannot match.  Merchant interest in and demand for BharatQR is growing for it is simpler, faster, and more reliable ways to accept digital payments with BharatQR. We will continue to collaborate with Visa to enable online merchants for BharatQR acceptance and simplify digital payments for consumers.

Bharat QR is a secure, network-agnostic, and device less interface that enables customers to make payments using their bank apps on smartphones.  BharatQR simplifies digital payments by eliminating the need for divulging card details at the point of sale. For example, to use Bharat QR to pay their electricity bills, customers will simply need to log in to their bank’s app, and scan the QR code displayed on their electricity bill, enabling instant payment. Alternately, customers may enter their unique Customer IDs online and generate a QR code that can be scanned using their bank app.  To date, 30 banks together serving over 90% of India’s population have enabled their banking apps and nearly 400,000 merchants for BharatQR payments.

India will lead the world in smartphone adoption with a net addition of 350 million connections in 2016~20, according to a GSMA report. With the common standards, coupled with the low-cost acceptance method, BharatQR has the potential to accelerate financial inclusion in India.

PayPal, the global leader in online payments have announced a shortlist of five new Financial Technology [FinTech] startups – Finbox, Neoeyed, Paymatrix, Scalend and Tybo as new entrants into its PayPal Incubator in Chennai.

The announcement was made after the final round of pitching during the 5th Incubation Challenge, where 10 shortlisted startups from 250 startups presented to an esteemed panel of judges including Guru Bhat, GM Technology & Head of Engineering – PayPal, Anupam Pahuja, MD – PayPal India and Rama Bethmangalkar, Venture Capitalist, formerly with Ventureast.

As a part of PayPal’s vision to transform and democratize financial services, the Incubator helps elevate and drive innovation across the FinTech industry with a focus on startups in financial technology as well as adjacencies like loyalty, machine learning, big data and logistics among others.

Guru Bhat, GM Technology & Head of Engineering – PayPal said

In its 5th year, the PayPal Incubator has received an overwhelming response with over 250 applications from early stage FinTech startups – a 150% growth from last year, reflecting both the need for an incubation program, as well as the FinTech industry’s potential. Our program is designed to help our newly incubated startups script their own success stories by facilitating access to PayPal’s expertise in cutting-edge technology and by enabling them to leverage PayPal’s market leadership around the world.

Launched in 2013 in partnership with The Indus Entrepreneurs [TiE], the incubator provides a conducive environment for early-stage startups to grow and evolve at PayPal’s Technology Center in Chennai. The program offers startups technology counsel and mentorship, infrastructure support and networking opportunities with both investors and customers. In addition to these, PayPal will also be picking up an undisclosed stake in each of the selected startups this year.

Shortlisted Startups

Finbox is a digital lending software as a service which enables lenders to digitize their user journey and underwrite using alternate data. FinBox’s platform combines multiple APIs to build various digital lending experiences across use cases. FinBox API’s enable lenders validate Identity, underwrite using data from traditional and non traditional sources and cross sell financial products to their customers. FinBox products integrate seamlessly with the lender’s mobile and web properties and also with the loan management system backend.

Neoeyed helps the businesses to generate more revenues and improve users’ security by simplifying the login and registration processes on mobile applications. Using mobile devices, Neoeyed can recognize users by collecting information about human behavior that allows them to login without effort, nothing to type, nothing to remember, nothing to do…Transparent, simple, secure

Paymatrix is an analytics-driven property rental management platform that streamlines rent payments and collections for tenants, landlords and property managers. The platform’s dashboard provides solutions for end-to-end rent management including tenant screening, credit facilitation for rent deposits, rent documentation, rent automation, renters and landlords insurance and also helps in better interaction between tenants and landlords.

Scalend offers a ready to use AI enabled customer insights platform for financial services companies. The platform combines proprietary AI models with Big Data – Hadoop’s unlimited storage and compute power to help BFSI & Fintech companies generate actionable insights around omni-channel customer journey, back-office optimization, in matter of weeks not months or years

Tybo is a cloud based omni-channel e-commerce platform designed for home based and small-sized businesses. It provides the merchant a single view of their evolving business across multiple sales channels. The platform is focused on easy set up, simplicity of use and customizable design to create a beautiful storefront. It also enables end-to-end integration with supplier system and saves time by importing products directly into their store with real-time inventory sync.

Bengaluru based Datasigns Technologies has raised USD 1.5 million Pre-Series A funding from SRI Capital, Beenext and Pravega. Datasigns Technologies, founded by Monish Anand, Rahul Sekar, Anand Barua and Tushar Patel, had earlier raised an undisclosed amount of angel funding from Sanjai Vohra [former MD of JP Morgan], V. Bunty Bohra [Managing Director and India CEO of Goldman Sachs] and Peeyush Misra [Ex- Partner and MD at Goldman Sachs].

Image Source – Fund Raising

SRI Capital’s portfolio includes Fab Hotels, Healthify and Yellow Dig among others, Beenext has invested in – Droom, Citrus pay, No Broker, Faasos and Pravega Ventures has invested in Crofarm – an agri-tech company, Innovaccer – big data platform for enterprises.

Datasigns Technologies is a mobile first lending platform, which lends via their android application called Shubh Loans. Shubh Loans is a vernacular language app which builds a proprietary credit score and report for loan applicants, thereby helping them understand their credit standing holistically.

Sashi Reddi, Founder & Managing Partner of SRI Capital said

Proud to back a rockstar team, led by Monish Anand, in the consumer lending space in India. Many massive companies are going to be built in this space, finally being able to lend to the next 200 million consumers—Shubh Loans will be one of them.

Shubh Loans score is dynamic and changes with applicant’s financial and non- financial behaviour. Using the Shubh Loans app, users can apply for a loan of up to 2 Lacs with maximum 2 years tenure. Datasigns has partnered with multiple banks and NBFCs, helping them in building their loans books.

Monish Anand, Founder & CEO of Shubh Loans stated

We are excited to have these great investors on board, at the same time we are even more determined to stay disciplined and execute our plan well.

Rahul Sekar, Co-Founder & Chief Data Scientist said

The lending business in the country is at an inflection point, our focus is on creative and responsible use of data to bring financial literacy and credit to people who deserve it the most.

Shubh Loans takes pride in its aim to democratise credit by making it available to all and believes that an unserved customer doesn’t make for an unservable one. Shubh Loans has set its sight on bringing over 10 lacs people into the formal banking system as part of its mission 2020.There are currently growing at 50% month on month and have tied up with over 9 lending institutions.

Fintech Valley in Vizag, a sustainable global Fintech ecosystem have announced the establishment of government sponsored Fintech Valley Accelerator at Visakhapatnam in collaboration with ICICI Bank and Mahindra Finance as corporate partners and Microsoft as the technology & acceleration partner.

Image Source – Fintech Valley

Fintech Valley in Vizag created by APEITA [Government of Andhra Pradesh], is a self-sustainable global Fintech Ecosystem that focuses on converging finance and technology to create large avenues of growth through industry-enablers, world-class infrastructure, entrepreneurship and innovation.

ICICI Bank and Mahindra Finance have always leveraged technology to pioneer digital innovations and provide world-class banking experience to their customers. These institutions are focused on leveraging the current transformational trends in technology to bring value to their offerings. The first cohort of the accelerator program will have 10-12 startups working to develop solutions for ‘Financial Inclusion’, ‘Security and Fraud Prevention’ and ‘Customer and Risk analytics’ for a period of 12 weeks. This will be a resident program based out of Visakhapatnam and will provide selected Fintech startups an opportunity to catalyze their development through a combination of support, guidance and training.

The recruitment process for the accelerator has commenced, and the first cohort will start in first week of October. The program will conclude with a grand demo day in January 2018, in presence of corporates, mentors and investors from across the world. This is in continuation of the vision of the AP Government to bring ecosystem players together in the Fintech Valley and nurture a ‘fintectonic’ culture in the state that enables traditional models of business. The accelerator program aims to act as a catalyst in the growth of startups by connecting them to Fintech ecosystem players and develop the startup community in Visakhapatnam.

Mr. J A Chowdhary, Special Chief Secretary & IT Advisor to the Chief Minister – Govt. of AP said

The Andhra Pradesh Government and Fintech Valley Vizag is excited about the Fintech Valley Vizag is all set to converge finance and technology and create large avenues of growth. The accelerator program aims to act as a catalyst in the growth of startups by connecting them to the leading Fintech ecosystem players.

For application process and other details about the Program, please visit #FintechValleyVizag

Fintech is having a huge impact on the financial services in India. It has been largely dominated by the lending and payments companies in India. Initiatives like the India Stack [UPI, e-KYC, Aadhar] by National Payments Corporation Of India [NPCI] have been instrumental in leading the Fintech revolution.

Image Source – Investments

Many of the fintech companies are leveraging Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Social Data Intelligence, Blockchain, etc. in order to solve critical business problems. For example, with the help of AI, contextual data and transaction data, your wealth managers can come up with a ‘more relevant’ financial plan that suits your requirements.

When we talk about Money, the immediate thought that comes to our minds is ‘How to I multiply wealth via good investments‘. There are significant number of investment options available in the market but the option that you choose depends on factors like your age, dependencies, exisiting investment portfolio, risk apetite, etc. One good investment option is ‘Mutual Funds‘ but as per a report, India’s Assets under management  (AUM) to GDP ratio is only 9 percent which is significantly lower as compared to other developed/developing contries. The bright side about this report is that there are rising number of people interested to invest in Mutual Funds given that they get proper hand-holding and guidance.

This is the problem that founders of WealthApp, a Fintech startup aim to solve by amalgamating their vast knowledge in personal finance with technologies like AI, Machine Learning, etc. Today we have a chat with Gaurav Dhawan, Co-founder & Director of WealthApp about WealthApp, Fintech, Personal Finance, etc.

Image Source – WealthApp

How did you come up with the idea of WealthApp ?

We are ex-bankers from Citi who have decades of experience in personal financial management of individuals across net-worth segments. We understand that while people with higher net-worth have access to good quality financial advice, the middle-income groups in India experience an acute shortage of the same. There are various estimates to suggest that about 30 crore people in India have an ability to invest, a majority of which form the entire middle-income group of the pyramid. Given this huge need gap, we wanted to put in place a solution to reach sound financial advice to the market at large. The next question on our minds was to figure a solution to bridge this gap ? One thing that we realised very soon was that we needed to use technology to reach out to a larger audience.

However, using technology is one thing – but to marry that with quality advice is a totally different ball game. We then studied the entire advisor-client interaction cycle, right from the time of first interaction to the evolution of the relationship over a long term, and broke it down into steps that we could automate. We realised that most of this engagement can be automated using algorithms. Then we started picking elements of this interaction cycle to build algorithms to automate the process – that’s how WealthApp was born. We formally launched the platform in October 2016 for public at large.

Can you please give a background about the team behind WealthApp ?

The founders consist of myself, Subba Rao Telidevara, Sanjay HB and Mitesh Shah. We have a cumulative experience of 50+ years across various forms of money management. This makes us aware that the long winding process, paper work and lack of proper guidance in investment methods puts off people as prospective investors. The team is hard at work to ensure that our platform at WealthApp overcomes all of these barriers and adds value across the personal financial life of our customers.

As per a report, there is very small percentage of investors/would be investors who plan to invest in the Equity market [or MF], how does WealthApp plan to change this ‘resistant’ behaviour from investors ?

India’s AUM to GDP ratio stands at about 9 percent. In comparison, US markets boast of an AUM to GDP ratio of  70 percent. Even if we consider the global averages, 37% is the AUM to GDP ratio. While this clearly indicates the huge potential that our country has to channelize a significantly higher proportion of an individual’s savings into efficient financial products, India has been catching up very quickly.

This is due to a variety of reasons such as increase in financial awareness of the customers, efficient evolution of the regulatory framework and technology percolation across the country. WealthApp plans to use these broader trends to reach out to people and help them join the investment bandwagon. To keep the entry barriers low for our customers, we offer investment plans with as low as Rs. 100 investment minimums. We will also add more investment products in the future that we believe our customers will be able to benefit from.

Can you please talk about the funding of WealthApp ?

WealthApp raised about USD 440,000 in seed funding in December 2016. The startup’s investors include some very marque names such as NuVentures managing partner Venk Krishnan, Daksh eServices co-founder MJ Aravind, Vikram Kotak, Managing Partner at Crest Capital and Investment, Jayant Davar, Co-chairman & MD at Sandhar Group, Ramkumar Nishtala, MD & CEO at Vistaar Finance, and Arjun Sharma, chairman of the Select Group.

Can you share some insights into the customer demographics of WealthApp ?

An extremely large part of the unexposed population resides in the tier II and III towns where people have no access to professional financial advisory. WealthApp came up with the concept of Online Robo Financial Advisor for all kinds of investors ranging from youngsters or first time investors to a family man and seasoned investor. Moreover, WealthApp’s internal survey of a few remote towns in Karnataka revealed that about 80 percent of the population there spend at least 20 percent of their income on smartphones and data usage. Rest is reserved for household expenses and cash savings.

People there are actually very tech savvy, largely on mobile phones. And contrary to our belief they have a decent appetite for investment. But most invest in chit funds and other inefficient instruments since they have no one to guide them.

Once user has created an account on WealthApp [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 ?

WealthApp analyses an individual’s risk appetite, need to take risk and tolerance for risk based on factors such as income, assets, savings and financial goals that one may have. After an investment is made, the app tracks and monitors the complete cycle, alerting and suggesting investors on due payment, or any change in rules. The app also updates users over the need for liquid cash and provides options to obtain it. The platform is being enhanced further to accommodate more such situations that a customer may face over an investment lifecycle.

Image Credit – YourStory

Can you give a small glimpse about the tech behind WealthApp ?

WealthApp has developed sophisticated iOS and android mobile apps to help the middle-income groups and retail investors in India simplify their financial planning and wealth management process. Sophisticated algorithms automate the entire advisory process thus ensuring top notch and timely advise for the investor. That the smaller cities and towns face data connectivity issues doesn’t deter WealthApp.

The app is built to use data efficiently. It is a light app that works on 2G bandwidth also. Currently, WealthApp’s user interface is English. There are plans to go vernacular, primarily to target the smaller towns and cities in future.

Are there any competitors of WealthApp, if so what are some of the USP’s of WealthApp vis-a-vis the competitors ?

The segment is growing as more people start looking for financial investment products to broaden their portfolio beyond traditional products such as gold and real estate. Some of the USP’s of WealthApp vis-a-vis the competitors are below:

  • Prospective Clients made investment ready via KYC in a thoroughly paperless manner with a very simple and streamlined on-boarding process
  • Sophisticated algorithms automate the entire advisory process thus ensuring top notch and timely advice for the investor
  • Knowledge and experience of the founding team work to provide customized portfolio most suited for investors and their goals based on thorough research and strategy
  • Ongoing monitoring 24/7/365
  • Supported with convenience of doorstep service offered via web and mobile apps
  • Equipped with a team of seasoned professionals for those that require the age old personal human touch

WealthApp is currently limited to MF’s, are there any plans/timeline on whether it would be expanded to cover other financial instruments ?

WealthApp Financial Advisors is an automated investment service, conceived over a year back. It makes use of its user friendly online platform to offer best in class investment portfolio to its clients. This is based on their financial goals and ability to take risk, and mutual funds offer various advantages to build customized investment portfolios. Having said that, the company plans to add more investment options in the near future.

What are some of the methodologies that your team plans in order to keep the investors hooked on to the platform [primary reason being investments are mostly planned by investors and most cases, they would not invest more unless required, unlike shopping which is more adhoc and also more repetitive and hence more stickiness.] ?

It’s our endeavour to engage our customers meaningfully while adding value to them. A slick and customized dashboard makes it convenient for them to see their investment status on the go and they keep coming back to it often to review their portfolios. They like the fact that we don’t use jargon and provide them all the information that they need in an easy to understand manner.

We also write articles and blogs frequently on topics that are of high relevance to our customers. Again, simplicity of conveying the messafge is the key so they keep coming back to read up and make themselves more knowledgeable on areas of personal finance. Our customers also appreciate the value in our periodic automated reports that reach their mailboxes.

There are various investor initiatives like #MFDayon7th by Reliance MF and CNBC TV18, does WealthApp 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 dont know where to get started] ?

WealthApp has been at the forefront of customer education right from the start. We have conducted more than 50 roadshows [in metro cities and beyond] till date to spread awareness and provide simple solutions to people’s money problems.

Our platform is coded with complex algorithms by our engineering team and they have kept it up to date with the ongoing developments in the policies and reforms in our economy. The idea is to reduce the human intervention while we interact with our customers and be fully transparent.

With growing investor and entrepreneur interest in Fintech, many wallet companies like Paytm, FreeCharge, MobiKwik, etc. are plannig to have a boutique of finance products on their platform, does this growing competition have an impact on a startup like WealthApp and how it could result in expansion of the fintech ecosystem ?

Since the evolution of technology and start-up boom, Indian economy has been a huge market place for various types of businesses. Every entrant in the start-up space has been looking at diversifications based on their growth and funding options available around them. Also with the growing economy and huge population, fintech ecosystem has so much potential yet to be unlocked.

At WealthApp, the team comes with a tremendous domain knowledge and experience in the financial sector. We are glued on to the ongoing actions and want to be the best in the market with providing right products and offerings with a remarkable customer service. The market looks extremely responsive for WealthApp at the moment and we would like to be focused on our current service offerings instead of diversifying into many portfolios at this point of time. Currently, WealthApp deals only with mutual fund portfolios because MFs are very well regulated, are very difficult to understand, and the seed money requirement is very less.

You mentioned earlier that there is a growing demand of products like WealthApp in tier-2, tier-3 cities [and beyond], what are some of the marketing initiatives that your team has taken in order to penetrate into that particular market ?

The tier 2 towns and beyond is where the potential lies untapped. The revolution in technology and touch of power has reduced the distance between both the worlds. It has digitally enabled the end customer to gain access to the knowledge and information today. This has opened up new dimensions for them to look into new avenues of investment options.

It has created inroads for WealthApp to proceed further and we are equipped with sound knowledge on the subject. We have created a team of experts who reach out to the end customers in these markets, helping them in communicating the knowledge on investments, building portfolios and managing them. We have been working with the target audience in various parts of the country.

Along with the integrated AMC approach, building investor porfolio as per his requirements, etc. your team also provides advisory services to your customers. Are these services charged and how has been the customer response to these services [since none of the finance platform provides such tailor-made services] ?

At WealthApp, the platform is equipped to build a persona of the customer on its platform and provide advisory recommendations for investments. The automated investment service has been kept free of cost while some specific value added serives are being developed that may be on a chargeable basis. Market response to our platform has been terrific so far and we are extremely encouraged to serve our customers in the best possible manner.

What is the revenue model of WealthApp and does it follow the Freemium model ?

WealthApp does not charge its customers for the automated investment service platform. It charges the fund houses a small fee. There are a number of tools and products in various stages of development and testing that may be used by the customer for a fee.

Are there are any RBI guidelines regulating the app based businesses [P2P, Line Of Credit, etc] in India or to put it the other way round, is there a requirement to regulate them ?

The app is a channel to reach out to people conveniently. The entire advisory on our platform are fully regulated by SEBI while the payments are governed with the rules laid out by the RBI.

2016 was a tough year for startups [especially from funding point of view], how according to you should entrepreneurs deal with such adverse situations ?

Having recognized a real need gap in the market and put in place a solution that adds real value to the customer, what remains critical for an entrepreneur to tide over such times is an ability to evolve as they learn alongside persevering.

After demonetization, there has been a huge demand for payment apps [including UPI], wallet providers providing investment options like Digital Gold, etc. do you see that trend working in favour of apps like WealthApp [that makes an investor’s life smoother] ?

Absolutely. As more and more people become aware of digital platforms and become comfortable using them, it helps us explain the delivery mechanism of our service to our customers in a more contextual fashion.

As per your entrepreneurial experience, when should an entrepreneur look out for external funding ?

A couple of common circumstances when one should seek external funding could include situations when you either need funds to build/improvise your product/service or when your own revenues are not sufficient to sustain growth.

Some books that you highly recommend for entrepreneurs

Some of my recent reads that I recommend  for entrepreneurs are Shoe dog by Phil Knight, Predictably irrational by Dan Ariely and The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly.

Some closing thoughts for our readers!

Effective financial management is key to meeting various life goals. This could include various aspects of our lives such as savings, expenses, investments, budgeting et al. To do any or all of this, one should seek the help of qualified financial experts to guide them through the process.

Choosing the right financial advisor is key and you must ask all questions that you need answered to make a well-informed decision. Keep in mind that the amount of wealth that we build is less a function of our income and more a function of our savings rate. And while they say money can’t buy happiness, I beg you to reconsider.

We thank Gaurav Dhawan for sharing his insights with our readers. If you are planning to put your money to work via smart investments, then you should download WealthApp. If you have any questions for Gaurav or the WealthApp Team, please email them here or share them via a comment to this article.