September 20, 2019
With the word “FinTech” being mentioned for the first time ever in the union budget of India in 2019, there has never been a better time to be in the industry. India is said to have the second-largest ecosystem for FinTech startups. From cutting-edge, tech-driven solutions tailored for personal and corporate finance to portals that allow users to manage their financial transactions digitally, FinTech companies have been able to embrace and thrive upon innovation in this new industry. The FinTech industry, however, is far ahead of the industries established over the twists and turns in the timescapes of the past years. In terms of policies and standards addressing gender gaps and wage disparity issues, FinTech has emerged as one of the best industries for women to work within.
No wonder FinTech has been able to birth several wonder-women who either spearhead their own empires or help protect and run it. The list of these achievers is long but let's have a look at this non-exhaustive list of FinTech Founders/Co-founders who are contributing to India's FinTech story:
(This list is focused on FinTech founders and does not include some big names from banks, consulting firms, government authorities, and regulators).
Origin: Lizzie Chapman moved from London to India in 2012 and with two other equally passionate and adventurous individuals and started ZestMoney in 2015.
ZestMoney is a consumer lending platform that allows consumers to pay digital EMIs without credit cards or credit scores, making the process of availing loans in India much easier. The ZestMoney app offers loans to those who are in need through an AI, and machine-learning enabled risk profiler that scans every potential borrower.
Origin: Having spent a decade fueling new products and processes as the CEO of IFMR Group, Sucharita Mukherjee has been a popular name in the industry for a while now.
Mukherjee moved on from IFMR Group in 2017 and started Kaleidofin in partnership with the former CFO of IFMR, Puneet Gupta. Kaleidofin offers a financial platform for informal sectors and loans for small businesses, thereby tailoring intricate customized solutions that are sculpted based on the customer’s goals. Kaleidofin received a seed funding of $2.8 million from investors such as Omidyar Network, Blume Ventures, and Professor Shlomo Ben-Haim.
Origin: London Business School graduate, Simmi Sareen gathered much financial acumen through her 18 years of experience working in various esteemed banks and reputed organizations such as ICRA and Morgan Stanley.
Loans4ME started out in 2016 with a vision of providing easy loans to MSMEs by understanding the subjective needs of loan applicants and mentoring them, thus bridging the $400-billion market gap that existed at the time. Within the first 18 months of its operation, Loans4ME closed more than $30 million of loan transactions.
Origin: Meghna Suryakumar is a serial entrepreneur whose core strengths lie in leveraging Deep Tech, AI, Machine Learning, Risk Intelligence, and Amplified Intelligence for businesses.
In 2016, Suryakumar, along with her husband, founded Crediwatch, an information intelligence platform that offers big data risk analysis to corporations, thus being able to leverage intelligence for business success.
Origin: A magna cum laude in Economics from Yale, Priyanka Kanwar garnered experience in the banking sector with stints in Accenture and HSBC.
In 2017, Kanwar with her friend Prabhjot, started Kite as a platform that would empower people to sustain in a digital economy. It aims to eliminate the loss of time and money that businesses incur due to changes in policies and maintenance of finances. The company has processed over $70 million in transactions and has served more than 150 thousand people from 1200 cities.
Origin: With expertise in UI/UX and her management acumen as her core skills, Dalal has more than a decade of experience in the IT sector as well as in managing startups.
In 2010, Dalal started Pay1, a platform for retailers to explore new products, buy technology for their stores, and be able to conduct digital transactions and banking. As a consolidated financial platform for retailers, it also has the facility to offer micro-credit to retailers through tie-ups with NBFCs and banks.
Origin: An IIM-Bangalore alumnus, Mabel Chacko has more than 13 years of experience as a serial entrepreneur in the FinTech industry.
In 2017, she started Open, a neobanking platform designed for SMEs, which is the first of its kind in Asia. The platform allows SMEs to manage their accounting and banking processes much more efficiently. It received funding from investors such as Tiger Global, BEENEXT, Speedinvest, PayU, Unicorn India Ventures, ISMEAce, and BetterCapital India Syndicate.
Origin: With a strong marketing background, and a keen interest in designing, Khushboo Jain has worked at various fashion houses and brands in merchandising & sourcing departments.
Established in 2014, ImpactGuru is a crowdfunding platform for medical expenses, nonprofits, and personal causes. Jain mainly contributes to the marketing and communication strategies of the brand, along with conducting brand building exercises.
Origin: With over 18 years of retail risk management experience, Sumedha Naik has worked with finance experts specifically with regard to strategizing bank policies and managing lending risks.
Syntellect, established in 2011, is a platform designed with the intelligence of managing risks. Syntellect offers an entire suite of services through which a customer risk profile can be formulated, thus empowering companies to choose the right customers.
Origin: Shanti had over 18 years of engineering and entrepreneurship experience before she founded Let’sVenture.
LetsVenture, established in 2013, is an online funding platform that enables angel Investors, family offices, and funds to discover and invest in early-stage and growth startups. Shanti is also an angel investor, and her portfolio of notable investments includes Tripoto, bluegape, and others.
Origin: With over 15 years of diverse experience in network security, telecom, marketing and management consulting, Sayali co-founded PaySense in 2015.
PaySense is a lending solution provider for India consumers. It offers personal loans, vehicle loans, consumer loans, and other loans to manage life events such as marriage, travel or medical emergency.
Origin: With over six years of financial services experience, Upasana co-founded MobiKwik with an aim to build India’s one of the largest payment networks.
MobiKwik is a mobile wallet app used for P2P Money Transfer and retail payments. It also offers digital gold and other financial services like mutual funds, insurance and loans.
Every woman featured on this list has achieved her own pinnacle of success through her individual traits and strengths. However, the one thing they had in common was their willingness to pursue their own goals and the determination to take their ventures to newer heights. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so wait for the second part of this series of articles to learn about wonder-women in FinTech India.
[Updated on: 23/09/2019]