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In conversation with Pruthiraj Rath, CEO of Payzello

Today, we speak with Pruthiraj Rath, CEO of Payzello on the journey of Payzello and how it is shaping the neo banking sector through its innovative solutions.

Read the full transcript here:

TechGraph: What is Payzello and who is it targeted at?

Pruthiraj Rath: Payzello is a neo banking platform, which redesigns banking for the digital age. With an impending launch in November, this year, Payzello acts as a one-stop solution for banking, financial planning, and lending services’ needs.

With these offerings, we work towards making the financial journey more convenient for the millennials comprising of 200 million early salaried class and college students, which is currently not offered by traditional financial setups.

TechGraph: How did you get inspiration to establish Payzello? How did you go about researching and validating the idea?

Pruthiraj Rath: The motivation behind Payzello could be traced back to the realization of the fundamental issue faced by a huge number of students while initiating their undergraduate or post graduate educational journey.

These students, in order to open their bank account, need to approach the PSU banks, as private sector banks pose constraints like maintaining a minimum account balance. Once the application is done, it takes not less than 5-7 working days to open a functional savings account.

This user base often complaint of unsatisfactory user experience and inefficient banking application. These new to credit customers lack effective access to a small term credit line, as traditional institutions employ credit bureau data to assess the borrowers.

The existing digital assets do not incorporate pre-fund allocation and category budgeting. The users need to carry 3 different cards for debit, credit, and forex utilities. They also lack access to a dedicated relationship manager to assist them in wealth management.

Realizing this, we conducted market research with the best representation of this user base, which included 8000 youths, to boil down to their precise financial needs, subsequently helping in molding Payzello’s offerings.

TechGraph: What is the business model and offerings of Payzello?

Pruthiraj Rath: We offer a range of services to its customers on a single intelligent interface, bolstering convenience and simplicity, in our bid to create a seamless financial journey for its customers.

Payzello enables its banking facet by integrating its core banking solutions (CBS), with the partner bank’s CBS. The platform allows the customers to open a savings bank account within 3 minutes. Apart from convenience, the Payzello CBS inculcates various security functionalities. For instance, the users are able to lock and unlock their cards in real-time.

Furthermore, we offer our customers a unique card, with a 3 in 1 utility, wherein, the users are able to switch its usage between debit, credit, and forex, at will.

Another significant offering on the Payzello platform is its comprehensive expense management, which deploys AI and IFTTT powered assistance to keep an eye on the user’s expenditures and other financial decisions like investments. It also provides relevant alternatives to ensure effective savings.

TechGraph: What are the unique things about Payzello as compared to its peer competitors?

Pruthiraj Rath: Payzello has designed a distinguished set of offerings, rendering convenient banking and financial service experience for its customers. It utilizes Robo Advisory and Robo Customer Service modules to provide offering personalized banking and financial management services to the customers.

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Payzello offers its customers a never seen before, powerful 3 1 card, enabling the customers to use it as a debit, credit, or forex card. We have designed a highly effective gamification feature to assist customers in their transactions, as well as help them in financial management and planning.

To top that, Payzello enables access to the users, including new to credit customers, to a dynamic credit line as and when required through the partnered Financial Institutions. All these offerings work towards creates a simple and convenient financial journey for the customers, setting Payzello apart in the competitive space.

TechGraph: Why do you think this is the right time for Neo banks to enter the Indian market?

Pruthiraj Rath: We are in a mode of constant evolution and this fact is no different for the banking and finance sector. The integration of technology and finance is being challenged continuously, and the advent of neo banks is the next logical step.

This process, has particularly, sped up with circumstances created by the pandemic. It has called for finding alternatives to the physical processes, in every walk of life.

Banking and finance, in particular, is exploring technology integration in the processes like documentation, verification, and inspection. This factual being relevant, neo banks happen to address this exact sequence of actions.

While a concept like a neo bank will render various stakeholders’ financial journey convenient, it is the significant customer base of millennials, whose needs it attempts to fulfill. It is rather an infamous perception of millennials about banking and finance being complicated and tedious that neo banks strive to demystify.

Neo banks like Payzello, perfectly resonate with this customer group’s need for a single platform to address their banking, lending, expense, and financial management needs. This is the reason why Neo banks are staring at the most appropriate time to enter the Indian market and explore the tremendous opportunities to simplify the financial journeys of its customers.

This is reiterated by the PwC, as it forecasts neo banks to grow at 46% CAGR over the 2019-2026 period, generating ~$400bn by the end of it, globally. With the customers’ enthusiastic acceptance, neo banks have also generated enormous interests from corporates, venture capitalists, and investors. With such support and initiatives like Digital India, neo banks will only progress in one direction, up.

TechGraph: What lies ahead for Payzello in the time to come?

Pruthiraj Rath: Covid-19 posed circumstances that led to a slight delay in our operational launch and fundraising. However, we decided to utilize this time to work towards strengthening our business model and enhancing our technological expertise.

Having developed a robust platform, we are more than optimistic about the upcoming period. This also stems from the fact that the pandemic has sped up the digital adoption and literacy of the masses.

Our immediate focus is to serve the significant target customer base, undergraduate and postgraduate college students, who will be resuming/beginning their in-campus education shortly. This digitally empowered group comprises of the batches of 2020-21 and 2021-22, accounting for a pool of around 70 million.

Payzello is also aiming to build a strong fund base. While we raised an undisclosed large amount from family office, a venture fund, and top CXO’s from Europe-based Neo banks, we are in the mid-stage discussion with venture funds to raise an additional $8M in the coming nine months. In entirety, we are looking at a period filled with opportunities and optimism.

TechGraph: What are your short term and long term business vision?

Pruthiraj Rath: Payzello’s platform is designed to empower the millennial customer base to become financially sound, through its unique financial management offerings, catering to customers’ tailored needs.

A significant step towards that is making this customer base familiar with the platform by providing them effective access. In our launch year, we are expecting to onboard 1.20 lac customers. In a span of the next 2 years, we aim at acquiring around 24 lac customers.

Our aspirations stem from the huge size of this untapped market and the psychographic characteristics of the target customer base.