KyePot is a Singaporean startup that provides users – most particularly those from emerging markets -, with a platform to save, lend and borrow in „trusted social groups.“ The mobile-based platform allows users to contribute to and borrow from a group pool of savings, bringing individuals together to achieve their goals. KyePot targets the underbanked populations in India and Africa.
In an exclusive interview with Finanzprodukt.ch, Siddhartha Gandhi, Co-Founder and CEO of Kyepot, shared the story behind his startup, what led him to launch this particular product, his plans for the future, and what’s coming next for Kyepot following Startupbootcamp Fintech Singapore. He also tells us that he is hiring people!
Firstly, could you please introduce your startup? What does KyePot offer?
Siddhartha Gandhi (S.G.): KyePot is a mobile platform for group savings & lending that helps under banked people in emerging markets to save intelligently, access loans at cheaper rates and achieve their goals.
How did you come up with this particular product?
KyePot started from my own research on Indian financial inclusion & group savings and lending product Chit funds, which are a manual way for people to save in groups and communities.
Chit fund organizer’s (who create and manage the groups) face problems like high cost of operations and inability to scale, and participants face a number of problems like lack of transparency and empowerment.
The asset class itself encourages people to inculcate a good savings behavior and cost of capital for borrower is significantly lower than the other asset classes. This asset class teaches people to save up in order to borrow, thus teaches a better financial management in this modern consumption driven economy.
„Our mobile platform takes away all the current problems and empowers people to be in control of the groups, savings, borrowings and also earn rewards.“
Financial inclusion in the current form in India, i.e. people getting their first bank account in life is just an enabler and not working efficiently. India opened 137 million financial inclusion bank accounts in 2015, out of which 47% have zero cash balance and all accounts have insufficient balance.
„Banks are not teaching people how to save properly and there is a vast amount of cash lying in the under banked segment that can benefit savers, borrowers and financial institutions positively. KyePot helps unlock that underutilized cash and brings it into the digital economy.“
We found similar problems and behavior in Africa and we assembled a team of individuals who cared about this problem passionately and also had the local expertise in these geographies to serve those markets.
Can you elaborate on how your technology can empower those who have limited access to financial services?
We partner with distribution channels like financial institutions and non-banking financial institutions to distribute this group savings product to end consumer, which brings the groups savings into the formal banking system.
Since financial and non-financial institutions are partners in this network, consumer gain by being able to get further access to digital banking & mobile money products, improve their financial and social credibility.
We are solving the real problem of financial inclusion as people start savings and borrowing with the cash that was somewhere locked in their houses utilized, ineffectively used or lost.
It’s been a month now since Startupbootcamp Fintech Singapore’s Demo Day. How did the event go?
The Demo day was attended by around 500 people and turned out to be a very positive experience for our team. Getting introduced by Managing Partner of Leo Burnett, James Bickford was an honor and a chance to pitch to such a large audience of financial services professional, investors was exciting but nerve wrecking.
„We had continuous influx of attendees in our pitch booth and our pitch, which was featured by CNBC, was cited as one of the most remembered pitches on that day.“
How was the overall experience and what would you say is the most valuable thing you learnt from this program?
The entire 3-month program was very beneficial for us as we were able to connect to a number of potential business partners and investors, which is not an easy task anyways. We learnt immensely from our mentors and advisors how to accelerate our business.
Did KyePot manage to conclude any partnership following the program?
During the program we were introduced to venture capitalists, angel investors who are now interested in participating in our seed funding round. We have majority of funds committed and should finalize the close soon.
„We are also in advance discussions with a number of partners and are actively working on three partnerships that gives us access to major markets in Africa & India.“
What is coming next for KyePot?
We are looking to increase our pipeline of launch markets and also looking to make senior and specialist hires in the next 3 to 6 months to strengthen our product and technology team.
If you think you are an ambitious and talented professional wanting to work for a fintech company that is going to make financial access fairer in this world, connect with us.