The foreign exchange markets in India thus far had been massively fragmented and offline dominated. The forex marketplace was known for notorious rate of fluctuations and lack of uniformity regarding forex products and regulations. You could buy apparel on e-commerce sites like Flipkart, check out restaurant info on Zomato. But when it comes to getting a foreign exchange service you have to do it only face to face. There was no online facility available in India before. With BookMyForex, you can now book a transaction 24×7 and the company removes the hassle associated with buying foreign currency.
Negotiating a good deal of forex is one of the biggest hassles. With BookMyForex you have access to live data rate, no obligation, go online and choose your requirement. BookMyForex eliminates haggling for a rate and going door to door between different exchange shops or banks looking for good rates. They even offer full pay on delivery and home delivery facilities to their customers.
Through its exclusive tie-ups with banks, the company provides some of the finest rates. Their rates are live to the last second and are extremely competitive. They even let you track and freeze the live rates on their site so you know you’re getting a good deal.
Father and the son give birth to a startup
Mr. Sudarshan Motwani is a science graduate from Delhi University with a PG diploma in Marketing. He worked in the banking sector. Sudarshan first introduced forex business line as a new vertical in Bank of Punjab. Foreign exchange services subsequently went on to become Bank of Punjab’s most profitable business line. Later, his son Nitin Motwani nudged him to go on entrepreneurial journey. He says, “My son had insisted and encouraged me to the point that I started BookMyForex.com.” Sudarshan says, “Forex and remittance from an online platform was on my mind for over five years but I didn’t have the entire picture and required IT help to connect a few missing links. Breakthrough came with ideas proposed by Nitin from an IT perspective.”
Their “Aha” moment came when they formulated the entire work flow and got one of the largest banks excited about the project. Their biggest “ouch” moment was when they found out that it wasn’t easy to implement a simple work flow in large banks they had tied up with. Fortunately, it made them think and come up with several new ideas that were actually better than their original work flow in many ways.
BookMyForex has partnered with different banks for different products and services. For example, BookMyForex offers Axis Bank and ICICI cards from their branches and customers can also buy ING and Axis cards from ING Vysya and Axis Bank branches respectively once they book an order at BookMyForex.
BookMyForex’s target audiences are retail customers who may want to buy/sell forex or those who want to send an international remittance. Customer could therefore be one who may be travelling overseas or any Indian who needs to send money abroad for education, employment, immigration, overseas medical treatment etc. Majority of remittances flows into North America, Europe and Australia.
Besides having a first mover’s advantage, BookMyForex has conquered three areas of their businesses.
Signing up with banks requires months of discussions and follow up due to reputational aspects of the participating banks.
Reputation and vast experience of the founders in Indian forex and banking industry that made strategic tie ups possible with banks and channel partners. Similarly required operational work flows were created in a very short period of time.
BookMyForex application is built in-house and with an in-depth understanding of the subject matter. Similar attempt by anyone else will require huge expense apart from a deeper understanding of banking and forex industry.
Future growth and expansion plans
The company already has presence in all the major cities and towns through tie-ups with banks and other channel partners across India. And they have their own branches in Delhi / NCR, Hyderabad and Bangalore. They will expand more branches in more major cities soon.
Sudarshan said more than half of their business is third party and the ratio is further tilting in favour of third party transactions month on month. They do have channel partners who are RBI authorised dealers in foreign exchange who do door-step delivery across India.
BookMyForex so far raised 2.85 crores of which 60 lacs have been invested by Sundarshan personally and balanced by promoters and executive director of a private sector bank with whom he has worked previously.
The company continues its quest of building a user base and winning customer’s trust.
Founder’s advice to other entrepreneurs
BookMyForex CEO has one word of advice to the next generation of entrepreneurs — patience! He adds, “No matter how amazing your product or service is it will take time. Often your employees, even if they have worked with you for years, will take time to start believing in your business idea. Things will change and change very fast as more and more customers start coming back with compliments and that builds internal environment of confidence and trust in your ideas and business model.