They say “money talks” and so far the only talking that money has been doing is to the ears of corporations and never to those of the customer. Satkam Divya is at the head of a company who want to change the way we look at personal finances. He established “Rupeetalk” with this express aim in mind.
He came forward to share his young entrepreneurs’ story and gave us a first hand account of his company saying “The objective behind Rupeetalk is to become a one-stop solution for all personal finance needs of Indian consumers. The Indian consumer today has a plethora of choices when it comes to taking personal finance decisions. While in theory this should be a blessing, it doesn’t exactly translate that way in practice. For an average Indian consumer,
who is not very comfortable with personal finance matters, multitude of choices might result in confusion. Also, multiple choices require additional effort on behalf of the consumer in finding the right product. Hence the challenge was two-fold – 1) educate the consumer about personal finance 2) aid him/her in taking an informed decision and choosing the right product based on his/her individual requirements.”
“So the concept is “to facilitate easy comparison of financial products upfront on the website basis customer profile and allow applying across multiple banks”. Unlike all the other companies in the segment, we help customers to find a right product/bank rather than helping bank/FI to find the right customers. Once we receive customer’s application, we make a call through our call center to check interest and eligibility of the customer. After which the customer information is passed on only to the banks he has applied with and not to anyone else.”
The more cynical and skeptical of our brethren may assume that the services being offered are not what they seem, but Satkam is quick to dismiss such talk. He clarified who they mean to work for and how they plan to make their own rupee off it saying “Rupeetalk is a portal to help a common man in making a right financial decision, and all its services are focused on a retail customer. There is huge scope for that. Even if we are restricting ourselves to internet, we have 40 million customers to serve. Currently almost 10000 customers are visiting the site on the daily basis.”
“As explained earlier, the idea is to be on the customer’s side and help him to take the right financial decision. So unlike other companies we do not hard sell any product to any customer rather we work on the pull model and let the customer come to our site and apply for certain product(s). And most importantly we sell leads only to the bank where the customer is interested in and not to all of them. In the course of facilitating comparison & application of various products, we also provide relevant content and calculator for better planning and understanding.”
“The existing players in this space were only focusing on selling their own or other’s products. It was a classic case of hard-selling without understanding the customers’ requirements. We decided that it was very essential to educate the consumers. Hence right from inception, we had a very strong focus on content on our website. For all our products, we developed comprehensive content in a language which a layman could understand. We developed modules such as guides, tips, faqs, and glossary for all our products. In addition, we also provided a bank of calculators to aid consumers in making financial decisions. The idea was to educate the consumer and thus empower him to take a well-informed decision.”
“Similarly, we developed a platform to enable the consumer to easily compare between products and services being offered by various institutions. We also developed a module which could recommend a particular product to the consumer based on his/her profile. A visitor to www.rupeetalk.com now only has to give few basic details about himself to get a list of options across financial institutions. The options are then compared on various parameters and features. For instance, a comparison between credit cards might happen on the basis of parameters like interest rate, balance transfer rate, reward points, interest free days etc. What’s more, the visitor can instantly apply for the product of his/her choice on the website itself.”
“The business model is very much viable as today almost all the banks/FIs are interested in buying leads of customers who are interested in their products, and what we provide to them is absolutely interested and eligible customers and at the same time ensuring the product fitment too. And we charge them on per lead basis.”
The market that he is playing to has a viable and brilliant future, in his estimation- “The growth potential can be measured from the following facts.
“So today lead generation is happening across all the products like Credit Cards, Personal Loans, Home Loans, Car Loans, Business Loans, Loan against Properties, Life Insurance, Health Insurance, Car Insurance, Travel Insurance, Home Insurance, Fixed Deposit Etc. And every product has a potential to earn at least Rs. 50 lacs revenue per month at this point in time.”
The man behind the concept and the machinery has always wanted to make something of his own. Satkam was never the drone or the worker bee but instead an architect of his own dreams. He says “I have always been a guy who wanted to do something on my own right from my engineering days. And moreover, while even when I was working somewhere else also, I never saw myself growing in the same organization to the top most post, I always considered that as a temporary phase in my life and more of a learning phase.”
His setbacks have also worked in his favor. The saying goes fortune favors the brave and they certainly have favored him. Satkam told us about his hindrances saying “Through Rupeetalk, we tried to get into multiple product offerings simultaneously which put a lot of stress on our resources and we had a tough time trying to consolidate. It later proved to be a blessing in disguise though, because when the downturn hit, we were able to sail through because of our diversified portfolio.”
“The biggest challenge has been to build the right team initially, which we have overcome now with our continuous effort and good networking.”
In the year and a half since Rupeetalk started they have grown to 50 employees. Their biggest achievement has been their phenomenal revenue growth, which has been around 100% so far. They have also been featured by many media houses from the “Young Turks” show on CNBC TV 18, Economic Times to other similar newspapers
Satkam dismisses the thoughts of quitting just because of a few hard times, he says “I think I enjoy this part of entrepreneurship the most and moreover I find myself lucky because I am doing what I wanted to do.” He also proclaims his vision for Rupeetalk saying “We will become one stop shop for most of the financial products like Credit Cards, Personal Loans, Home Loans, Business Loan, Loan against Properties, Life Insurance, Health Insurance, Fixed Deposit, Mutual Fund, Travel Insurance, Car Insurance, Current Account, and Saving Account.”
“So by 2010, we will certainly consolidate our online business and would be planning to go offline too.”
He aired his thoughts as a beacon to other entrepreneurs and advised them saying “I think it is important for an entrepreneur to dream big but at the same time they should do thorough research before taking the plunge.”
The Yourstory team wishes good fortune to Satkam and hopes he continues to make the Rupee Talk for everyone.