While working for Oracle in Bengaluru in 2013, Varun was looking to invest in mutual funds. However, he soon found out it wasn’t an easy task. The processes were tediously long: getting in touch with an agent, signing a bunch of papers every time he made a fresh investment or wanted to redeem any investment. He felt that choosing a good fund felt like finding a needle in a haystack.
After consulting his friends, Varun realised that most of them stayed away from investing or ended up locking their money in regular bank fixed deposits. That’s when it hit him that there is a latent demand for a portal which makes investing easy and simple for everyone. Thus, Rupeevest was born.
Amalgamation of the idea and team
Rupeevest is a platform that provides a one-stop solution for any kind of financial product an individual needs: from wealth management (mutual funds, fixed deposits etc.) to insurance, loans and credit cards.
After Varun came up with the idea, all it took was a phone call to get Mayank and Sweta on board. Being IIT-Kharagpur alumni, both Varun and Mayank have strong technical background which came in handy when deciding to use tech to simplify financial decisions of an investor.
“We aim to bring every product available in the market under one roof and then help the individual make the right choice. Rupeevest is like a supermarket minus the hassle of product discovery by leveraging technology and our financial expertise,” says Mayank.
The idea the team says is to minimise the paperwork involved in any financial activity that a user is looking for, be it investment, loans, credit cards or insurance. On Rupeevest, the user fills in a one-time registration form after which he or she receives a mail with a printed version. Signature on that form along with producing simple proof is required to complete the registration process, after which the whole process is online.
To find the best suited product for a particular user, each product is filtered for its:
- Return – Ranging from one month to five years, to check for consistency, Alpha ranging from one year to five years
- Risk – Volatility, Beta, Sharpe Ratio, Sortino Ratio, Information Ratio, Treynor Ratio, Jensen’s Alpha and Active Risk
- Investment style like large cap, mid cap etc.
- Fund managers
- Exceptions are made if the financial experts are extremely confident on a particular fund’s portfolio.
Solving the problem
All this is done in the background and the user only sees the best two to three funds in every category to keep the whole process simple and effective for him/her.
Mayank adds that a registered user can choose multiple investment options and invest in less than five minutes. After the transaction is done, the user can track his portfolio on the website in a seamless manner. With reports such as asset class allocation, sector-wise allocation, return till date, capital gains report (to simplify taxation) and many more, it gives you a clear snapshot of your entire portfolio. All these can also be clubbed for your entire family.
“The user is not charged anything for the entire service. We have our collaboration will all the asset management companies who pay us a brokerage depending on asset class,” adds Mayank.
Currently, Rupeevest has brought every mutual fund house on the platform. It aims to use the same model in insurance and loans. “We faced hiccups to get the customers to understand online investing as a concept and to get traction on the website,” says Mayank
To solve these problems, the team gets in touch with their first-time investors and take them through the process. They claim to have minimised the steps involved to keep the process simple for the investors.
Traction and funding
Currently based out of Kolkata, Rupeevest has an AUM of around Rs 10 crore with 70 transacting clients. With more than 200 registered already, the startup is registering 20 new clients every week and its AUM has grown by 150 per cent from 2014.
A tech-based startup is always looking for good coders and web developers. Apart from that they are looking for people who can join the sales and operations team. “Though we can sell every possible mutual fund to our clients, we cherry-pick only the best funds to invest in. With swift and easy online transactions we have made investing seem like less of a task,” adds Mayank.
Currently bootstrapped, the team is focussing on getting their product right and the current priority is to work on optimising the offerings over scaling up. They also aim to be a one-stop shop and are working on increasing the verticals like loans, insurance etc., at the same time.
Given that the financial space is extremely cluttered with ever-growing products in mutual funds, fixed deposits, life insurance, general insurance, mortgages, loans, credit cards and trading accounts, it gets a little overwhelming for an individual. The team plans to bring all these offerings under one umbrella. They currently have brought transaction of mutual funds online for all customers and have initiated loans and insurance to be the next products to go online.
The market space
India is a prime landscape for entrepreneurs using technology to promote financial inclusion. In the country where 60 per cent of Indians are unbanked and 90 per cent of small businesses have no links to formal financial institutions, over 60 per cent of countrymen own mobile phones and over 60 per cent will own a smartphone by 2019. This growth around smartphones has ushered in a new era in the financial sector in the country.