“We are very excited about this space. We are doing what we are good at, which is banking, and are also going beyond banking to help startups during every stage of evolution,” said Tanu Bhargava, Senior Vice President and Head – New Economy Group at Axis Bank, setting the tone for the Axis Bank workshop at TechSparks 2016.
Tanu and Bikramjit Sen, Head – Collection & Payments, Digital & Current Accounts at Axis Bank took the audience through how the bank is enabling startups. On a lighter note, Bikramjit noted,
In my conversations with the younger generation, I have realised that banking is considered ‘boring’. But the crowd is young and energised. At Axis Bank, we are trying to generate the same kind of energy.
Understanding and meeting the needs of the startup sector
“We are trying to understand the needs of the sector more closely, and tailor products and services accordingly. We are trying to create enabling services which may not strictly be banking related services.” That was one of the key reasons that Axis Bank created a dedicated team for this space, called the New Economy Group, to serve the banking needs of new-age companies.
Transformations in Banking
“There is a huge channel transformation in the banking sector as a whole with all banking services going digital. For instance, digital payments and related enablements are more or less omni-present. However, we must appreciate the rapid pace at which this is happening. The focus for Axis Bank is to lead these kind of transformations.”
Beyond banking to enable startups
The bank is enabling startups in a number of ways – from accounting help, legal matters, or office space requirements, Axis Bank is making it possible for startups to access them in one place through industry and ecosystem partnerships.
“Come to us to get access to services that are crucial for starting up,”
said Bikramjit. For instance, Axis Bank has tie-ups with organisations such as SignCatch for designing e-commerce websites and mobile apps and online marketing related requirements; Eximdesk for help in the area of trade, ERP, trade documentation, global marketplace; India Flings for company incorporation, legal documentation, tax filings, compliance, etc. These are just a few services. In addition, the bank has curated a number of products and services for entrepreneurs and young startups in the area of mobile banking, payment wallets, opening accounts online, integration of innovative collection and payment solutions onto a single platform.
Sharing why more startups should leverage Axis Bank’s support, Tanu said, “We hope to deliver everything, from working capital needs to incubation and acceleration support. While we have been supporting over 25 fintech startups for more than a year, this year in June we formally launched the Thought Factory – an innovation lab facility in Bengaluru aimed at accelerating the development of innovative technology solutions for the banking sector. Through this initiative, we are helping startups to take forward a viable business idea – from the ideation stage to pivot the concept and helping with the go-to market phase.
“The question we are asking today is how do we help startups in every stage of evolution.”
Tanu adds that answering this question, led them to “introduce a host of solutions, services and products like the suite of seven products that are offered to entrepreneurs and startups at one go. This includes a number of online payment services, and credit card enablement, even though you might not have a salaried job since you are just starting up.”
Bikramjit explained that not many entrepreneurs are aware of what Axis Bank can do for them. “We are prepared to walk the extra mile and help startups grow,” he said, reiterating the bank’s commitment to partnering in the growth of startups.
A big shoutout to all our sponsors – Zendesk, Axis Bank, Sequoia Capital India Advisors , Digital Ocean, Microsoft, AWS, Akamai, Target, Verisign, Kerala Startup Mission, Brand Launch Centre, Tork and Blink.