Rati Shetty, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer of BankBazaar talks about her entrepreneurial journey with BankBazaar and how she hopes to change mindsets.
Born into a family of entrepreneurs, Rati Shetty was naturally inclined to be one herself.
With a penchant for learning, she gravitated towards entrepreneurship after finishing her bachelor's degree in Business Administration from MOP Vaishnav College in Chennai.
After completing her higher education, she spent a couple of years working in Taipei and in Miami. She handled international projects that involved taking successful brands from one geography to a new one, facilitating their operations and execution at the same time.
The turning point happened in 2007 when she tried to avail a home loan with her husband Arjun Shetty.
Getting a home loan in India was not easy, the couple realised to their dismay. They approached various banks and soon became frustrated as the process was both tedious and time-consuming.
Speaking with YourStory, she said,
"We saw that the loan application process was long-winded and steeped in paperwork and red tape. After visiting multiple banks and jumping through several hoops to get a loan, consumers had no way of knowing whether they really had got the best and most suitable offer for them."
After her return to India, Rati sought a quick solution to the home loan application process. She did that by turning an entrepreneur who would make the entire process easy. This laid the foundation for BankBazaar that she started with Arjun and his brother Adhil Shetty in 2008.
Headquartered in Chennai, BankBazaar is now a mammoth online marketplace which aims to inculcate financial awareness among consumers by giving them instant customised rate quotes on different financial products.
"We thought about the idea for BankBazaar, spoke to a few people, and in two weeks, we started the company with Adhil Shetty on board as well. We wanted a catchy name that people would remember. BankBazaar is a simple name that people across the country and outside could relate to. The name signifies a choice of banks and a one-stop shop for comparison and application for a financial product," Rati says.
When she first started, she used sponsored channels in the market like Google Adwords and display ads in the digital space to acquire the first set of customers for BankBazaar.
The continuous aim of BankBazaar is to offer easy, hassle-free and qualitative experiences. Rati believes a good experience can rub off on users and go a long way in acquiring repeat customers. These, she says, leads to these individuals eventually becoming brand evangelists who spread the word about their own personal experiences with the product.
"As the landscape of the Indian internet population gradually grew, more people started to discover BankBazaar, as many of them were on the lookout for a great, clean shopping experience in the world of banking and finance," Rati shares.
Emphasising on the need for gender-balanced organisations, Rati says the scenario has changed, for the better. More and more women are joining the workforce and there is no dearth of highly qualified professionals in different sectors.
"I am happy to say that BankBazaar is a part of this transformation. As of last year, the growth rate of female employees clocked 110 percent and 22 percent of leadership positions are held by women."
Rati claims that the company has a comprehensive maternity policy that is considered among the best in the country, or even globally. At BankBazaar, besides the mandatory 26-week maternity leave, women can also take a six-month sabbatical after their maternity leave. The expectant mothers also get extra breaks and special attention is paid to ergonomics with the provision of comfortable options like footstools and back support. The company also offers structured reintegration and mentoring programmes so that women employees can concentrate on every aspect of their lives without compromising on their career or worrying about lost opportunities.
"Our employees are our biggest assets, bringing tremendous skills and value to the table. This is our way of showing our appreciation and confidence in them," Rati says.
"There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to achieve work-life balance," says the feisty woman entrepreneur. She stresses on the need for every woman to figure out what works best for her.
"You do not have to give one up for the other. Be it at home or at the workplace, it all boils down to smart time and people management."
"Organisation is important. It is also essential to always focus 100 percent on any task at home or the office. Structure isn’t only applicable to the workplace and freedom isn’t limited to your home – by infusing freedom into your work life, and a little structure into your personal life, you’ll find you can get a lot of things done. Manage time, people and efficiently prioritise or optimise what you are doing both at home and the workplace," she adds.
With a team strength of over 1000, Rati is a happy Chief Product Officer with her customers accepting and embracing BankBazaar's model according to their own financial needs. What started off with a few products on its website, has now grown to an exhaustive range of financial products that include loans, credit cards, insurance, and mutual funds from over 85 partners across the website and mobile app.
"We continue to be dedicated towards providing simple, clean and clutter-free product experiences using smart technology with innovations such as paperless transactions and instant approval/disbursal, and intelligent interface design. We will continue this focussed approach so as to enable customers to access the right financial product while also having an enjoyable user experience."
Having A/B tested his career with engineering, sales, writing, and product management, Sampath now executes a callback function for a second stint with YourStory. Loves to eat, learn, write, travel, and take photographs. Often spotted consuming lethal doses of Dosa on the main roads of Bangalore. Tweet to him at @sampathptrvu.