It was a packed venue brimming with banking experts, tech leaders, startup founders, representatives from leading brands and ecosystem enablers at the Ritz Carlton in Bengaluru on November 6, 2019. The reason? YES BANK, India’s fourth-largest private sector bank was announcing the launch of YES Fintech Developer Hub, India’s largest API sandbox with 50+ virtual APIs, marking the evolution of the Bank’s technologies to Open Banking.
It’s easy to see why the event had the ecosystem excited. The sandbox platform hosts more than 50+ APIs — the highest in the Indian Banking Sector —and will host over 100 APIs by the end of FY20. Above all,, the sandbox will help drive innovations in fintech by assisting corporates, MSMEs and startups to identify ‘best-fit’ APIs based on their sectors while also allowing them to test the APIs in a secure environment.
The launch event was attended by over 100 startup innovators including market leaders such as Swiggy, PhonePe, Blackbuck, Myntra and Razorpay, among others, who are already using the bank’s APIs for banking functions like instant cashback, in-app fund transfers, customer authentication and custom database management to develop innovations.
The emergence of a new value chain
YES BANK kickstarted the event with an address stating that the creation of the sandbox marked the emergence of a new value chain and an unprecedented opportunity to innovate and collaborate beyond just the fintech ecosystem, which in turn ushered in a new wave of digital and financial inclusion for India. YES BANK was the first bank in India to launch APIs that allowed integration with the technology systems of corporate clients. and now, the sandbox builds on our strategy of using API banking as an enabler to customise digital solutions for our clients,. Having seen over 1,255 clients live on APIs with over 1,200 integrations till date, YES BANK looks forward to the integrations increasing in scope and definition in the near future.
A new era of innovation, collaboration and inclusion
YES Fintech Developer also provides a boost to the bank’s effort of co-creating innovations with the fintech, startup and the developer ecosystems to enhance customer experience. While API suites from banks have helped such partnerships, it is often difficult for the startup and fintech ecosystem to experiment with live APIs and build new features and capabilities. The YES BANK sandbox will ease these concerns by providing a secure virtual environment to test, train and develop solutions with banking integrations. Developers can complete integrations in the environment and mimic how their solutions would work in a ‘live’ environment. Once they are comfortable, they can move to subscribe to the APIs.
Through the sandbox, YES BANK will provide access to APIs across four usage categories namely account management, payments, cards and CRM. It also hopes to facilitate partner sandbox APIs of organisations across sectors, shortly. Commenting on the launch, Ritesh Pai, Chief Digital Officer, YES BANK said, “YES Fintech Developer sandbox will create a perfect collaboration opportunity with startups to test emerging solutions such as alternative data-driven banking models, gamified solutions to nudge user behaviour and more. Along with this, the platform would showcase our API suite – functionalities, responses with corporate and MSME clients and help them to understand the full attributes of our API stack, while enabling faster integration with the bank’s APIs.”
Catch a quick explainer of how the platform works in the video below:
APIs as the backbone of open banking
Leading a discussion on APIs as the backbone of open banking, Ritesh Pai, in conversation with Rahul Chari, Co-founder, PhonePe; Nitin Gupta - CEO, Ola Money; Abhijit Bose, Country Head, WhatsApp India; Anand Bajaj, CEO, Nearby Technologies and Sanjay Swami, Managing Partner, Prime Venture Partners, spoke about open banking APIs, facilitating plug-and-play operations, the focus on innovation and user experience, and how together, these could spur a multiplier effect for growing the customer base and revenue, while simultaneously reducing costs.
Rahul Chari of PhonePe was excited about the India story, its journey from cash to digital payments, and the possibilities for digital and financial inclusion. “India has leapfrogged in the payments landscape. With a third of the country’s population unbanked, there’s a tremendous scale and opportunity for financial inclusion,” he said, adding that YES Bank was one of the most progressive banks when it came to using technology. “This sandbox will help accelerate innovation, and we are going to see a lot of entrepreneurs not just think, but also execute on the ideas,” he affirmed.
Building on the point about digital inclusion, Nitin Gupta of Ola Money was also optimistic about further disruption in the FinTech landscape, adding that a partner like YES Bank that did most of the financial API weightlifting was a boon to businesses, fintech players and startups. Abhijit Bose of WhatsApp India also shared the panel’s optimism for progress. “We are incubating and launching startups faster than we can count and we can only scale with initiatives like this,” he said, adding that APIs built for the present will power platforms for the future and serve as a template not just for India, but for the world at large.
The growing scope for Open Banking and API connectivity models
From facilitating innovation at scale and financial inclusion, the adoption of new instant-payment infrastructures, to the growing expansion of Open Banking and API connectivity models, the industry is changing at an unprecedented velocity.
The second panel of the day saw Vivek Venugopalan Nair, President Transaction Banking, YES Bank in conversation with Akash Sinha, Co-Founder, Cashfree; Anirudh Poddar, Director, Tally; Apoorva Jois, COO ShopX; and Madhusudan Ekambaram, CEO, KrazyBee discuss the cross-sectoral innovation driven by APIs and how APIs help improve customer experience, augment the country’s digital infrastructure and boost the economy.
Speaking about how open collaboration was key to making fintech more innovative and inclusive, Anirudh Poddar of Tally said that it was important to partner to bring about the best experience for the customer so that the industry benefited at large. Madhusudan Ekambaram of KrazyBee agreed, and acknowledged the collaborative efforts of YES BANK calling it ‘the father of APIs in the country’ while speaking of the bank as a pioneer in the space and ‘one of the first banks truly open to listening and partnering with startups in India’. “YES BANK was open to listening to startups and were pioneers with their early steps. And today, through the sandbox initiative, they will be able to empower and engage with the ecosystem at scale,” he added.
Expanding the portal’s functionalities
YES BANK hopes to continue to work with its clients, the startup ecosystem and the developer community to expand portal’s functionalities and the virtual APIs it offers basis feedback.
The sandbox is open to all developers, startups and corporate partners, who are invited to register their interest at www.yesdeveloper.in. Upon registration, once an email verification is completed, they will have access to all APIs in a development sandbox, thereby enabling them to test their ideas in a secure environment. The bank will soon also launch a marketplace of cross-sector solutions with banking API integrations.
To fuel co-development of innovations, the bank will also conduct a series of virtual hackathons and developer jamming sessions on the sandbox platform. Registration opens for the virtual hackathon on November 15, 2019 at www.yesdeveloper.in for an exciting 72 hours of brainstorming and coding.