This Google Launchpad-incubated startup provides loans at zero-cost EMI to help parents pay school fees
Educational institutions constantly work on improving the quality of education they deliver. This involves infrastructure expansion, introduction of digital and innovative teaching methods, partnerships, and hiring expert faculties. However, with quality comes a greater price point, thus limiting access to quality education to children only from higher income families. This also leaves behind bright students at the bottom of the pyramid.
The real impact of education can only be possible when it reaches the masses. This is where Financepeer comes in. Founded by Rohit Gajbhiye, Naveesh Reddy, DebiPrasad Baral, and Sunit Gajbhiye in 2017, the Mumbai-based startup provides zero-cost EMI-based school fee financing options to parents.
The Google Launchpad-incubated startup so far claims to have impacted nine lakh children across 2,000 schools, in 50 plus Indian cities. The startup also received angel funding of Rs 5 crore in September 2019.
Team of experts
Financepeer says it is constantly taking steps towards removing economic disparity in the field of education.
Co-founder and CEO Rohit is an alumnus of IIT Bombay and Stanford Ignite. He has previously worked with DBS Bank, Singapore, and has experience in credit risk, commercial banking, liquidity risk and management. Rohit is a member of UNGSII, World Economic Forum, and was featured in Forbes 30 under 30 Asia list.
His brother, Sunit, is an IIM Indore graduate, and has previously worked with Samsung Electronics for its flagship smartphones. He is the Chief Business Officer at Financepeer.
COO Naveesh is also an alumnus of IIT Bombay. He was a Data Scientist in Cognizant. He has previously worked in Japan, creating models on fraud detection, cross-sell, up-sell, attrition prediction and sentiment analysis.
DebiPrasad is the CTO at Financepeer. He is an alumnus of BIT, IIM Ahmedabad, and Stanford Ignite. His expertise lies in enterprise architecture, IT strategy, virtualisation, and Cloud strategies, CRM and sales platforms, and mobile. He has previously worked across domains in Salesforce and Microsoft.
Currently the startup has a team of 100 employees across its offices in Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, and Dehradun.
Before launching the services, the core team at Financepeer had conducted a survey to understand the pain-points of parents who were unable to pay the entire school fee, upfront. The survey revealed, “Most parents wanted to have EMI options for school fees, and the other curricular activities,” Rohit tells YourStory.
For parents who were not able to afford the school fees at one go, paying on a monthly-basis made sense. This gave birth to the idea of EMI services for school fees.
How does it work?
Financepeer partners with schools, and in turn provides services to the parents of children associated with the partner schools. It provides zero-cost, zero-interest monthly instalments to parents to pay the school fees.
The startup pays the school fees on behalf of the parents, so that the school does not face any problems when it comes to operations (this works as a loan for the school, thus schools have to pay an interest on this).
Parents can then pay the school fees to Financepeer at no-cost over nine to 12 instalments. While Financepeer removes the burden of the parent to pay the school fees upfront, it ensures the school does not have shortage of capital for its operations.
“At the same time, we pay the entire fee to the school on behalf of the parents, on day one,” Rohit says.
“There is no processing fees or hidden charges,” Rohit clarifies. The school bears the interest, allowing parents to avail the benefits. The partner schools or educational institutions need not pay any security deposit to Financepeer, and the schools are paid 100 percent fee at the beginning of the year.
Besides this, the platform provides services such as insurance coverage for student’s education, and loan disbursal for admission and travel fees.
Suresh Reddy, Founder, Candor International School, Bengaluru, says, “Financepeer has been doing a remarkable job in the field of education, and we are excited to partner with it to introduce a flexible mode of fee payment for the parents. This will benefit those looking for alternative fee arrangements and additional benefits when enrolling their children in our school.”
Financepeer’s first school partner was Mussorie International School in Dehradun. Other institutions availing its services are Pearl Academy, Kasiga School in Dehradun, Fortune High School, NSHM Knowledge Academy, Delhi Public School of Panvel, INIFD, and Doon International School, among others.
Some of the startup’s financial partners include, DBS, Bank of Baroda, The Investment Trust of India, CITI Bank, and SBM Bank, among others.
Market overview and way ahead
According to a report by IBEF, India has more than 1.5 million schools with over 260 million students. This provides a huge market for startups like Financepeer to grow, and thrive. The company competes with the likes of Avanse Financial Services, Neev Finance, and Payed.
The startup faced challenges during the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic. During these unprecedented times, Financepeer has been providing fee collection relief to schools and institutions by paying the entire year’s fee upfront and providing parents with 12 to 36 EMIs for repayment.
“We are also providing COVID-19 medical assistance that covers all the medical expenses for the students,” Rohit says.
The startup has also helped more than 5,000 families of daily wage workers through its relief fund project, SAATH. “To support this initiative, our employees donated a part of their salaries to help our society in the hour of need,” Rohit adds.
Currently available across 50 plus cities, Financepeer is planning to expand its reach by next financial year, to more cities in India, making quality education accessible to the mass. “We are also looking forward to raise Series A funding round in 2021,” Rohit adds.
Edited by Megha Reddy