ICICI Bank explains why iStartup2.0 is the country’s most comprehensive and transformative startup programme yet
In the first week of September, ICICI Bank announced the launch of iStartup2.0 - a programme for startups and SMBs to take care of their banking as well as beyond banking needs such as regulatory assistance, analytics, staffing, accounting, customer acquisition and digital outreach, among others.
“Our research conversations with startups threw up a couple of key insights. There were four key asks on the banking side. They wanted to bank with a digitally evolved bank which offered simple personal banking solutions for them and their teams, customised salary accounts similar to that being offered to large corporates, and new-age lending solutions,” said Pankaj Gadgil, Head- Self Employed Segment, ICICI Bank, in an exclusive interview with YourStory’s Business Editor Vishal Krishna.
On the non-banking side, apart from raising funds, startups were finding regulatory compliance, account keeping and customer acquisition particularly challenging. “An understanding of these business challenges in their early stages of growth led to the genesis of iStartup2.0. At ICICI Bank, all roads lead to the customer. Hence, when we designed the iStartup2.0 programme, we kept the needs and asks of the startups at the core,” he said.
Watch the interview to know more about the many industry-first features of the iStartup2.0 programme and the benefits it brings for the startups and SMBs.
The iStartup2.0 programme offers customers an eponymous Current Account available in three variants--Platinum, Gold and Silver-- the widest range by any bank for startups. Pankaj explained that in addition, it also offers a range of distinct benefits to the startups and SMBs - right from not having to maintain a minimum balance in the first year of the startup’s operations, to the allocation of a relationship manager - a facility that is usually accorded to businesses that are fairly evolved in their growth journey. He shared, “Given that a fairly large number of Indian startups and SMBs trade in remittances, we have combined the benefits of a domestic and a cross-border account in a single account. The account also provides Exchange Earners' Foreign Currency (EEFC) Account facilities to further their business needs.”
The other key benefits include an automatic bank reconciliation feature via ‘Connected Banking’ with over 40 popular accounting / ERP platforms, business debit card and FD backed business credit cards, preferential pricing on ‘Loan Against Securities’ and ‘Overdraft facility against Fixed Deposit’, Group Health & Personal Accident cover, among others.
According to Pankaj, a key highlight of the programme is the access to the state-of-the-art ‘InstaBIZ’ mobile application. With over 150 services, the app enables businesses to complete almost all their banking transactions digitally. InstaBIZ also offers several industry-first features such as instant payment of GST, easy bulk collection and payments of funds through multiple modes, automatic bank reconciliation and inward/outward remittances, among others.
“The journeys of SMBs and startups fall into five key areas - banking, lending, compliance, networking, and cross-border business. We have tried to understand these journeys and the enablers in the journeys, and integrated them in the InstaBIZ mobile app,” said Pankaj.
In addition, InstaBIZ enables startups and SMBs to grow their business by giving them access to the bank’s large customer base. “It allows startups and SMBs to post offers to the Bank’s entire individual customer base as well as the InstaBIZ customer base. It creates a very big marketplace for emerging startups and businesses.” He added,
Another core benefit of the programme is that iStartup2.0 offers beyond-banking services to address the needs at different stages of growth under the umbrella of ‘Startup Assist’. The services are offered in association with recognised industry partners to help startups across various stages. With ‘Startup Assist’, they get the convenience of single-point access to a host of services.
With its combination of banking and beyond banking services iStartup 2.0 offers a 360-degree holistic proposition for startups and is one of the country’s most comprehensive programmes of its kind.