This Hyderabad startup is helping people take better financial decisions
It is important for people to make informed decisions about their financial investments in order to sustain themselves during any crisis. While it becomes difficult to manage money every day along with work and other personal responsibilities, people generally tend to rely on financial agents to make investment decisions.
Hyderabad-based Finoramic Inc is aimed at enabling people make better financial decisions through its mobile app, Figg. The app analyses the finances and expenses of the users and suggests whether they should make certain investments, buy certain products, and also how will the transaction impact their future plans.
Launched in 2017 by Sachin Gupta, Finoramic initially acted as a B2B player where it worked with other fintech companies. However, the company realised the platform’s capabilities were not used to its best and the adoption was slow. In order to ensure the product reached the end customers properly, the startup pulled out its B2B services and launched its B2C app Figg last year.
Finoramic has raised two rounds of seed funding from angel investors. The startup declined to reveal financial and investor details about the deal.
Speaking with YourStory, Sachin explains that prior to starting up, he worked with tech giants like Rediff and Google. He got the idea to start up when his parents suggested to him to invest in LIC, but it did not add much value for him.
“The eureka moment happened for me when a bank agent sold my 60-year-old mother a ULIP policy, which she didn’t need at that age. This made me think about a product, which can help everyone to make better financial decisions,” says Sachin, who has an MS in machine learning and pattern recognition from IIIT Hyderabad.
“A comprehensive financial product which puts all their finances and expenses at the same place, and even tells them if they can afford a certain product or the impact a financial decision will have on their future goals,” he explains.
He adds that while there are several apps to help users invest in shares or mutual funds, or give information about the market, there are very few players who can help people get a comprehensive financial view and make everyday financial decisions.
Making better financial decisions
Sachin explains that Figg collects financial information about the user by analysing the transaction statements received by the user via SMS or emails. It uses machine learning (ML) algorithms to analyse the data and suggest if the user can make certain investment decisions.
For example, it can help users decide if they should buy an iPhone or an Android. It can also help them understand, for instance, if they buy an iPhone now, it may impact their planned foreign trip.
Speaking about the technology, he says, “We have built our in-house Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)/ ML engine to process financial transactions and statements. Our NLP engine automatically extracts useful financial information from text without explicitly being aware of the source.”
Sachin also explains that Figg is monitored by Google for security and data leak concerns. The app has also undertaken a security review with Bishop Fox, a US-based security firm.
“We follow all best practices - from strong passwords for the system to encryption of the sensitive data. All the data is kept encrypted at rest,” he adds.
Currently, nine people are part of the Finoramic team and are working from Hyderabad and other Indian cities, and Sachin works out of California to establish a global presence.
Business and more
According to the founder, Figg is targeting millennials and Gen Z as they are more digitally equipped and tend to opt for online financial services.
“With the new culture of buy now and pay later, lots of millennials get stuck in this debt problem without understanding the long term repercussions of the same. We want to help them become financially disciplined and save/invest more,” he adds.
The startup is currently working to launch a new feature called “affordability and impact calculator”, which allows users to check if they can, for example, afford an iPhone or if they should consider taking a personal loan for the purchase. This feature will analyse and inform the user how a particular purchase can impact their long and short term goals.
Speaking about the business model, the founder says the app is currently not generating revenue. He explains that once the app gains momentum and records more users, the company will opt for a “freemium model” where users will be charged between Rs 30 to 50 for value-added services.
Figg faces competition from other money management apps such as Mint, Spendee, Expensify, and Pocket Expense, among others. While Sachin agrees that the competing apps are quite similar, he believes there are slight differences as most of the players focus on helping users manage their money better, while Figg can analyse and help users understand the future consequences of making a certain transaction.
“We have 1,000 users already, and in the next six months, our goal is to have 100,000 users. In the long term, we want to become the default financial advisor for anyone seeking financial advice. We would like it to become a friend whom you can ask for any personal finance advice,” Sachin says.
Edited by Megha Reddy