This startup has made salary advances easy - benefitting both employees and employers
COVID-19 has left the personal finances of millions of people and the economy of many nations reeling. There have been unprecedented job cuts, which has led to an all-pervasive fear of unemployment. At such a time, should an employee face a financial challenge in the middle of the month, what options do they have? Enter Valyu.ai, an accrued advance salary solution that helps employees avail salaries equivalent to the amount of days that they have worked in a particular month.
uses a technology-led platform to provide paperless, instantly approved, same day disbursal of advanced salaries.
Gurugram-based Valyu.ai was started by Rashoo Kame and Gaurav Kumar this year in July, and has already onboarded one million employees across India. They expect to disburse salary amount worth Rs 500 crore in FY21. The co-founders of Valyu.ai believe that the offering helps people to handle financial crises and companies to drive loyalty, incremental productivity, and improved employee retention. “Employers also get to differentiate themselves from the competition by offering our service along with other perks,” Rashoo says.
Misfortune turned eureka moment
Rashoo, who was working on independent projects for the last two years, always wanted to turn to entrepreneurship but no particular idea really stood out. Then one day, when one of her friends lost his job due to pandemic-led layoffs, his wife was thrust with double the expenses. When the friend reached out to others for financial help, nobody could chip in due to tough times all around.
With no other option at hand, his wife approached her employer for a salary advance, but given the economic climate, they too turned her down. The financial burdens suffered by her friends led Rashoo to think of solutions and that’s when the idea for Valyu struck her.
Rashoo called her batchmate and former colleague, Gaurav, to see if he would like to work on the idea, and the response was an immediate yes. As they both came from management and finance backgrounds, they decided to first run a survey on the matter - the results were startling.
“We actually found that close to 50 percent of women, and more than 50 percent of men who we sampled constantly ran out of their salary amount midway through the month,” Rashoo says. And the situation has been worsening each month during the pandemic.
The product and business model
Valyu is a B2B company which ties up with an enterprise and provides its employees with an interface to ask for their salaries in advance. The whole process is completed in minutes and no paperwork or credit history is required. This is where Valyu’s business model lies too.
Rashoo explains that Valyu.ai is different from loans or credits, and as a product, customers do not have to worry about conditions like poor credit history or CIBIL score or even repayment of with huge interest rates.
Valyu partners with NBFCs to help companies disburse salaries in advance to the employees, and they, in turn, get a service or transaction fee.
“Employees are allowed to withdraw a large percentage of their unpaid but accrued earnings straight into their salary account whenever they need it, and these advances are given to the employees within minutes sans any cumbersome paperwork, CIBIL score check or financial background check. At the end of the month, the corporates pay the settlement (this is a disbursed amount with extra charges) amount to Valyu.ai and employees get their balance salaries,” explains Rashoo.
About the competition, she says that Valyu.ai is the only player in this space and hence it is positive of scaling up going ahead.
In the last five months, the company has expanded the team to 15 people and have bagged a few small and big clients. One of its biggest clients is PeopleStrong, which works with close to one million Indian employees across 1500 enterprises.
“We currently service 10 lakh employees nationally and intend to take this to about 25 lakh employees in the next quarter or two. Our business objective for the next five years is that we would like to disburse INR 2,500 crore,” Rashoo says.
The venture has received seed funding of undisclosed amounts from multiple Family offices. It is now in the process of seeking more funding and in conversation with multiple entities to further strengthen the platform’s technology and process.
“Honestly, at this immediate point in time, our focus is on alleviating the financial worries of as many Indians as possible,” Rashoo says.