[Startup Bharat] Meet Goa-based MinksPay, which powers 10k offline retailers in rural India

Presently serviceable in Goa, Maharastra, Karnataka, and Bihar, fintech startup MinksPay is targeting 15 states and Rs 6 crore revenue by FY 2021-22.
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Cousin brothers Sanket and Sanmati Shendure of Goa come from a family of FMCG distribution business of more than three decades.

“Having closely worked with small-scale retailers in Goa, we realised there was a clear need of an improvement in their monthly income,” Sanket tells YourStory

The duo decided to use technology to enable local retailers to use digital and banking solutions. In July 2017, they founded MinksPay aimed at empowering offline retailers in the semi-urban and rural parts of India to earn more.  

Headquartered in Goa, the fintech services startup has an office in Bengaluru as well. While the founders invested Rs 50 lakh initially from their personal savings, the startup raised $150,000 from Mumbai Angels Network in September 2019. Former Chief Business Officer- Lending of BharatPe Pratekk Agarwal, and entrepreneur and Global Tech Executive Ravi Linganuri are advisors and investors in the startup. 

So far, MinksPay has been named as the most promising startup by the IT Ministry of Goa, and was selected in the top three startups in Goa by Microsoft’s Highway to 100 Unicorns Programme. It was also selected by IIM Bengaluru to be a part of its Fintech Startup Incubation Programme.

MinksPay is also one of the fintech startups from the second edition of Basecamp in collaboration with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) that participated in JioGenNext Demo Day, 2019.

Illustration courtesy: YS Design

Eureka moment 

Sanket, 25, says that two major reasons made it difficult for offline retailers to generate enough income. First, stagnant demand, and second, the lack of working capital. While the domain knowledge of the distribution business existed, the expertise in building a tech product and deploying in the offline market was lacking.

In 2017, he was selected amongst top 30 founders by incubator SV.CO and was hosted by Facebook, he got an opportunity to travel to the heart of Silicon Valley. Sanket was selected for building a prototype of an AI/ML chatbot to automate customer support queries.

“I gained more confidence with the mentoring and exposure to building tech products. After coming back, the path forward was clear,” he says.

When he returned, along with his brother Sanmati (37), Sanket started working on building a product to help retailers earn more by selling additional services to their customers. 

Thus, the same year, in November, the flagship product MinksPay SmartIncome was launched. “The launch aligned with the smartphone and internet boom in India, which made it easier for our retailers to use products consistently and earn additional income,” Sanket explains. 

MinksPay now has a team of 28 employees spread across Goa and Bengaluru

Sanket and Sanmati Shendure, Founders of MinksPay

Product offerings 

MinksPay offers two product verticals. First, MinksPay SmartIncome, which is a mobile application for offline retailers to sell banking and financial services to their walk-in customers.

“This allows offline retailers to earn up to 50 percent additional income each month,” says Sanket. 

The services offered include Domestic Money Transfer, Aadhaar-enabled Payment System, Micro-ATM, Prepaid Recharges, bill payments (mobile postpaid, electricity, etc), and Insurance. 

MinksPay builds its network of services over the existing distribution network of a retailer’s existing business. Sanket explains, for an FMCG retailer, it first on-boards the FMCG distributor in the area and then extends its services to the retailers through the distributor. 

“The distributor acts as a channel partner or an anchor in the process where they also earn a part of the commission on the transactions processed by their retailers. This helps us build a trusted network of services for our retailers and significantly improves the acceptability and stickiness of our product,” he adds.  

Second, MinksPay offers a SmartCredit — the MinksPay SmartCredit — which is also a mobile application for offline retailers to get easy and instant access to a digital credit line against their distributor invoices.

This credit is powered by MinksPay’s alternative credit rating model and financed by partner NBFCs. It allows offline small-scale retailers with a pre-approved digital credit limit to be used against their distributor invoices. 

Team at MinksPay

Commission based revenue model 

MinksPay targets small-scale offline retailers in the Tier-II and III cities of India. The startup acquired its first 20 retailers in Goa through personal contacts. Presently, it offers services to more than 10,000 retailers. 

The fintech services startup charges a one-time payment of Rs 5,500 for the POS hardware for micro-ATM. 

“All the other services are free and we earn a percentage commission on every transaction processed by the retailers,” Sanket says. A part of the commission earned is then shared with the distributors and retailers. 

MinksPay SmartCredit doesn’t charge retailers for the services. “We generate revenue by earning a percentage of interest earned by the NBFC on the total amount lent in a month,” he explains. 

The startup has increased its gross transaction volume from 10 lakh in FY 2017-18 to 60 lakh in FY 2019-20. It claims its gross transaction value has increased from Rs 22 crore in FY 2017-18 to Rs 210 crore in FY 2019-20. 

“We have achieved 3x growth in monthly revenue in FY 2019-20. The current monthly revenue is 3.5x of March 2019,” Sanket says. 

MinksPay’s current monthly revenue is Rs 6 lakh, and it is targeting annual revenue of Rs 1.1 crore by FY 2020-21, and Rs 6 crore by FY 2021-22. The startup is projected to breakeven in December 2021. 

At present, it operates in four states — Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Bihar. The startup plans to expand its network to eight states over the next six months, and 15 states by the end of FY 2021-22.

Market overview  

According to Statista, the fintech sector’s largest segment is predicted to be digital payments, with a total transaction value of $74,036 million in 2020.

In terms of MinksPay SmartIncome, the startup competes with the likes of Paynearby and RapiPay. For its SmartCredit product, the startup claims to not have any competition.

Going forward, the founders plan to build a marketplace for digital banking solutions for offline retailers, building a retailer-centric all-inclusive ecosystem of services for offline retailers in India.

The financial services startup also plans to expand its size to 100 employees by the end of this financial year. 

“We are currently looking to raise $1 million to scale MinksPay SmartCredit. We will be opening Series A for $10 million in the next 18 months,” Sanket says. 
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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