Open’s rap song Kya Seekha goes viral, salutes resilience of SMEs and lessons learnt in the pandemic

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As we look back on 2020, we will mostly remember it as the year that brought the world to a halt and changed life as we knew it forever.

Beyond the grim statistics of lives and livelihoods lost, there is no doubt that this was also the year that taught us a whole lot of lessons. From learning new ways to work, study, shop and collaborate, to re-examining what is truly important and changing our priorities accordingly, everyone has some important takeaway from 2020. For small businesses especially, the year was one fraught with challenges as many were forced to shut shop overnight.

As these small businesses across India struggled to stay afloat, they had to work doubly hard. In some cases, they had to pivot and change their business models almost overnight. They had to find new and innovative ways to cater to their customers while ensuring their safety and also that of their employees.

Recognising the remarkable resilience of such businesses, Open Financial Technologies, Asia’s first neo-banking platform for small businesses, recently released a Hindi rap song as a year-end tribute to their tenacity and their spirit of survival and reinvention.

Titled ‘Kya Seekha’, the just under 2-minute track has been produced and directed by Open Studio, the in-house marketing wing of Open. "Open is built to make life easier for small businesses by reducing the time they spend on tracking and reconciling payments. We acknowledge that businesses have struggled all through, and more so during Covid-19 times. While the pandemic has hit most small businesses, it also motivated many of them to be resilient. The #KyaSeekha rap is a tribute to the SMEs for their resilience, adaptability and their never-say-never attitude,” says Mabel Chacko, Co-founder and COO, Open Financial Technologies.

Within just an hour after being launched on December 22, the #KyaSeekha video reached over 3.8 million people across Twitter, Instagram ,YouTube, and was trending in the top 5 across India on Twitter. In just a week, it has notched up 300,000 views and has a reach of 10,000,000 across all social media platforms.

Apart from the catchy beat, another reason for the popularity of this short video is that people can relate to the lyrics, which talk about experiences that everyone, entrepreneur or not, had to go through for the major part of this year. This shared experience has found resonance with people across all walks of life.

The song captures the key trends synonymous with 2020, including Vocal for Local, Aatmanirbhar Bharat and digital payments, and showcases how small businesses across the length and breadth of the country rallied around these themes, unlearning their old ways and reinventing new ways to survive and be successful. The song exhorts the importance of supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as the economy limps back to normal.

On a day-to-day basis, SMEs face a number of difficulties in tracking and forecasting cash-flows, effectively managing account receivables and payables. They need to deal with multiple interfaces for various functions such as accounting, payment gateways and payroll. While there aren’t too many online tools that can help them plan their day-to-day activities more efficiently, Open’s services are pre-integrated with payment gateway, current account, automated accounting, and APIs that can help integrate banking into business workflows. Using the neo-banking platform Open, SME business owners are able to save at least two to four hours in a day since they do not need to track payments using UTR numbers.

“Due to the pandemic, we saw a new persona of businesses who are managing their business online. This includes freelancers, home entrepreneurs, private tutors and many more. Open has continued to grow even in the middle of a pandemic. We now power business banking and payments for over 700,000 small businesses and process over $15 billion in annualised transactions. We onboard over 50,000+ businesses on the platform every month. This used to be 35,000 to 40,000 businesses before lockdown. Overall, we’ve seen good growth in the past few months,” says Mabel.

With plans to onboard 2 million SMEs by 2021, the neo-banking platform wants to continue to empower small business owners with more innovative solutions. They recently launched the Founder One Card, and in just two months, over 30,000 cards have already been issued. Their future plans include entering the US and APAC market, and also focusing more on products like lending and expense management.


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