The week that was: from the rise of fintech in 2020 to the tech advancements in OYO

This week, we bring you stories on how the fintech sector became one of the fastest-growing industries in India, the technology-led transformative change in OYO’s business model, and more.
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This week, we witnessed the story of an engineer, Prashant Borde, whose curiosity over computers led him to start coding while at school. The boy, who chose to learn programming and coding on his own, is now the Co-founder and CTO of Recko —a platform that enables AI-powered reconciliation of digital transactions. He believes technology has the power to connect dots and bring solutions that can sometimes be beyond basic comprehension.

Founders of Recko

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown has had a deep impact on vulnerable sections of society like small business owners and lower-wage employees due to the unavailability of financial credit to tide over the crisis.

For Bengaluru-headquartered fintech startup SmartCoin, which provides micro-loans through its app for sums as low as Rs 1,000, going up to Rs 50,000, its business, too, came to a standstill.

“The COVID-19 lockdown was a litmus test for digital lending, and how we fared in this became an important benchmark,” Rohit Garg, Co-founder and CEO of SmartCoin, tells YourStory.

To overcome this, SmartCoin made its entire digital process of lending to customers highly scalable, created an alternative credit scoring index for its targeted customer base, and automated the entire underwriting process of the loans, thereby bringing down the cost structure.

SmartCoin co-founder & CEO Rohit Garg

Now, moving on to the state of the fintech industry at large.

Last year was good for the fintech industry: online brokerages gained momentum, enabling mom-and-pop investors to buy equities, IPOs, ETFs, mutual funds; UPI payments skyrocketed; more and more people switched to online banking in a bid to socially distance themselves and keep themselves safe, and insurance buys increased.

Key industry players, including Zerodha, Paytm, PhonePe, and Groww, among others, witnessed growth in activity and users as people turned to digital solutions for investing, banking, and contactless payments.

In an interaction with YourStory, Rohit Kapoor, CEO for India and South Asia at OYO Hotels & Homes, spoke about all that transpired in 2020 — how OYO was hospitable to the most uninvited check-in of the year - coronavirus, and how 2021 will be the year of a resurgent OYO.

Rohit Kapoor, CEO for India and South Asia at OYO Hotels & Homes

In India, 87 percent of properties have opted to be on OYO Secure — a prepaid wallet-based system that lets partners deposit money in a secure wallet — while 88 percent recharge the wallet via CO-OYO app, which works like a prepaid SIM card, where the partner loads a certain amount. Rohit also claims that close to 100 percent of new onboarding is on that product — a transformative change in OYO’s business model led by pure tech products.

Singapore-based Intellect, picked by Google as one of the best personal growth apps of 2020, helps you restructure your personal, social, and work-life by tackling the root of your psychology through its scientific process.

Developed by a team of psychologists and behavioural experts, the app offers a new form of psychological training with quick bite-sized sessions to help you work towards who you want to be. The app makers say Intellect will let people embark on an entirely new way to work on their traits, habits, and behaviours.

Edited by Suman Singh

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