This fintech startup by ex-BankBazaar exec helps borrow money from social circles

Gurugram-based SaveIN is a social finance-based fintech startup that aims to enhance access to affordable and seamless credit.
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After working in the core teams of companies like BankBazaar and fintech lending startup RupeeRedee, Jitin Bhasin realised one thing - there are over 50 scheduled commercial banks, 10K NBFCs, and 200+ fintech lending companies in India, yet 80 percent of people are credit underserved and lend/borrow among their social circles in time of need and as a first line of defence. 

Quoting a 2020 research by CMIE indicates, Jitin says that 70 percent Indian households lend/borrow among their social circles and this business grew by over 100 percent in 2020. 

Feeling the need to organise this unorganised market through digitisation and clear record-keeping, Jitin founded fintech startup SaveIN along with ex-banker Anurag Varma and Gaurav H Luthra, Founder of What’s Up Life.

Founded in late 2020 and early 2021, SaveIN is a consumer focussed, fintech/neo-banking platform that aims to enhance access to affordable and seamless credit for Indians. 

Anurag Varma, Co-founder, SaveIN

What does it do?

“We understand that India continues to be a credit underserved society, particularly for personal loans. Indians primarily borrow through two key channels - institutions like banks, non-banks, fintech companies or from within their social network. We are focussed on disrupting both these channels to provide innovative on-demand credit products and services for our users,” says Jitin. 

The team launched its proprietary ‘Social Finance’ product during the peak of the pandemic in April 2021. The product is aimed at facilitating and digitising informal loan transactions among friends, family, and acquaintance. It is a first-of-its kind offering in the market, says Jitin.  

According to him, some of the challenges the startup faced included overcoming restrictions imposed by Covid, health concerns in the immediate team/families, absence of partners needed to develop the product largely on account of the pandemic, etc. 

Building the team 

"We were determined to work hard and remain focussed on developing the platform and thankfully overcame all adversities to launch as per plan. This, we feel, speaks volumes of the mental strength, focus, commitment, and ambition of the team,” adds Jitin. 

He says it helped to have the core team of the founders and Rahul Gupta, Karan Jain, and Navdeep Soni, who had domain expertise to be a part of the team. 

SaveIN’s corporate office is in Gurugram and the team started active business operations in November 2020. At present, the social finance product is being used by thousands of Indians. SaveIN has also received patent from India Patent Office, Govt. of India, on this unique social finance offering.

“We are now set to supplement our consumer credit portfolio with an innovative loan product in partnership with a financial entity, aimed at providing on-demand credit for a specific vertical, that is acutely credit starved. With this, we expect to add significant value to both existing and new SaveIN users,” says Jitin. 

Gaurav Luthra,Co-founder, SaveIN

How does it work?

SaveIN connects borrowers and lenders in an existing social group (that is, who know each other already), through its mobile app ecosystem on real time basis. A person can download SaveIN, register in under one min, and authenticate any existing bank account to start using SaveIN. One can act as a lender/borrower or both while using platform.  

Borrowers can see loan offers from their friends, family, and acquaintances, including desired interest rate if any (it can be zero to 36 percent per annum), and can send them requests in real time, in a completely paperless manner. 

After receiving such requests, lenders can review the details and approve/reject/ issue counter offers to such requests and transfer the money through UPI-based payment system, in-built in the SaveIN platform. 

The platform keeps all the records, sends timely notifications and reminders to both parties, including appropriate repayments. Upon closing the loan, both parties can rate each other and SaveIN accrues such ratings for future use.

“The process in use is patented by us. We have built the entire stack on Amazon Cloud, using class leading security and performance services,” explains Jitin. 

Market and future 

The team took the first five months to develop its first offering - Social Finance. The product is yet to be monetised. However, the team is looking at as a service play, as well as commission on loan products that they facilitate through banking/non-banking entities. 

In 2020, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued notifications to Non-Banking Finance Corporations (NBFCs) and Banks mandating additional disclosures/compliances, and an advisory to borrowers warning them against fraud platforms.  

The Digital Lenders Association of India (DLAI) has also issued guidelines with a regulatory pipeline on this front as well. 

Some of the other startups in the space include EarlySalary, CASHe, PayMe India, and others. After bootstrapping for the first few months, SaveIN has been backed by institutions and angel investors, both from India and abroad. The undisclosed investors include a fintech focussed advisory company and NBFC, CXOs / angel investors from fintech, banking, NBFC, consulting, blockchain and credit bureau.

“We aim to onboard five lakh customers by the end of our first year of operations and add more on-demand credit facilities on the platform, thereby increasing stickiness and appeal. We aim to establish brand SaveIN as an innovative fintech/neo-banking platform, that addresses credit and savings needs of our users. We also aim to partner with like-minded financial services entities – banks/ NBFCs and investors as we grow,” says Jitin. 

Edited by Megha Reddy

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