How fintech startup OkCredit is helping small businesses to maintain their credit transactions
Often, large businesses deploy expensive software to manage their accounts. But, small shop owners did not have any such tools available to record, track, and close the credit transactions of all regular customers. The manual process of record keeping in a register notebook is both painstaking and has a high margin of error. Harsh Pokharna, Gaurav Kumar, and Aditya Prasad – the three co-founders at OkCredit.– understood this through their own experience with a neighbourhood grocery store. This led them to launch
Necessity is the mother of invention and technology is the saviour for billions of lives- that summed up the founding thought for Bengaluru-based OkCredit, a digital ledger app that is helping millions of small business owners across India manage their credit and receivables.
How it works
Launched in 2017, the digital bookkeeping app banks on the power of the internet and technology to bring micro-businesses online. Every time a credit purchase is made, the merchant drops in a text out to his or her frequent customer via the OkCredit app. The app also enables the end customer to view his/ her outstanding balance with that particular merchant via a web page link that provides a monthly breakdown of credit purchases. This helps to improve the transparency in business transactions by facilitating a higher degree of trust among the participating individuals.
Helming the affairs as CEO at OkCredit, Harsh explains the app to be “an aid for the small businessmen in keeping a track of their credit transactions, both payables, and receivables.”
“The biggest challenge for the adoption of digital tools including ours is trust and inertia,” says Harsh. Since time immemorial, merchants have been using the traditional registers and wouldn’t depend on software when dealing with finances. “By demonstrating the efficiency and convenience of our app, we have been able to attract a large number of merchants on our platform,” he adds. Besides, making the merchants tech-savvy was an uphill task, as they thought the app would wither away and vanish the next day as soon as they switched off their phones. The initial users of the app were skeptical at first. So, they would use the app and maintain their records on paper to tally that the app is working right. However, with time and through referrals, they carried the trust forward, and gradually these roadblocks were crossed.
Precisely, credit transactions occurring between small merchants and customers are usually stronger in Tier II and III towns as the customer-merchant relationships are strongest in small towns. However, the majority of these transactions are still done in cash. As the suppliers to small retailers generally deal in cash, the merchant loses interest in making bulk purchases of stock using digital means. Overcoming this pattern is a major challenge in the adoption of digital solutions by merchants.
But what makes OkCredit unique? Harsh says, “Ease of use, along with smooth performance even in the remotest of areas with a flaky internet connection, and seamless service through the Voice assistants make it a must-have app for its users.”
Creating a brand value
OkCredit was launched as an online venture since its inception to get away with the purchases recorded on loose scraps of paper and settle it digitally. The .in as their domain extension “signified our location well and put our site on the map for us.” Adding to it is also the thought of selecting a domain name that is short, easy to remember, and well descriptive about business.
Today, every customer is constantly searching for the best options, and compared to the social media/e-commerce platforms, a properly-built website enables them to find the company and learn more about what it offers at any time and from anywhere.
If a business needs to focus on India, using the .in domain extension would serve best. “At a time when the distinction between foreign-made and India-made apps have virtually blurred, the .in extension has helped us build our ‘made-in-India’ image”, says Harsh.
The National Internet Exchange for India (NIXI) is helping many businesses across the country to get a .in or .Bharat domain. Enterprises irrespective of their scale and size can avail a .in domain with the help of NIXI. It is affordable and can be availed in more than 22 languages for businesses coming from all regions of the country.
Growth and revenue
Harsh feels that the major pillar of their growth has been in forming an app that shifts the focus from a sales-led model to a product-led model, reaching out to the smallest of businesses across the country.
As the app is digitally distributed and grows by itself, it also helped in lessening the acquisition cost. Currently, the app records almost 40 million registrations, and has witnessed significant traction leading to 5.5 million daily active users even at a pre-revenue stage.
Carving the future roadmap, Harsh adds that the idea is to create software, get them on technology, create a digital footprint for the MSMEs, and enable new services for their aid.
Even after e-commerce escalated its growth, Harsh regards that MSMEs would be still considered as the backbone of the Indian economy in the days to come. Besides, technological innovation adding to the growth of these MSMEs would help to pave the path to success. “Being a partner and enabling the MSMEs in their growth process is the biggest opportunity for us right now. There are already 60-70 million MSMEs which are expected to grow around 100 million and more. Acting as a technology partner in compounding their growth feels great,” conjectures Harsh.
The ‘Shaping India Inc's Online Growth’ series chronicles the journeys of startups and SMEs in India and how creating an online presence on the .in or .Bharat domain powered their success stories.