[Startup Bharat] How Indore-based fintech FidyPay processed 14X more transactions in 2021, versus 2020

Founded in 2017, FidyPay is a financial-technology startup that aims to help India become cashless by targeting areas that are most resistant to adopting digital payments services.
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At a family event a few years ago, Manan Dixit ran into his decades-old friend, Ariff Manji, and the duo got into a conversation about how they were facing payment delays in their respective businesses.

Hailing from a small town in Madhya Pradesh where cash was king and the digital payment ecosystem was tinged with dubiety, the two entrepreneurs realised that this problem of late payments was endemic to lower-tier cities in India — and the biggest reason behind this was that people didn’t know how to use digital payments because they didn’t trust them at all.

The lack of trust was driven by the belief that since most payment operators were based out of metropolitan cities, they could only serve that population and not cater to their specific needs. Around the time, Manan and Ariff were contemplating ways to solve those issues, demonetisation happened, and the focus on digital payments increased.

Confident that they could help solve the issue since they hailed from smaller towns themselves and understood the needs of the common man, the duo launched Fidypay — a fintech service specifically for rural and semi-rural India.

What’s unique about FidyPay is that it takes into account the fact that not everyone is comfortable using online payments, can afford a smartphone, or even an internet plan. To solve that, the platform aggregates online and offline payments made via multiple channels, and plugs them into an online platform that records all these transactions.

FidyPay’s suite of products and services includes solutions that can enable banking in lower-tier cities and towns, including micro-ATMs; money transfer facilities; payments via links, UPI, QR code, autopay; PoS solutions; and micro-insurance services, among others.

“Our objective when we started FidyPay was to offer a host of smart and technologically-advanced products and services that catered to the common man’s goals and desires, even at micro-levels,” Manan tells YourStory.

The startup’s plug-and-play fintech solution can be used by the smallest of merchants to large enterprises. Its main clients are SMEs and MSMEs, but it does work with local administrations and people in lower-tier cities to educate people about digital payments.

Traction and revenue model

Since its launch in 2017, FidyPay has seen tremendous growth. It currently processes over Rs 100 crore-worth of transactions on its platform every month across products and services. The sectors it touches include retail, gaming, garments, ecommerce, government, and startups.

In 2020, Manan says the startup processed $2.5 million worth of transactions, and that number increased 14X to $35 million as of September 2021. In the last couple of months, FidyPay claims to have seen 10X growth in payments.

By January 2021, it hopes to hit $110 million in transactions processed, nearly 44X that what it was a year ago.

“In the last two to three years, especially since COVID-19, we have seen exponential growth in the online payments space as people have understood the benefits of comfortable, convenient, and hassle-free transactions. Our mission is to complete the last leg of this digital integration, especially in locations that still need the push from players like us,” Manan says.

The startup has more than 10-plus key clients, and offers over 30 financial services on its platform. Its services are deployable everywhere, from retail counters, and on corporate employee resource planning platforms, to government departments and collection centres.

Like most digital payment platforms, FidyPay derives its revenue from transaction charges and licencing fees. Manan says the startup is cash-flow positive after having raised an angel round in December 2020, and a seed round in February 2021, from investors including Ram Pathade, CEO of Mahagram, a rural fintech company in India; and Pratekk Agarwaal, Founder of Trutes Advisors, a boutique business advisory firm.

FidyPay’s competitors include startups such as NayaSeva, BANKIT, Ezeepay, and others serving rural India. It also competes with the likes of Razorpay and Paytm that are increasingly pushing their way into the hinterlands of India where the next billion internet users are expected to come from.

The digital payments space is expected to grow at a CAGR of 27 percent to Rs 7,092 lakh crore by FY 2025, from Rs 2,153 lakh crore transactions in FY 2020, according to a report by the Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (IVCA) and Ernst & Young. Of this, the rural population could capture nearly 63 percent of the total space in India by 2025, a McKinsey report said.

With smartphone penetration increasing rapidly and data plans getting cheaper, it is anticipated that more people in rural and semi-urban India would adopt digital payments, giving startups like FidyPay ample opportunities to grow.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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