These former Amazon and Great Learning execs are leveraging WhatsApp to make billing simpler for SMEs
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit India, most SMEs and MSMEs understood the need and importance of digitisation.
It was during that time that Aditya and Sri Teja, serial entrepreneurs and friends for over seven years, realised the problem was significantly larger as approximately 75 million SMEs in India rely on manual processes to track sales, purchases, and payments.
“This is a highly inaccurate and inefficient process. Additionally, business owners in India need to file monthly tax returns. Currently, they manually consolidate all their sales for the month on a spreadsheet and send it to their accountant for filing,” Sri Teja says.
This led the duo to start, a simple billing and payments app for small businesses in India in 2021. With Swipe, it takes less than 10 seconds to send sales reports to the accountant.
“We discovered this problem after we found it hard to create invoices and track payments from customers at our last startup. SMEs now, more than ever, want digitisation and online presence for their business and we’re empowering them with technology,” Sri Teja says.
The Swipe Sales Dashboard
Aditya has done his master’s degree from University of Washington and worked withbefore he decided to come back to India to start up. Sri Teja completed his master’s from IIIT Hyderabad and worked at Great Learning, one of the early members of their Data Science team.
The duo decided to come together to solve a problem point that they noticed during the pandemic.
Sri Teja says SMEs contribute around 40 percent of India’s GDP, but most of them still rely on manual processes and legacy desktop applications for billing and payments, which do not add any value to their business.
“We are not just building an application to improve their books; we are here to improve their business. Have you received any review requests or offers from small business owners after the purchase as we get from Amazon or Swiggy? No, because most of them don’t know how to do it. But all business owners would love to do it and maintain relations with their customers,” Aditya says.
Swipe makes it easy for local businesses to invoice their customers over WhatsApp. The startup lets businesses send a WhatsApp message with a link that allows their customers to pay instantly with a variety of payment methods.
“Today, more than 10,000 businesses come to Swipe to record their daily transactions, and we're growing 100 percent month on month. We launched in February this year and are now recording over $4 million in monthly transactions. Recently, we launched our free mobile app on Google Play Store,” Sri Teja says.
Swipe today is a five-member team and is actively hiring across functions. The startup has raised $125,000 from Y-Combinator 2021 batch.
Competition and the future
A study by Google-KPMG showed that digitally empowered SMEs have about twice the revenue growth projections as compared to offline SMEs. As of now, the segment has several startups, including, , , and others.
Swipe follows a Freemium model, where “we have subscription plans starting from as low as Rs 999 per year”.
The founders’ intention is to keep the app simple and available for all kinds of businesses.
“We want to have everything SMEs need to win. It is expected that there will be 105 million-plus SMEs in India by 2024. We imagine Swipe to be a simple end-to-end software stack that every small business needs to grow,” Sri Teja says.