How 2x growth in financial platform Junio’s user base helped it reimagine its app
“The more things change, the more they remain the same.”
For children-focused fintech firm, nothing is more prophetic as the startup has recorded significant growth in the last nine months since its official launch.
Junio, fundamentally, aims to change the relationship Indian kids have with money, which is currently quite amorphous, to say the least. In typical households, money is a gift, a once-in-a-while shopping trip to buy something special, something you get for merely being a kid, and, sometimes, the only upside to visiting that annoying relative.
That’s changing now because the way we inherently spend money has changed. The wave of digitisation amid the pandemic has nudged many, including children, to shop online. In fact, by virtue of being more digital-native than their parents, children today are the ones helping their parents navigate online shopping.
However, what ends up happening in that equation, more often than not, is that parents give their children an all-access pass to their bank accounts and OTPs — which isn’t the best practice when it comes to forming a relationship with money or striking a balance between saving money and expending it.
To help parents better teach their kids about money, ex-Paytm executives Shankar Nath and Ankit Gera founded Junio, a children-focused financial platform.
The startup essentially digitises pocket money. Parents can use the Junio app to digitally transfer money to their kids, and the children, in turn, can use the app to carry out online transactions. It also offers a debit or prepaid card linked to the children’s bank account that they can use to make payments offline, as well as online.
By giving children the power to spend and track their money, Junio hopes to instil a more responsible financial behaviour, as well as understand the world of personal finance, the startup says.
And the startup is showing results pitching their offering to parents.
Since its inception in 2020, Junio has added 500,000 children and parents to its platform — a number that is doubling month on month on average, with 125,000 members added each month.
To date, the startup has issued three lakh virtual cards, one lakh physical cards, enabled 250,000 transactions per month, and facilitated Rs 7 crore in monthly spends through its cards — marking an impressive growth for a company that has been in the space for less than a year.
Surprisingly for the founders, the biggest driving force behind the traction has been children — a revelation for the startup as it had expected parents to take the lead.
When Junio started testing out its thesis, its initial research indicated that parents would sign up on the platform on behalf of their children. However, just a few months into its launch, Shankar says he realised it was actually children who were downloading the app on their own and initiating the sign-up process.
Even when the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was unfolding across the country, the platform noticed that more often, it was children who pinged the platform for grocery and food spends on behalf of their parents.
“We immediately course-corrected to include a flow where children, after signing up on Junio, could invite their parents to be on the platform,” the founder tells YourStory.
End-to-end early financial product
Ankit says Junio’s product roadmap primarily revolves around the habit of saving money. Every feature – from parents transferring money to their children’s wallets to linking cards to the wallet – aims to teach minors the importance and value of saving money.
Junio’s features, such as creating savings goals for aspirational spends and getting rewarded for those savings, teach children the importance of not only saving money but also the power of compounding.
Ankit says Junio also wants to introduce recurring deposits to further cement the lesson of incremental savings and monetary returns among children, as well as a small credit card to introduce kids to the concept of credit, interest rates, and repaying debt on time.
The startup, like its competitor, will also introduce curated products targeted at kids, such as edtech platform subscriptions.
Junio has raised around $2 million in funding so far, and says it is about to close its next round soon. Its investors include Yashish Dahiya, Venture Catalyst, family offices led by the Rajiv Dadlani Group, Kunal Shah, and Ashneer Grover, among others.
In the kids-focused financial services space, Junio competes with the likes of FamPay and. The vertical has pulled in substantial VC money in the past from marquee investors and it is widely believed that this space is poised to see strong growth, especially as the under-18s growing up today are digital natives.
For startups like Junio, the only way it sees is up.