Fintech month kickstarts on an inspiring note

The NITI Aayog Fintech month commenced on February 7, 2022, and the week witnessed some thought provoking keynotes, in-depth fireside chats, and panel discussions.
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Commencing on 7th February 2022, the Fintech Open month is a first-of-its-kind initiative bringing together regulators, Fintech professionals and enthusiasts, industry leaders, the start-up community, and developers on a common platform to collaborate, exchange ideas, and innovate. Creating an immersive learning experience, the FinTech month with the overarching theme ‘OPEN’ aims to achieve three key objectives -

(1) Encourage an OPEN ecosystem across the FinTech industry;

(2) Foster co-innovation and growth;

(3) Ensure financial inclusion and leverage new models like Account Aggregator to unleash the next wave of fintech innovation.

Week One of the Fintech month included in-depth conversations, deep dives, and panel discussions highlighting innovation, opinions, and diverse perspectives from industry leaders.

Missed these discussions? Here are the highlights:

Day 1 - February 7, 2022:

Virtual Inauguration by Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and special address by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Dr. Rajiv Kumar:

Inaugural address by Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw, Honourable Minister for Electronics & Information Technology, Railways & Communications, highlighted the importance of the FinTech industry and the pivotal role of an OPEN ecosystem for creating useful solutions for society.

“Under the leadership of our Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi we believe in creating OPEN platforms such as COWIN, UPI, and others being developed for healthcare, logistics and other categories.

An OPEN platform is created using public investment wherein numerous private entrepreneurs, start-ups and developers can join to create new solutions for the people.”

FinTech Facts shared during the keynote address by Union Minister Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw:

  1. Today, 270 banks are connected with UPI and many entrepreneurs and start-ups have provided solutions that have helped increase the country’s FinTech adoption rate
  2. India has the highest FinTech adoption rate globally of 87%
  3. Much of this adoption comes from Tier 2 & 3 cities
  4. About 2100+ start-ups are contributing to FinTech
  5. Indian FinTechs are expected to reach a valuation of above US$150 billion in the next two to three years
  6. Eight unicorns already in the FinTech space

NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar:

“India is witnessing increasing digitization with people getting greater and easier access to financial services. This has led to a shift in consumers’ financial behaviour—from cash to e-wallets and UPI. The expansion of digital payments is an important pivot for creating a more equitable, prosperous, and financially inclusive India.

The rise of fintech has accelerated financial inclusion. I am excited to see the countless possibilities that will be presented by the bright minds of our country over the next few weeks.”

View the inaugural address here:

Day 2 – February 8, 2022:

Fireside chat with Kunal Shah, Founder, CRED and Sameer Nigam, CEO & Founder, PhonePe

Talking about the fintech industry in today’s digitised world, Sameer Nigam, CEO and Founder, PhonePe, and Kunal Shah, Founder, CRED shared their insights on digital payments, how companies have started taking the tech route, and how COVID has altered the way people look at payments and services.

Kunal Shah, Founder, CRED

“The rate at which evolution of technology is happening, we are more likely to witness a revolutionary adaptation to all things digital sooner rather than later. Products designed to cater to every cohort, to solve unique pain points will be the talk of the town in the coming years.”

Sameer Nigam, CEO & Co-Founder, PhonePe:

“The FinTech space has witnessed a massive growth in the last couple of years. With UPI slowly becoming the bread & butter of every Indian household, the ecosystem looks quite vibrant! Amidst this, startups should focus on building solution-oriented companies.

There is an unprecedented opportunity for young entrepreneurs to cater to the needs of a billion people. They just have to go out there and grab that opportunity!”

Key takeaways for start-ups from the session:

  • Build a company that is solution-oriented. If one is solving problems at scale, financial support typically follows suit.
  • There is a lot of capital in the market, entrepreneurs must go out there and capitalize on the opportunities that exist and build the right products.
  • There is an unprecedented opportunity for young entrepreneurs to cater to the needs of a billion people.

Watch the session here:

Day 3 - February 9, 2022:

Panel Discussion - Budget Reaction and implications for Fintechs

The Union Budget 2022-23, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, pillared itself on technology, the start-up ecosystem, and integrating the concept of digitization into every space from developing modern solutions to solving agricultural problems, modernisation of the defense sector to recognising the AVGC (Animation, visual effects, gaming, and comic) sector by setting up a task force to analyse its full potential.

Moderated by Chandra Srikanth (Editor, Technology, Start-ups, and New Economy at MoneyControl), Fintech month hosted a panel discussion on budget implications for the Fintech industry with distinguished guests - Nithin Kamath (CEO, Zerodha), Vivek Belgavi (Partner & FinTech Leader, PWC) and Harshil Mathur (Co-Founder & CEO, Razorpay), who deliberated on the budget highlights, announcements that excited them the most and their views on a brand-new tech-oriented India.

Nithin Kamath, Co-Founder & CEO, Zerodha

“Government recognition of cryptocurrency has come as a pleasant surprise in this year’s Budget. Platforms enabling start-up investing and such are going to get a lot more traction this year.”

Harshil Mathur, Co-Founder & CEO, Razorpay

“Embedded finance is likely to scale this year. Every company can scale their API in today’s date and expand their ecosystems to solve a variety of problems!”

Vivek Belgavi, Partner & FinTech Leader, PWC

“India is a fairly underutilized market. Therefore, with leaps in both technology & innovation, establishment of Neo banks, it’s time India spread its wings to the global market, and that is one development I am looking forward to this year.”

Watch the session here:

Day 4 – February 12, 2022:

Fireside chat: Interaction between Mr. Amitabh Kant (CEO Niti Aayog) and Mr. Nandan Nilekani (Co-Founder and Chairman of Infosys, Founding Chairman of UIDAI & Chairman of EkStep).

What began with Aadhaar, and UPI is now a financial revolution in India. As we stand on the brink of a big change, Nandan Nilekani (Co-Founder & Chairman of Infosys & the force behind Aadhaar) in a chat with Amitabh Kant (CEO, Niti Aayog) shared insights on enabling the next wave of financial inclusion, Account Aggregator Network and shared some success stories on the AA platform. Additionally, he also touched upon digital banking, CBDC, India’s stand in the global fintech ecosystem.

While sharing some invaluable suggestions for future entrepreneurs and other FinTech stakeholders, Nandan Nilekani also shared his perspective on the inclusion of women entrepreneurs:

“We have created an onboarding ramp for women entrepreneurs. The tools of the game are in place - one can start a company online, pay taxes online and run a business smoothly. What women entrepreneurs need at this hour is the creation of wealth networks and groups of investors who want to support their business.

It is important to open up the capital to women and match young women entrepreneurs with potential pools of wealth.”

Watch the session here:

Day 5 – February 14, 2022:

Panel Discussion: Democratising Financial Services for a Billion Indians using Technology

Panelists: Moderated by Rahul Chari (CTO, PhonePe), the panelists include Dr. Pramod Varma (CTO, EkStep) and Dilip Asbe (MD & CEO, NPCI) 

The session covered a wide range of topics such as the digital economy architecture, digital public goods infrastructure, the cruciality of an empowered ecosystem, and the continued need for a simplistic approach to bring Billion Indians into the fold of the digital financial services ecosystem.  

Dilip Asbe (MD & CEO NPCI)

“We are sitting on a tipping point. Whether it’s technology, coverage, or use cases, there is an opportunity for India to lead the world and I think we will.”

Dr. Pramod Varma (CTO, EkStep Foundation)

“User empowerment will need to be driven through interoperability and necessary diversity & inclusion as no single app can solve a Billion population’s problems.”

Rahul Chari (Co-Founder and CTO, PhonePe):

“Expanding the digital payments ecosystem itself presents so many opportunities – from education, awareness to detection of fraud and many more. Moving 700 million people to the digital payment ecosystem is a herculean task and there is a lot of scope for phenomenal growth.”

Watch the session here

Forthcoming sessions

While week One witnessed some exciting discourse on the Fintech industry, as we step into week two of the Fintech Open month, get ready for a series of panel discussions with industry stalwarts sharing thought-provoking perspectives and the launch of India’s biggest fintech hackathon.

Here’s a sneak peek of the upcoming events:

  • February 16, 2022 – Panel discussion on Open Investments

Panelists: Moderated by Nithin Kamath (CEO, Zerodha), the panelists include Vijay Chandhok (ICICI Securities), Lalit Keshre (Groww) and Kavitha Subramaniam (C-Founder, Upstox

Details on the session: The session will cover the investment landscape in India and how it is rapidly changing. It will discuss how FinTechs are innovating and building user-friendly products to get more Indians to start investing.

  • February 18, 2022 – Panel discussion on Open Insurance

Panelists: Moderated by Sameer Nigam (CEO, PhonePe), the panelists include Yashish Dahiya (CEO, PolicyBazaar), Anuj Gulati (CEO, Care) and Varun Dua (CEO, ACKO Insurance).

Details on the session: The session will talk about the Insurance landscape in India and how the market has become more open and receptive to buying Insurance in the last few years. It will also talk about future growth prospects for the industry and how FinTechs can build Insurance for Tier, 2,3 and beyond. 

That’s not all! The highlight of the summit will be India’s biggest fintech hackathon ever, which will provide an opportunity to individual developers and the start-up community to present breakthrough ideas with the potential to solve real-world problems. To foster creativity, innovation, and an entrepreneurial mindset among children, another hackathon for school students will also be organized via Atal Innovation Mission’s Atal Tinkering Labs network. Additionally, the work undertaken by FinTech’s will also be showcased, and the most innovative start-up will be recognized in a virtual felicitation ceremony.

So, don’t forget to tune in and check out the Fintech Open Month website for more details here


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