AltFin and more for over 70 Million underbanked IndiansVJames
A chance meeting of 2 Wall Street professionals over coffee got them discussing about common interests and backgrounds and the burning desire to work with the vast underbanked population of India.
They had independently seen what it meant to lose life savings and how it can bring people down to their knees. Add to this, near similar personal financial backgrounds – where ‘simple’ investments were difficult, expenditure was planned carefully to the minutest detail and several asks were classified as ‘luxury’. A clear lack of alternate options got them thinking. And got them together.
A deeper understanding of the situation brought home the truth that a significant section of the society does not even have access to financial services. Even developed economies failed to cater to credit requirements of these people. How then, do these people fulfill life dreams that they had for themselves and their families? How do they ensure that what they were denied, their children are not?
Thus began the founders’ tryst with alternate finance.
Two individuals with two other things in common – Wall Street and a burning desire to do something for the not so inclusive section of the society, got together and incubated OpenTap. The working team cut their lifelines to well-paying corporate jobs and ventured into the stormy waters of alternate finance.
In India, approximately 70 Million people are employed in the organized sector and a significant portion of them are underbanked. These people have housing requirements, medical requirements and education requirements to name a few. Pages and pages can be written about other requirements. The aspirations are plenty; the means of fulfillment are unfortunately very limited. All told, we are presented with the possibility of dealing with over 70 Million unfulfilled dreams.
OpenTap was seeded with an audacious dream of bringing them into mainstream and giving impetus to the inclusivity dream. Be it inclusivity in education, access to technology / medical help, changed lifestyles or then simply, inclusivity in everyday scenarios.
Through our products and services, we are working towards financial empowerment of the aspirational Indian population. We believe that we can eventually bridge gaps in the current banking system and ween people away from expensive credit options. Consequently, we have become an alternate source of finance with fairly competitive interest rates.
Our average loan amount is INR 20K, which can be paid over a period of 12 months or less at competitive interest rates. The loan process / processing is not fussy and is taken to the customer’s doorstep. In doing so, both employer and employee productivity goes up (not having to take time off to step out during working hours to secure loans).
Our loans have played a role in helping our customers and their families get urgent medical attention, plan for education or fix a monsoon damaged roof. Our customers are not saddled with pages and pages of forms when they need to fix their homes Or attend to a medical emergency.
“Stopping by a service area, tethering with our phones, transferring funds to take care of an emergency requirement on our way back from a VC meeting was proof of our platform’s ability to help people right at the time they needed it,” is how co-founder Senthil Natarajan narrates his experience at OpenTap. He adds, “This is far more gratifying than fixing an algorithm in a multi million dollar deal at a top investment bank. This is why quitting a well paying job to address a larger national challenge makes so much sense.”