How FloBiz’s myBillBook platform addresses digital pain points of SMBs

When Rahul Raj, Co-founder and CEO of FloBiz, was mapping the fintech landscape of the country, he realised that the MSME sector had practically no tech adoption and was in dire need of solutions. This led to the launch of the Bengaluru-based neobank.
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The last two years have taught Indian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that digitisation is paramount to running businesses. However, despite several MSMEs adopting digital tools, they continue to struggle with various questions relating to the ledger, summary of stocks, bookkeeping, and profit and loss statements, among others. 

Before 2019, when Rahul Raj, Co-founder and CEO of FloBiz, was mapping the fintech landscape of the country, he realised that the MSME sector had practically no tech adoption and was in dire need of solutions. 

“We have 90-100 nationalised banks. But we are still looking at a $500 billion worth of credit gap which means the capital required for these small businesses to grow and sustain has largely been absent,” he tells SMBStory.

This led to launching FloBiz in 2019. The Bengaluru-based neobank is building billing, accounting and several other solutions for the sector.

According to some numbers shared by the company, its marquee product, myBillBook has 1.2 million monthly users who generate trade worth Rs 8000 crore per month. Recently, the business also onboarded actor Manoj Bajpayee as its brand ambassador. 

In an interview with SMBStory, Rahul maps certain pain points of this sector that the company is solving and more. 

Edited excerpts:

SMBStory [SMBS]: How does myBillBook automate the workflows of SMBs?

Rahul Raj [RR]: It is very hard to assume that if you build a software solution for SMBs, they will use it in the first go itself. So it is important to understand their pain points at the deepest level in order to encourage them towards digitisation. All of this led to the creation of the myBillBook platform.

myBillBook, in a nutshell, is a simple-to-use billing and accounting software that takes care of all of the record-keeping activity for small businesses including sales, purchases, expenses, recording transactions, maintenance of inventory, keeping a track of payables and receivables and more.

The app generates close to 25 business reports that help in compliance and effective decision-making. 

SMBS: You are present in more than 3,000 cities. How do you cater to your base in the smaller cities?

RR: Invoicing is the central activity of our product as it addresses different pain points across different structures of MSMEs. This helps us to cater to a wide variety of people.

Additionally, tech-savviness and degree of commercialisation is much more advanced in clusters like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad than cities like Patna, Ranchi, Lucknow and Indore. 

So we have very distinguished strategies for reaching out to different customers in terms of user acquisition, marketing, branding, distribution of software.

A large number of users were acquired during the lockdown when the method of acquisition available was only digital such as Google and Facebook ads because it was impossible to physically meet these people.

Today, we have a hybrid structure in place which includes online means as well as offline infrastructure. Additionally, wherever we see more adoption whether it is the metro cities of the tier I or II cities, we deploy greater resources and efforts to acquire more customers there. 

SMBS: The app is present across languages such as Tamil and Gujarati apart from Hindi and English. How have you been able to penetrate deeper into the Indian market by launching the app in these regional languages?

RR: India is a diverse country and this diversity is beautiful and challenging at the same time for a business like ours. However, English and Hindi form a large part of our SMB customer base. What we have realised is that the majority of the SMBs want to conduct their daily operations in English despite having Hindi as their mother tongue language. 

They want professionalism in the way they speak to their customers and that is why English becomes a preferred language to use. 

However, when we want to create deeper depth in the product, integrating vernacular languages to make the transition to digital means as seamless as possible is a good option. 

SMBS: Apart from the language, what are the other strategies you have deployed to ensure that the user experience is as smooth as possible?

RR: So we have gotten rid of all the technical jargon on the app. They have been replaced with words such as sales, purchases, expenses and more. This has made it very simple to use myBillBook for SMBs. Having vernacular languages has resulted in taking care of the businesses which are ready to go digital but find comfort in conducting businesses in their native languages.

So we have rolled out the app in Gujarati and Tamil and will launch it in more than five more regional languages in the coming months. 

Additionally, we also have customer support in languages like Kannada which haven’t rolled out as yet. The customer support system is available to SMBs 24/7 in several regional languages including Bengali and Marathi. 

SMBS: How much has the business scaled up during the COVID-19 pandemic?

RR: I would say that all the growth has happened during the pandemic. myBillBook was launched during the COVID-19 pandemic and various developments of this product have happened during the pandemic itself. In fact, the acquisition of six million downloads and 1.2 million active monthly users has been very encouraging for us. 

Even the government has realised the importance of the local businesses and the manufacturing sector which is reflective in their policies. 

We have also seen several SMB debt companies emerging in the last 18-24 months. So, there is a lot of openness in this sector. We fundamentally believe that cheaper smartphones and the proliferation of the internet fueled by the pandemic will convert into an inflection point that will leapfrog India to become a $5 trillion-plus economy. 

SMBS: What’s next on your plate?

RR: We are hopeful about how this sector is going to scale up in the next few years. Our long-term aim is to cater to a large number of small businesses. We are looking forward to diversifying our product offerings. Some developments have been in the pipeline for some time now and they will see the light of the day. We are planning to venture into the financial services space soon. 

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti