Future of Work: KhataBook co-founder reveals why SMEs must go digital to increase their income

With more than eight million active SMB users and 500+ types of businesses using the app, Co-founder and CEO of Bengaluru-based KhataBook Ravish Naresh claims KhataBook saw transactions worth $100 billion last year.

Ravish Naresh, Co-founder and CEO of Bengaluru-based KhataBook, said the startup's vision is to make India's SMBs efficient with easy-to-use software, and thereby, increase their incomes.

Speaking at YourStory's Future of Work 2021, Ravish said:

"With nearly 60 million SMBs and 30 percent contribution to GDP, small businesses form the backbone of the Indian economy. We aim to digitise and automate all the flows happening in their shops with software. Our vision is to create a singular dashboard where SMBs can see their entire business picture."

According to KhataBook, SMBs follow a complex, offline process to keep track of the credit flow with their consumers and suppliers, maintaining handwritten notebooks with separate accounts on each page. Merchants spend around three-four hours every day tracking dues, and lose significant revenue due to misplaced ledgers or missed collections.

"By using the simple, Android app Khatabook, this issue is solved and the process is automated for SMBs. The extra time at hand can be used by small businesses to generate extra income," Ravish explained.

With more than eight million active SMB users and 500+ types of businesses using the app, Ravish claimed KhataBook saw transactions worth $100 billion last year.

He attributed the popularity of KhataBook and other digital solutions for SMBs to two factors: the telecom revolution spearheaded by Reliance Jio, which enabled millions of Indians to come online for the first time, and the proliferation of cheap, powerful smartphones that can run apps.

"Because of our reach, we were able to see in which states were SMBs worse hit during the lockdown. In South India, we observed the average time for credit recovery was 45 percent higher. This kind of data enables us to build easy ways of lending and other features to digitise all other parts of an SMB's business through the platform," Ravish explained.

KhataBook was started in 2016 when Ravish, who is also co-founder of real estate search portal Housing.com and AI-powered SMS Inbox Kyte, came across developer Vaibhav Kalpe’s business accounting app. Vaibhav had built the app after seeing his father face challenges in recording his electrical shop’s receivables.

Naresh acqui-hired Vaibhav and his team, and launched KhataBook, aiming to become the first business accounting software that India's merchants used.

A big shout-out to our Future of Work 2021 Co-presenting Sponsors Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Unique Solutions; Digital Excellence Partner Google Cloud; Associate Sponsors HP and Intel; and Sponsors Atlassian, Freight Tiger, Archon I Cohesity, TeamViewer, and Pocket Aces.

Edited by Teja Lele