The automated financial advisor

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MoneyView was initially designed as an app to help customers manage their finance by displaying expense and income-related information, bill payment reminders and similar features on a single platform. Now, it’s introducing newer features such as using customer data to understand their finance management patterns and recommend savings-related schemes with low risk profile that they can invest in


From spending over 15 years across McKinsey, Silicon Valley-based Bling Nation and Google and the like, the one learning that Puneet Agarwal had time and again, was how can one use technology to deliver solutions for customers? While the idea did emerge; that of giving people access to the right products while building a scalable business, the drive to initiate his business plan came when he realised that most of the existing products in India (two years ago) served the top one per cent, rather than the middle 60 per cent. “We wanted to create a product for the mass market, one that largely relied on technology, and could be scaled in an economically viable manner,” recalls Agarwal.

In 2014, he and his co-founder did just this. They founded MoneyView, an app that provides every customer a single platform view into what is happening with their money. “For example, if you have a savings account in one bank, and a salary account in another, once you register on the app, it will automatically show your current balance, spends, incomes and other transactions happening in your account,” he explains. From a larger perspective, it tries to analyse a customer’s spending patterns, reminds them to pay bills on time, and develop a disciplined approach to saving as well.

But, who is this app addressed at? “Anyone with a bank account and smartphone,” Agarwal adds. Roughly, he claims to be targeting an audience of 200 million customers, of which only a small portion comprehend finance management. “In a way, the app acts as a financial manager, keeping a tab on their day-to-day transactions, thus not requiring a customer to spend much time or effort on it,” he opines.

Thus far, the app has recorded close to 10 million downloads on the app store.

In a way, the MoneyView app acts as a financial manager, keeping a tab on a customer’s day-to-day transactions, thus not requiring them to spend much time or effort on it.


Establishing A Revenue Model

While MoneyView doesn’t charge the customer for using its services, a recent feature the team has introduced, hopes to drive revenues into the business. One among them is to present financial products to customers, based on their spending and saving patterns. For example, it has partnered with ICICI Prudential to offer savings scheme to its customers; which will be targeted specifically based on the profile of the customer. “We’re still working on building further partnerships. In this case, every time a customer invests in a product, we get a commission,” notes Agarwal. He believes this is a compelling feature, for the return on investments if a customer invests through the app will be at least 1.5 to two percent higher than market rates, and the customer has the option of withdrawing the amount at any point without penalty. “Ultimately, what people want is for their money to be safe. Instead of it lying in a bank account, it can be invested with higher returns,” he opines.

Designing Policies With A Tech Sense

With the Centre announcing the demonetisation move in the recent past, MoneyView has capitalised on this opportunity by launching a feature that allows its customers to locate the nearest ATMs with available cash. While this and several other features (that are still in prototype stage) remain on the founders’ game plan to drive more revenues into the business, Agarwal points out that there is still a need-gap when it comes to startups leveraging the infrastructure the Government has put in place. Elaborating on this, he shares an example of the need to undergo KYC before consuming any financial services products. “When technology was still at an early stage, this policy made sense. Now, given the capabilities we have built from a tech standpoint, a customer should be allowed to invest without having to go through an elaborate process such as this,” he opines. While lauding initiatives such as Aadhar and IMPS, Agarwal clearly states that there is a need for more nimble policies which can take advantage of the changing technology adoption in India.


Snapshot

Founders: Puneet Agarwal and Sanjay Aggarwal

Year: 2014

Investors: Tiger Global, Accel India, Ribbit Capital

Employees: 50+

Impact: 10 million app downloads

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