Fintech Event at ISB

 
Indian Fintech Companies : Opportunities for Solving Global Problems

 
 
 

 

The Fintech panel discussion on ‘Indian Fintech companies: Opportunities for solving Global Problems’ organised by the Indian School of Business (ISB) Technology Special Interest Group (SIG) and Startup SIG in collaboration with Barclays Rise Mumbai and Indian Angel Network was held at Rise Mumbai on Saturday, April 29, 2017.
 
A high-profile panel of industry experts representing different actors in the fintech ecosystem across financial institutions, venture capital firms, consulting firms and startups, came together to discuss how Indian fintech companies can solve global problems.
 
On the panel were Amit Patni, Founder and Director of RAAY Global and Chairman, Nirvana Venture Advisors, who delivered the keynote address and presented the venture capital perspective; Satya Narayan Bansal, CEO, Barclays Wealth India, offered the financial institution perspective; Harshvardhan Lunia, Founder and CEO of Lendingkart, provided the startup perspective; and Yashraj Erande, Partner and Managing Director, The Boston Consulting Group, presented the advisory perspective.
 
The session was moderated by Padmanabhan ‘Paddy’  Balasubramanian, Executive-in- Residence at ISB, who shared insights from his decade-long experience across geographies as a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs.
 
Reinforcing Mumbai’s position as the fintech capital of India, the event attracted participants from several other cities, and the audience's experience and knowledge of fintech was apparent in their incisive questions and active engagement during the session.
 
Paddy set the context for the evening by introducing the concept of fintech and launching a discussion on what role Indian companies can play in the global fintech context.
 

 
In his keynote speech, Amit Patni cited a KPMG and NASSCOM report which stated that while fintech companies globally raised US$36 billion, the Indian fintech market was not behind in terms of activity and growth, and was projected to grow at a double-digit pace to touch US$2.4 billion by 2020 from the current US$1.2 billion. He highlighted some of the challenges faced by Indian fintech companies and potential solutions, and detailed how India, with its significant unbanked and underbanked population, is a particularly good market for sub-sectors such as lending, where startups saw funding triple.
 
Reinforcing this lending perspective, Harshvardhan Lunia shared his experience of starting and growing Lendingkart, and what it takes to succeed in India, given the unique characteristics of the Indian financial services market. One of his key messages was about how certain common themes and critical success factors such as speed, simplicity and ease of use transcend market nuances and can help successful Indian fintech companies scale across other markets.
 

 


Yashraj Erande drew upon his experience in the Boston Consulting Group’s Strategy practice in India and as a core member of BCG’s Financial Institutions practice, where he advised numerous financial institutions on issues related to business strategy, long-rangetransformation and digital disruption, to provide a broad overview of the global and Indian fintech landscape and trends. He sounded an alert about the challenges fintech companies face in India and how this is translating to a decline in new fintech companies and funding, and made the case for collaboration between banks and fintech companies. 
 
Satya Bansal shared his perspective on the evolution of the fintech market in the context of the journey of India’s broader finance market from the outcry system to online trading, a journey which he has seen at close quarters and has been a part of through various roles in the banking and finance industry for over two decades. He spoke from an investor’s perspective and emphasised the need to assess ventures by focusing on the entrepreneurs involved and their commitment to the cause.
 

Ausang Shukla, Director and Head, Financial Services, Ambit, who attended the event, observed, “Products developed for Indian markets are built to handle a large scale of low-value transactions and be extremely efficient on cost per transaction … collaboration with larger global entities with existing networks could help in accessing global markets.”


 

 

 

In the run-up to the event, the ISB Tech SIG contacted Tom Hyland, Co-Founder and Partner, Aspada, for his views on Indian fintech companies and how they can solve global problems. Hyland’s perspective — a contrarian one, given the theme of the event — was that the opportunities for fintech companies in India’s immense and unorganised market are so rich that he wouldn’t really suggest looking outside of India. Hyland stated, “Why bother?
The domestic market is so large and so unorganised that I’d be remiss in suggesting looking outside of India. Do what you know. There are plenty of multi-thousand crore opportunities to be built focusing on India alone.”
 
This article has been written by the moderators of Entrepreneurship/ Start up SIG and Technology SIG.