We Aim To Make India Financially Literate, Says C.S. Sudheer, IndianMoney.com
In an interview with BW Businessworld, C.S. Sudheer, CEO and Founder of IndianMoney.com, talks about his venture and more
What was the rationale behind starting IndianMoney.com? What gaps are you trying to fill, and what have the highlights of your journey been, thus far?
IndianMoney.com, India's largest free, unbiased financial education Company was started by CS Sudheer at the young age of 22. This Company was conceptualized in 2008, to address the glaring need of financial education among the common man.
India may be home to 17.5% of the World's population, yet, 76% of its adult population doesn't understand even the basic financial concepts. Financial literacy is very low in India, vis-à-vis the rest of the World. Financial Illiteracy is very bad for the Nation, as it hampers growth and prosperity.
Lack of financial literacy makes the common man, vulnerable to fraud and mis-selling. The rationale behind starting IndianMoney.com was not just making the common man financially literate, but also financially educated making it difficult to cheat him. IndianMoney.com was much ahead of the curve in launching such an initiative as financial education was not even discussed at regulatory levels.
CS Sudheer explored multiple ways to educate people and zeroed in on on-call advising which is tailor-made for the demography of India. IndianMoney.com educates people over a telephone call with the help of Proprietary Need Analyzer which records the voice of consumers and their aspirations before offering solutions. Today, IndianMoney.com educates about 21,000 people and has capabilities to scale this up to 1,00,000 a day.
o Post Graduation CS Sudheer was working with an insurance Company in sales. The insurance sector was at its peak and during this period he witnesses a huge number of products being mis-sold where innocent customers were being brutally misled. A couple of incidents where people who could save meagre amounts had been misled really shook him.
o He quit his lucrative sales career and started the portal which offers free unbiased financial education to reduce mis-selling in the financial services sector.
o People avail high interest loans without realizing the implications of a default. IndianMoney.com educates the common man on the dangers of falling in a debt trap.
o There is a glaring need for financial education at the grass roots level in India. Financial education is not a priority in our schools and colleges. If young children are made financially literate right in their school days, it will be very difficult to mis-sell/cheat them out of hard-earned money, when they grow up and hold jobs.
" IndianMoney.com's unique offering has helped over 32 Lakh people till date, make wise financial decisions.
" IndianMoney.com has set up a dedicated helpline for Karnataka State Police to educate them on personal finance.
Would you call your venture a socially motivated one, or is profitability one of your key objectives?
More than 76% of India's adult population does not understand financial concepts. Financial illiteracy places a heavy burden on the Nation in terms of higher cost of financial security. It is very important to address the glaring need of lack of financial literacy, if India is to become a developed Nation.
If the common man is financially illiterate, he is vulnerable to financial fraud, cheating and mis-selling. This puts his life's savings at risk. IndianMoney.com aims to prevent this by giving the common man a complete financial education. The Government is focusing heavily on financial inclusion and wants to bring the benefits of banking and insurance services to the doorstep of the common man.
Good financial education helps the common man, avail the benefits of financial Inclusion. He is able to Save, Spend, Borrow, Invest and move on the path to prosperity.
IndianMoney.com educates the consumer on financial products and concepts. They are connected to registered service providers in their geography. The Company charges a small referral fee which ranges from Rs 50 to Rs 500. The Company chooses to charge a referral fee instead of a success fee, to make sure service providers remain unbiased all the time.
The Company addresses a very important social cause, making the common man financially literate. This is no small task as even the Government has realized and is actively promoting financial awareness in the Country. People don't commit suicide if they are unwell. They commit suicide if they are in financial trouble. Good financial education can save lives and profitability is small talk, before a social cause.
Tell us a bit about the WealthDoctor App and how it helps users.
The Company has built the WealthDoctor App now called the IndianMoney App, a Robo Advising Platform, to make the common man financially literate. Most people have smart phones and it's easy to access this core Personal Finance Education Platform through this simple and innovative mobile app.
IndianMoney.com aims to transform the lives of the common man by giving them the right financial guidance. The Company through the IndianMoney App informs on what's happening around the World in just 64 words. It gives live help on financial topics with AI-powered chat assistant and free financial advice on any financial product. This app delivers personalized finance news, education, tips and advice.
IndianMoney App has been seeing over 99% accuracy. The user interface has evolved so well that any common man can use this.
IndianMoney App has a reminder option to help pay credit card and utility bills on time. It offers a State of the Art highly secure, personal document repository. It gives live help on any financial product with AI-powered Chat Assistant. The app helps bookmark interesting content, to be read later at leisure. It gives a daily dose of personalized money tips.
At any stage, do you plan to piggyback financial products on your existing investor education proposition?
IndianMoney.com is India's largest, free unbiased financial education Company and it intends to stay that way. The Company follows the referral model where after educating a customer on financial products and concepts, they are connected to the registered service providers solely upon their discretion and preference through which the company earns a small referral fee. The Company neither recommends nor promotes any financial products to any financial service providers. This helps them in giving unbiased financial advice. The Company has opted to charge referral fees over success fees to service providers in order to ensure they remain unbiased all the time.
No, the Company has no plans to piggyback or recommend financial products of specific Companies on its existing education proposition. This will come in the way of giving the common man unbiased financial advice and a complete financial education which is the main focus of the Company. The Company believes it's unrealistic to expect genuine and unbiased free consultation from an agent or seller of financial products. The Company works with a clear disclaimer saying it's not a seller of any financial products; it only provides FREE financial advice / education to ensure people are not misguided while buying any kind of financial products.
There's a degree of skepticism about anything that's positioned as 'free' within the financial services industry. How do you overcome this resistance?
Not everything that comes 'free' has something attached to it. IndianMoney.com does provide free and unbiased advice to the common man with the only agenda being, he/she doesn't get cheated by unscrupulous agents in the financial services agency.
This kind of Company is a boon to the financial services industry where rampant mis-selling is the norm. On the contrary this Company aims to protect the common man from fraudulent practices in this industry and protect the common man's hard earned money.
The Company was founded by CS Sudheer after a couple of incidents where people who could save meagre amounts had been misled and lost years of savings, pushing them into darkness. These incidents motivated him to give up a lucrative sales career and focus on making the common man financially aware.
If quality financial advice has to reach the intended beneficiaries, it must be free. Unlike the West, the common man in India is not ready to pay for financial advice. This makes it absolutely necessary for the Company to give free unbiased financial advice. The Company provides a one of a kind service in an industry which thrives on making money at all costs. Naturally free is viewed with scepticism.
The Company follows the philosophy of PET. PET stands for Protect, Empower and Transform. The Company protects the common man by educating him/her on various financial products and protects them from getting misled by unscrupulous agents in the financial services industry. Citizens are empowered by imparting financial education and making them financially aware, so that they make the right financial decisions. The Company transforms the lives of the common man through on-call advice and also through its IndianMoney App.
The Company has helped over 32 Lakh people make wise financial decisions. Consumer stickiness is the biggest testimony of their success as they educate consumers on different financial products year after year. This shows the Company has overcome resistance and skepticism on free within the financial services industry.
What is IndianMoney.com's revenue model, and what are your business goals for the next five years?
IndianMoney.com works with a clear disclaimer that we aren't a seller of any financial product. Thus, the revenue model of IndianMoney.com is mainly dependent on generating leads for the associates who are registered on their platform. The consumer is not charged for the financial education they receive but, the company earns a 'referral fee' for every lead which is transferred and not a 'success fees' thereby, remaining unbiased in rendering honest and genuine advice.
Our business goals in the coming years:
We are targeting to add 10 million consumers on our platform the coming year, right now we are providing free financial education to 21000 people which we are aiming to increase upto 1 lac people on a daily basis and attain exuberant growth rate. We are also targeting to generate 20000 leads on a daily basis.
The Publication Business is also running in full swing wherein we have plans to launch handbooks on various financial products. My first book "Love Beyond Death" has been a great success. Now, in the upcoming months I would be launching my new book "My Millionaire Friend" which is targeted exclusively at the youth.
We are already writing regular columns in the leading dailies. Crazy star V. Ravichandran is our brand ambassador, we are also in talks with very senior veteran actors across India in different regions.
We are now the Financial Education Partners of Karnataka State Police. Also, we are setting up helplines for various Governmental institutions and NGO's to spread financial literacy. We have a strong presence across regional and national media to spread financial literacy.
We have also set up a production house wherein we are working to produce content for various new channels and media's like newspapers, magazines. We have our You Tube channel wherein we are putting content on a daily basis and spreading financial awareness. IndianMoney.com is hosting various shows on Financial Awareness and Education across National and Regional news channels. We are targeting to reach more media houses and publications to spread financial literacy across India.