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'Within 5-years EarlySalary Has Disbursed 1.7 mn Loans worth Rs 2,750 cr': Akshay Mehrotra, CEO and Co-Founder, EarlySalary
Akshay Mehrotra, CEO, and Co-Founder at EarlySalary tells Ashish Sinha of BW Businessworld how EarlySalary has gone on to become the largest consumer lending application for salaried professionals.
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It's much more than a credit-based loan disbursing mobile-app. Fintech firm EarlySalary has cumulatively disbursed over Rs 2,750 crore in loan to young salaried working professionals. Akshay Mehrotra, CEO, and Co-Founder at EarlySalary tells Ashish Sinha of BW Businessworld how EarlySalary has gone on to become the largest consumer lending application for salaried professionals. Excerpts:
What inspired you to start EarlySalary and what were the reasons to enter Fintech sector?
We, the founders of EarlySalary—Akshay Mehrotra and Ashish Goyal—realized that there is a large credit underserved population in India. Also, easily accessible financial assistance was non-existent for young professionals. It’s been an exhilarating experience to become the first preference for lakhs of consumers today for getting an instant loan. In the journey to touch the lives of millions of people, we are able to help many into their first jobs settle into a new city. We help these young salaried working professions fulfill their dreams like experiencing an adventure holiday or buying a big LED TV for parents back in their home towns or helping them finance their expenses. EarlySalary is now one of the leading digital salary advance and credit-based loan disbursing mobile-app that has gone on to become India’s largest consumer lending platform for salaried individuals. Within 5 years the company has disbursed over 1.7 million loans worth Rs 2750 crore.
How has the Fintech scenario changed in last 12-months?
There has been a lot of ups and downs for the last 2-years. The crisis in banking and the non-banking financial companies followed by the pandemic and slowdown has made us more resilient. The crisis has taught us how to build a better-leveraged business and the importance of having on & off-book capabilities as a hybrid backend. But the pandemic helped in a clear differentiation between the digital lenders with the traditional lenders. We at EarlySalary saw few areas which make the company much more confident today; customer profile and scorecards that were deployed showed much lower delinquency and moratorium impact rather than the traditional players. The company has been able to run business operations with remote optional systems and DRPs systems seamlessly and in fact, continues to lend to new and repeat customers throughout the last 6-months. We have also been able to introduce two new lending categories, naming Buy on EMI, partnering with Edu Tech companies in EMI finance, and launch of 'Salary Card’ in partnership with RuPay.
How has your experience been in the Fintech Industry?
EarlySalary introduced the concept of instant digital Salary Advance for the first time in India and is one of the first consumer lending Fintech start-ups. Leading by innovation, the company differentiates itself by focusing on solving a single problem faced by young salaried working professionals. The company has gone on to become the largest consumer lending application for salaried professionals in the country and now serves as a Financial Wellness Offering to help employees create a financial cushion in times of need. While there are a number of players that have amped their game but EarlySalary leads from the front and continues to stem on its growth focus. EarlySalary is focused on going deeper into building additional products to help many more. It also operates with a fully digitalized and instant decision-making system which allows its customers to borrow in minutes rather than in days.
There are four pillars as the FinTech industry evolves, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, building for Automation, and hyper-focus on solving customer’s centricity issues. The Financial Services and FinTech industry have gone through many crises and now is recovering from the pandemic and slowdown impact. Currently, the FinTech industry is one of the most hardened business practices. It will flourish even further to a greater level, I feel.
Share some of the challenges you have faced in your journey so far?
Building a company is an exhilarating exercise as every day brings in a new challenge to solve. To start with, putting a strong team together, acquiring a license, putting the tech product, and starting lending, the threat mill to raise capital, both equity and debt, were all part of the challenge. As the company scaled, the challenges, focusing on market differentiator, competitive pressure, and cost control come in. Then we entered the growth phase, which is an important phase as we have to build a healthy Profit & Loss account while achieving hyper-growth. The biggest challenge, I feel, is keeping a positive mindset and building confidence in the teams to drive execution with perfection.
What’s coming in the near future for EarlySalary?
The EarlySalary Credit Suite offering is helping the company to pave way for the future. The Credit Suite strengths our overall motto to serve the credit needs of every salaried customer, whether the consumer just started to work in a large IT company or a Grey Collar employee of a delivery company. Or to a father wanting to pay for his child's school fees or a young lady who wants to upgrade her skills in order to get a better job and a secure future. We believe the credit we offer will help millions of people lead a better life and we will, in turn, become a much larger company by becoming a first-choice for all lending needs of the salaried class.
How did the idea come to launch Credit Suite? What are the new products included in the Credit Suite?
Credit Suite is an offering presented to customers that suit every credit need a person may have. Salaried customer’s credit needs warry from instant cash for an urgent payment to creating cash flows over month-end; that’s why our core instant Salary advances and instant loans have been accepted. The EarlySalary Credit Suite comprises of products like Instant loans and Salary Advances, Personal loans with limit up to 3 years, Free Credit Score feature, ‘Buy-on’ EMI and EarlySalary’s all-new digital Salary Card.
How has your brand helped the salaried individuals in these last 5 years?
EarlySalary is India’s largest consumer lending application that helps young working professionals to avail of easy salary advances or instant cash loans. We have disabused 1.7 million loans to Salaried Professionals in the country in the past 5-years. Young professionals and job beginners experience month-end cash crunch and due to lack of credit-score knowledge, they are also unable to borrow money from the traditional credit facilities available. EarlySalary helps them with an easy line of credit, instant cash loans, salary advances, long term loans, education loans, interest-free EMIs for shopping, and travel. Expanding its customer base, it has also integrated into many company’s HR systems to help the entry-level and blue-collar employees borrow instantly. The company aims to provide a one-stop credit solution that helps its customers to achieve financial support during emergencies and upgrade their lifestyle. Cumulatively, we have disbursed Rs 2750+ crore, helping customers get credit to have a better life each day or sustain a better lifestyle or improve their future by paying for better skill upgradation.
What advice would you like to give to budding entrepreneurs?
It’s very difficult to give a piece of single advice but I follow few practices and would like to suggest the same to the budding entrepreneurs. These include 'focus on solving the problems faced by your customers'; Always be on the front line focused on getting consumer acceptance and build the core of the company with a strong team; map internal KRAs for success. For example, EarlySalary focuses on building a consumer centric organisation which is highly intuitive engagement layer for customers, razor sharp company wise KRAs and a clear plan for the team to deliver on.