Let’s face it, entrepreneurship is HARD!
Every businessman’s journey is often laced with a whole lot of RISK, Innovation & identifying opportunities at the time of adversity. Those are the conditions that a real entrepreneur best thrives in & that’s what seems to be the case with Rajat Deshpande as well, CEO & Founder, FinBox & our next guest at the BootStrap Garage Podcast.
Long time acquaintances Rajat & Samar Singla, our host & a serial entrepreneur himself come from the same alma mater. Now back together after years to discuss the ropes of entrepreneurship today, as two successful entrepreneurs themselves, these two seem to be paving the way for what will be the next generation of tech-heads & entrepreneurs.
The Beginning: FinBox 1.0
Just like every experience FinBx 1.0 witnessed Rajat stumbling, falling & getting up only to figure out his path forward. Sharing in the podcast, Rajat talks about how he was constantly juggling & experimenting with an interesting mix of tech & analytics in terms of career prospects. Once gaining considerable experience in both he moved on to learn more about B2B & B2C business & how they function.
With a smooth transition into the tech industry which was driven mostly by curiosity & the aim to learn the ropes of the web world, both front and backend. This then was followed by a Eureka moment in 2015, which led to FinBox 1.0 which he then built with his brother in 2017. FinBox 1.0. was essentially a personal finance management application, categorizing your spend patterns based on the SMS text messages. The App did fairly well attracting organic downloads in big numbers but didn’t translate into a working business model due to the impatient nature of the partnership & zeal to prove the working business model.
Perhaps tapping spending habits for not-so-frugal users could be seriously frugal, added a humoured Samar.
Learnings from Phase 1
- Patience is the key, don’t take business decisions in a hurry
- Focus on customer acquisition before jumping on to make money.
- Pick your area of expertise & focus on it.
- Understanding the B2C & B2B business model and taking a well-thought pick for what works for you, some of the major causes for FinBox 1.0’s dip.
FinBox 2.0: The Second Phase
The ethos of what we do is basically that we build stuff, that other people can use to build more stuff. We build APIs & SDKs for the landing ecosystem. What we’ve recently come up with is an immediate finance platform that helps anybody embed financial services in a non-financial app in min 3 days &, max 3 weeks. Which otherwise is a whole 1-2 year process.
The second edition witnessed FinBox turning into what is said to be one of the country’s first account aggregators — systems that let potential borrowers prepare and upload one set of financial documents and then allow access to the online file from multiple potential lenders. The startup further strengthened and consolidated its credit intelligence portfolio that already boasts a robust risk assessment and alternate data decisioning engine.
With a lean team of 40, Rajat Deshpande & his team are a firm believer in wearing many hats. Well versed in the tech part of the business as well, the majority of FinBox’s team can manage everything from coding, building products, marketing to finance of course and he takes great pride in that.
Rajat believes that the future of FinTech in India is fairly in its early days. However the next few years are hopeful, he predicts a 10x growth in the next 5 years but something like a pandemic has changed the dynamics & future numbers. As for the government, they are also figuring out how mainstream FinTech should look like.
As for sharing his take on working with the family, he mentions there are definitely some “interesting moments & disagreements” but he always feels backed up!
SO, in Rajat’s own words,
GIVE IT A SHOT TAKE THAT PLUNGE.