Q1. What is SlicePay? How is this different from other micro-lending platforms?
Ans: In Slicepay, we are providing digital credit to youngsters specifically. Secondly, we are giving a very different sort of credit in terms of the ticket sizes which is more likely a credit card product than a loan product. What we do is, we provide our customers with a physical and virtual credit card which they can use for their online and offline transactions. We also provide them small loan option with the cash that we have. The main thing that differentiates us is the way we underwrite our customers. No one wants to lend to college students but we do!
Q2. How much you think the Slicepay is helping the student in living their dream. How many students did you help in the last year?
Ans: Currently, we have around 40,000 Slicepayians and overall we have served about 1,00,000 customers.
Q3. Despite being from Civil Department, how you co-founded the Fintech startups like Mesh Internet and SlicePay? What motivated you in this direction?
Ans: Startup was something, I always wanted to do right from my college. I was lucky that I ended up joining Flipkart after my college. There, I got good experience in the areas of technology and product development. I really felt that it is quite liberating, plus there are a lot of opportunities in this field, so I wanted to be a part of that ecosystem.
Q4. How should one proceed towards opening their own business while continuing their job? At what stage you understood that it was the right time to leave? What was the reaction of your family and friends about your decision of quitting the job?
Ans: If we are talking specifically about IIT, we should take risks if we really want to start or do something new. Whether do it after a job or just after graduation, in either way you have to take the risks. We are someone who doesn’t have any downside, if something doesn’t work out then you can always go back and think about your next interest while working somewhere else. That’s what I thought and decided to leave my job after 10 months of joining. I had to convince my family members but they were okay.
Q5. How did you find your co-founders?
Ans: The other co-founder is Deepak Malhotra, a BITS Pilani graduate. He was working in PayPal platform engineering team before joining SlicePay. So, we are quite complementary in terms of what he brings to the table and what I bring to the table and that’s the best way to go about forming the team.
Q6. How crowded is the Fintech space now and how it will be after few years?
Ans: I don’t know how it will be in few years. But, there are many players in the market right now, as mentioned, we are in a very differentiated segment and for lending in fintech, the key is to find your niche and dominate that niche. For that, you need to have better risk management processes than everyone else. You need to have better collections wherein customers will not retain back or collect the money back. The market is large enough to have multiple players. In China, there are hundreds of companies in this field which have become quite large. In India, there is more than 10,000 non-banking financial corporation which is registered under RBI who can lend money. So there is a large market and I think even hundreds of fintech companies can survive together in the market for the next five years.
Q7. Would you like to make any comment on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Startup India Campaign”, considering that today a lot of youth in India aspire to become entrepreneurs?
Ans: I think these policies are good in terms of bringing momentum amongst the general public. They make people think about starting up something new and helps them in making up their mind to take risks.
Q8. What are your views on cryptocurrency?
Ans: I like the whole crypto economy. I love what blockchains can bring to the ecosystem. I think that currently, we are in a bubble which would ultimately burst but there will be a lot of applications of this whole new technology in the fintech world. This bubble will make us realize to move forward in most sustainable manner. This is good learning experience for all of us involved in this ecosystem.
Q9. Recently SlicePay raised $ 2 million in Series A Funding. What are your future plannings in around 2-3 Years?
Ans: The first target is to expand this in more cities. That’s where you build your divisions and make sure that you are better than everyone else. Secondly, reaching more customers faster and making better products for the customer in the manner that the cost of interest is lower and the credit limit is higher is another focusing area. And finally reaching a stage where the company is profitable and sustainable is another focus area for us.
Q10. What hard skills a non-tech CEO should have according to your opinion?
Ans: According to my opinion, one of the most important things is understanding how your customers are feeling about the product, putting yourself in their shoes and thinking by their point of view is the quality that a non-tech CEO should have. Apart from making a good decision, having your own set of mental model is also a very important skill to have.
Q11. What lessons did you learn in your entrepreneurial journey till now? Even failed startups teach a lot, what did you learn in that process?
Ans: According to me, the most important thing is to make sure that your team is right and the task undertaken is important. Having the right set of things and the right company of people to think of micro stuff more minutely is important. Sometimes, we tend to get lost in imagination and that is the main problem in humans. We often forget about the micro things and we are over romanticising about macro things. That’s why I think focusing more on micro things, making small changes and making sure that changes are perfect for the company have a big impact at the macro level. So, these are the things I have learnt.
Q12. In what ways did KGP and its environment help you in your endeavours?
Ans: I got my first job in Flipkart which was quite instrumental. Apart from that, you have all the networks of smart people in KGP. Being in KGP, you know you are around all the smart people, seniors and juniors, whom you can reach anytime. Also, I know few of them who were in Ola or Oyo which was very useful.
Q13. What messages would you like to give to budding entrepreneurs out there and all the bright young minds of Kgp?
Ans: I would like to say that as we all have come from personal learning, keeping a focus on what you are doing is very important. It doesn’t matter what others are doing. Generally, the world is driven by envy, people think that if another person is doing something great then I should also copy that. You should figure out what’s your definition of success and just remain focused on that. Keep doing things according to your passion, what you love to do and what this world is expecting from you. This will ultimately lead you to love a happy and successful life.