How these Two Ex-IITians are Drawing Millennials' Attention Towards Micro-saving
"Savings are essentially liquid so the users can withdraw money at any point of time"
Month-end financial constraints are common to almost all college students and young professionals. Saving enough to tide over the crisis is easier said than done for these spendthrifts.
Two entrepreneurs have come to the rescue of disillusioned millennials with an app that helps one manage finances effectively so that one can save enough. The duo’s idea is to make saving money as easy a task as buying grocery online.
IIT-Kanpur alumni Ankit Kumar and Abhishek Malik have launched ‘Balance,’ an app that monitors one’s spending habits and investments.
It streamlines the documentation processes involved in investments and makes an individual aware of the risks associated with it. Balance is actually promoting the concept of micro-saving.
In an exclusive interview with Entrepreneur India, founders Kumar and Malik talked about how they came up with the idea of creating a saving app that could help millennials save enough without any hassle.
Automating the Process
Why an app like Balance should exist in the country when there are plenty of banks and various investment sources? Kumar had studied the market well and was pretty sure about the reasons behind his move.
“We have observed that most people are apprehensive about opting for investment plans because they think it is a complicated process and do not want to be bothered by the risks associated with it. Balance is making things easier in this respect,” he said.
Certain ‘recipes’ make customer experience with Balance unique and the app exceptional among various banks and investment platforms, asserted Kumar.
These ‘recipes’ are actually recommendations or plans that the app suggests its users, based on the week-on-week analysis of the spending pattern of respective consumers.
The company has received a funding of INR1.5 crore from Rainmatter. Besides, Zerodha’s incubator cell had provided early-stage funding to the venture.
‘Recipes’ Based on People’s Every-day Habits
Elucidating further, Kumar said the company has a suite of ‘recipes’ that are studying a user’s lifestyle and every-day spending behavior. “The venture has launched an array of recipes based on people’s choices and emerging trends. The recent one is on Champions Trophy. The app has a feature based on the spending trend of fitness enthusiasts,” Kumar added.
So what is the role of Balance in the ecosystem? Is it a tax expert or a financial advisor? The duo explained the app’s exact role stating it suggests simple avenues for saving money.
“We just want users to save cash the way they do in FDs, but the savings are essentially liquid so the users can withdraw money at any point of time. I basically believe it’s more about the perception that people have about saving,” said Malik.
The prime focus of the company is to get brands onboard. The venture is already in talks with a few companies for collaboration.
A Chatbot-type Interface
With digitization disrupting the market, Balance with its chatbot-like interface is the perfect way to teach people how to save, said Kumar. “People do not want to get into the complexities of advisory services and we introduced Balance to meet their needs,” he added.
“Balance is not a robot-advisory platform,” he stressed.
Their targets are those who are novice in making investment decisions or have not bought mutual funds yet or have no plans, as such, to do so.
“MFs are popular in terms of investment plans,” said Malik.
Why Urban is the Only Market to Experiment?
“The kind of idea we had, we really felt urban markets appropriate for experimenting as people in cities earn more and most importantly they have a particular spending pattern,” he added.
The duo had created a rickshaw app in 2011 to solve the commuting problems that most cities have, said Kumar.
But Kumar and Malik parted ways then only to be back together again to create Balance.
(Interview by Aashika Jain)