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Meet the Merchant Mate: Raman Khanduja, Co-Founder and CEO, Mintoak Khanduja thinks that what SMEs truly need is a consolidated platform that streamlines their operations

By Paromita Gupta

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Raman Khanduja, Co-Founder and CEO, Mintoak

To empower and elevate small businesses and merchants, Raman Khanduja, in 2017, co-founded Mintoak along with Kabeer Jain, Rohit Ramana, Sanjay Nazareth, and Rama Tadepalli. Mintoak is a merchant SaaS platform for banks to expand payments proposition to cross-sell and deliver financial products to SMEs.

"Traditionally, payment acceptance for SMEs has been facilitated through costly and non-interactive devices like POS terminals, rendering them inaccessible to a vast majority, particularly in markets like India where such terminals are prohibitively expensive for many," he shared. He feels that reduced data pricing, increased smartphone adoption, and robust digital infrastructure, have paved the way for innovative solutions.

Khanduja thinks that what SMEs truly need is a consolidated platform that streamlines their operations. While big tech companies excel in technology, they lack the trust banks enjoy. On the other hand, banks, although trusted, face hurdles in technological agility due to legacy systems. "Recognising this, our approach entails partnering with banks to combine their trusted distribution channels with technology and product, ensuring SMEs benefit from a seamless and comprehensive solution tailored to their needs," he adds.

But building Mintoak hasn't been easy. The startups' first hurdle was hiring top talent without the backing of venture capital or the recognition of a well-established brand. To overcome this, they tapped into their network for referrals, relying on connections who knew them or knew of them through mutual acquaintances, "This approach became our primary recruitment channel."

Having recently raised Series A in 2023, how is Mintoak keeping up with the developments and fellow competitors? "Customer and merchant demands are unique and multifaceted in India, requiring tailored solutions. By leveraging technology, they can precisely address these micro-needs while maintaining the trust essential in financial services. While we believe we've struck the right balance, continual refinement is imperative. Our approach hinges on a blend of technology and trust," he adds.

As a co-founder, Khanduja had its fair share of learnings, "One significant lesson learned is the emphasis on execution over being the first mover in the Indian market. Persistence and unwavering belief in your idea are paramount to success." The Co-founder and CEO of Mintoak feels that valuation holds importance, and the primary focus remains on profitability. Up next, Mintoak and Khanduja aim to address the broader digital needs of merchants, extending beyond payments and financial services, "This includes solutions for tax filing, online business management, billing and inventory management, and integration with ONDC. Our goal is to consolidate these services into a single app, ensuring comprehensive support for merchants while optimizing bandwidth usage."

Additionally, they are expanding into regions like the Middle East and Africa. "Leveraging our platform's adaptable architecture, we aim to address the needs of SMEs worldwide, with minimal adjustments required to accommodate local nuances," he concludes.

Paromita Gupta

Features Writer with Entrepreneur India

Covering news and trends in AI and Metaverse segments. An avid book reader running her personal blog on the side. You may reach me at paromita@entrepreneurindia.com. 

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