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Reimagining Credit Card As a Payments Product Rajan Bajaj of Slice creates the platform to help other aspiring youngsters like him

By Deepa Vaidya

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Slice

The year 2021 marks a major event for Rajan Bajaj, founder & CEO, Slice, a credit-card challenger fintech company. Slice became the 41st unicorn in the country, a vision that he probably set for himself after turning 28 in 2020. A $220 million Series B funding from Tiger Global and Insight Partners as lead investors put Slice in the league of Unicorns last year.

Slice is Bajaj's second entrepreneurial venture, the first being Mesh, a furniture startup. It was during Mesh that Bajaj realised the importance of credit cards as a financial tool. This eventually led him to create Slice to help other aspiring youngsters like him.

Explaining the genesis of Slice, he said, "The banking industry in India has always viewed credit cards as a loan product rather than a high-frequency payment instrument. Therefore, banks' main focus is to optimize the fees related to credit cards, which severely impacts the customer experience. Any small friction in product experience can lead to a magnitude of reduction in market size, which is what is happening in India. Over 400 million Indians are eligible for a credit card but we have just 30 million unique customers in the country today."

Added Bajaj, "With the Slice super card, we have reimagined the idea of a "credit card' and looked at it as a payment product and not a loan product. The Slice super card helps you pay bills, manage expenses, and unlock rewards. It comes along with a simple and transparent app to help our members transact easily. Our rewards are gamified, instant and offers are highly curated to be relevant to millennials and Gen Z in India."

The fintech startup has registered a 40 per cent month-on-month growth since November 2021 and over seven million registered users. Says Bajaj, "The company is building the best payment experience in India with its Slice super card. We aim to launch its UPI product in 2022 and further enhance the payments experience of the millennials and Gen Z in India."

For a customer base with an average age 26 years, Slice follows a young-at-heart talent acquisition and retention strategy too. Says the 29-year old founder, "At Slice, we are constantly looking for young talent that relates to our product; is equally enthusiastic about creating the future of payments; who might not have relevant experience but showcases immense potential and promise. We plan to hire around 800 people by the end of 2023 with a special focus on building and growing our product, operations, design, and engineering teams. We believe that a strong operations team that can leverage tech and design thinking skills to solve internal operation issues is critical to scaling business and ensuring operational excellence."

He added, "Our ideology is to hire young talent under the guidance of experienced management by valuing potential over just experience."

"Our focus is to offer an agile working environment to our employees. Keeping in line with this, we have been able to change the hiring landscape with a proposition to move away from the traditional five or six-day workweek, and rolled out a three-day workweek program named "Code in 3', says the millennial founder.

Explaining about some of the initiatives taken at Slice, Bajaj said, "As a part of our commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace culture, we have introduced many flexible policies for our employees, namely, menstrual leave for all eligible team members as a part of their employee leave policy; 50 per cent increase in paternity leave for expectant partners. 2021 was a year of drastic changes in employee welfare schemes for Slice, which started with a partnership with a mental health and emotional wellness organisation to provide every single Slice employee, access to a licensed counsellor to address their stressors, apprehensions, anxiety and any form of trauma."

On his vision for the company, commented Bajaj, "We aim to become the payments product of choice for India."

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