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“Banking Ecosystem Of India Has Seen Unprecedented Changes” Rohit Taneja, Founder & CEO, Decentro

India has taken some key steps in the right direction by partially standardizing and opening certain financial services and with a vibrant fintech ecosystem, we are likely to witness a huge disruption led by open banking.

“Banking Ecosystem Of India Has Seen Unprecedented Changes” Rohit Taneja, Founder & CEO, Decentro
“Banking Ecosystem Of India Has Seen Unprecedented Changes” Rohit Taneja, Founder & CEO, Decentro

How did the idea to start the company conceptualize?

My first venture Mypoolin was co-founded in 2015, and it was the country’s first social payments platform, similar to Venmo from the US. After raising two rounds of funding, Mypoolin was acquired by a California-based global payments player Wibmo in 2017, which in turn was acquired by Naspers-backed PayU in 2019.

I experienced firsthand how painfully long and intricate working with a bank can be, both for a small startup as well as a huge corporation with a workforce of 1000+. In 2017-2019, when I was working with Wibmo and PayU as the Director of Payments, I encountered the exact same hurdles while leading the India and SEA markets in terms of their financial and banking integrations. These experiences got me thinking and inspired me to build a venture to address this problem. The market for it was wide, and the solution seemed intuitive to me, having the relevant expertise in the field. And, that’s how Decentro came to life.

Decentro is headquartered in Bangalore and came to life in 2020. It is a full-stack API banking platform where any company can come, select their desired modules, integrate into the sandbox, and launch a product with just a few lines of code, and in a couple of weeks! Not only that, but the platform also takes care of all fixes, iterations, and updates without breaking any flow.

With Decentro, businesses can save valuable man-months in integrating with legacy infrastructure & broken API documentation and focus on faster go-to-market strategies. Ultimately, our platform aims to enable experimentation and financial innovation at an unprecedented scale for fintech, enterprises as well as big marketplaces.

What are the unique key points of your company?

We aspire to be one of those infrastructure platforms that do our bit for the world! The ultimate beneficiaries will, of course, be the billions of consumers and millions of companies all around the country.

Some of our key USPs are:

Multi-bank infrastructure in the backend. Essentially, we integrate with multiple banking partners to enable smooth money flow and API connectivity, thus reducing the risk of a single point of failure both from a tech as well as a business perspective.

Vast and holistic product stack. We aim to cover the entire banking & financial journey from the end consumer’s or business’s perspective, using our APIs.

Unparalleled empathy and product quality. Empathy towards the developers of the companies, using these APIs, and focusing on the quality of our documentation as well as the entire product experience. A great example - Stripe vs. legacy payment gateways.

To what extent have you been able to penetrate the financial & banking sector?

We plan to leverage the different use cases that come to the fore by opening up our banking APIs and keep building on them to go deeper into our products. We also are looking at adding new categories of customers as the Indian market evolves.

A couple of our flagship products are enabling onboarding of their end customers, as well as seamless money collections and payouts for platforms, marketplaces, neo-banks, and startups, etc. Companies have to spend hours in payment reconciliation which drains time, demands efforts, and gives rise to inaccurate records.

Let me give you a brief overview of our key offerings:

● KYC & Onboarding Module

○ We enable any business to onboard consumers or SMEs seamlessly and in real-time, via multiple identity checkpoints such as PAN, Aadhaar, GSTIN, DL, Voter ID, and the likes.

● Accounts Module

○ With our virtual accounts and business banking, our customers can perform any banking operations on top of their existing bank accounts such as instant money transfers, real-time collections, and automated payment reconciliations.

● Payments Module

○ We enable businesses to collect payments easily or enable the same for their customers. This can be via a static/dynamic QR code or branded UPI payment links, as well as generating custom branded UPI IDs for all sellers, or merchants registered on the platform.

● Prepaid Cards Module

○ The module consists of white-labeled re-loadable cards that can be issued to employees, customers, or partners to track spends & monitor expenses. We realize the importance of branding & reinforcing trust with customers, thus offer fintech like neobanks and more to launch branded card offerings.

● Lending Module (Upcoming)

○ We are looking to embed finance in some of the key platforms serving SMEs, via invoice discounting as well as buy now pay later models

○ And also looking to enable consumer-facing companies to launch their credit verticals tightly coupled with their existing platforms or applications

What can be said about the financial sectors of India and the API integration strategy in the sector? According to you, what changes are required, and how Decentro is helping in solving this?

The banking ecosystem of India has seen unprecedented changes in terms of the availability of APIs in the last few years. Embedding banking services on SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) based accounting platforms is a good example of how the availability of these banking APIs is potentially benefiting the entire ecosystem.

India has taken some key steps in the right direction by partially standardizing and opening certain financial services (using UPI, account aggregators guidelines, India Stack, etc.); and with a vibrant fintech ecosystem, we are likely to witness a huge disruption led by open banking.

This availability of APIs is leading to the decoupling of products from distribution in a ‘marketplace’ model where we as customers can choose any non-banking entity as our front-end to perform financial functions, avail benefits, apply for instruments like credit/cards, etc.

How did the pandemic impact your business and the sector?

Interestingly, as a company, we took shape, were incubated by YCombinator, launched 3 major products, raised angel and seed capital, as well as grew by 40% month over month during the pandemic last year.

I believe the market is opening up much faster than people anticipated when it comes to banking APIs, both in terms of supply and demand. The banks realize that firstly, product and API delivery is not their forte at all, and secondly, it is just so hard for them to change their business processes to fast-track even a single customer.

The pandemic has made a few more things abundantly clear. One of them is that remote verification, digital money movement, on-demand financial services, and automated reconciliation as use cases are growing exponentially every day. Another one is that the integration of financial services and instruments inside an existing app or platform creates massive monetization opportunities for both sides.

Except for the downside of fewer people availing credit in 2020 due to loss of income and related reasons, the fintech sector and platform banking space itself have attracted huge tailwinds.

What are your future plans for growth in FY 2021-22

We plan on focusing on strengthening our partnerships with banks and are on track to increasing our existing customer base by 8X - 10X by the end of FY 2021 - 22 across our existing products.

Another key aspect is the launch of new products. One of the key products that we are launching is ‘embedded finance’ APIs for enabling credit workflows in a few high-growth categories. More details will be coming soon.

We are also looking at doubling our team strength during this financial year. While hiring, we consider their hunger, drive, proven contribution, analytical skills, and ability to tackle integration and service issues at a holistic level. Few of the principles that guide us as a team are-

1. Radical truth and honesty towards each other, even if it is uncomfortable.

2. Empathy towards our customers (companies) and walking in their shoes at all times.

3. Execute and manage your task as someone operating a machine, which means both zooming out at the high level as well as zooming in for attention to detail.

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