Ever Considered Buying Money Online?
We speak to CEO of CurrencyKart, a fintech startup managing forex payments. He says since Feb, 2016 they have done 80Cr worth of exchanging while being very candid about the related challenges.
Very few of us would be comfortable buying currency online. Money is a serious business and we are just not comfortable buying currency online then waiting for the currency you bought to be delivered to you. CurrencyKart has decided to be an online forex portal amidst a sticky situations like this. But you will also be surprised at how fast people are adopting online forex buying.
Here’s what Shubham Aggarwal, Cofounder and CEO of CurrencyKart says about their venture.
What is CurrencyKart? Why did you decide to start this venture?
CurrencyKart.com is an online aggregator which connects RBI approved dealers and international travellers who wish to buy forex and similar products. We also deliver your order to you at no extra cost.
It was around 2012 that the CurrencyKart founders identified the problems faced by the industry. There are times when travellers are unaware of how forex markets operate and they get into trouble while sourcing the foreign currencies.
We encourage dealers to join our platform and help the customers to get the best prices and services through our medium. We require our dealers to update their rates regularly for each of their forex related product such as currencies, travel cards and wire transfers. This way dealers can reach their target customer base while customers get to choose from a variety of products from a range of dealers and compare each dealer’s rates from the convenience of one’s home.
We launched operations in February, 2016. We are five cofounders:
1. Gurpreet Singh Narang, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, CurrencyKart
2. Deepak Tomar, Co-Founder & Technical Head, CurrencyKart
3. Nishima Aggarwal, Co-Founder & Chief Progressive Officer, CurrencyKart
4. Neha Gupta, Co-Founder & Chief Experience Officer, CurrencyKart
5. I, Shubham Aggarwal, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, CurrencyKart.
Share with us what’s special about this venture and how it’s different from its competitors?
The model of CurrencyKart is specifically designed keeping in mind the various laws and limitations imposed by the RBI for dealing in forex products. CurrencyKart is not just a lead model but also a complete solution where the complete process of billing and KYC collection takes place in accordance with laws without any external intervention. Yes, we have competitors in the market but the mode we provide is quite different from others.
How did you manage to fund this idea?
All the cofounders of the company have put their personal investments in this company as capital.
What are/what will be your monetization paths?
As far as monetisation is concerned, there are 4 different verticals:
- CurrencyKart keeps a mark up on rates which are entered by vendors and then displayed on our portal
- CurrencyKart earns revenue from advertisements on mobile website and mobile app
- CurrencyKart earns revenue from generating lead in non hub cities, i.e tier 2 and tier 3 cities
- CurrencyKart also makes profit by providing money transfer services or sending money abroad for various purpose listed by RBI
Tell us how the business has grown so far
Since launch of operations our customer base has grown vastly and our dealer network is growing daily. As of today, we have 150+ dealers and have sold over or equivalent to INR 80Cr of foreign currency.
What marketing strategies and plans are in place to grow the business?
We plan to open 6-7 branches in major cities of India, which have international airports, as well as put a small facilitation centre across all international airports for better and timely delivery to cater to 80% of international passenger traffic pan India.
As far as marketing is concerned, we have already started our SMO, PPC campaigns, PR and other activities like brochures, flyers, bulk e-mails, bulk SMS, etc. Also, we plan to launch a nationwide campaign for marketing like outdoor media, print media (newspapers, magazines) and airport kiosk on international airports after being funded in the future.
What is the market size and opportunity?
The international travel market is expanding at a healthy rate according to the data by AAI. International flights from Indira Gandhi Airport’s terminal 3 are more than 15 million and growing by 8%, so there is a significant growth opportunity in this sector.
If we factor all the international airports of India then the number of international flights increases rapidly. A majority of these travellers face a major problem in obtaining foreign currency and those who do buy currency must buy from big companies and end up paying higher margins.
[This leaves a gap in the market which online forex aggregators can capitalize on with competitive rates.]
Any challenges faced while setting up? Anything unique to your situation?
Yes, we did face many challenges while setting up and are still facing challenges. The unique one is shifting the customers from a grey market to a white market.
CurrencyKart is an online integrated market place for forex in India. Our target audience is still amateur and not used to buying currency and its related products online. 80% of the users still prefer buying currency in cash as they have been misled by a few foreign exchange dealers. Such dealers for their own monetary and accounting benefits push the customers to buy currency in cash irrespective of the risk they put their customers in.
Activating the vendors and convincing them to keep their prices updated and honouring the deal was another big challenge faced by us. This was because most of the vendors didn’t believe that they could actually get business like this from an online portal.
Delivery was and always will be challenging. We have a highly specialized team of delivery professionals who have experience in handling forex as it is not like delivering a food or grocery. So we always keep updating our delivery team and finding new resources for the same.
Hiring management staff was again a challenge since they were required to have experience in forex transactions.
Share with us some best and worst memories while running the business.
Best memory - We had a tie up with one of the most prestigious organizations in the travel industry, unfortunately we cannot name the organization due to our professional commitments.
Worst memory - Nothing specific by God’s grace. But yes in the early days we faced technical glitches with the website while working on developing a better user interface.
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