Fisdom- Make Your Money Work For You!

Subramanya S V, Co-Founder, Fisdom talks to BW Disrupt about the features of Fisdom, challenges faced and how business owners/ working class can manage their long-term financial goals

Fisdom is a technology solution that helps customers become investors easily, along with giving them customized advice, investment options based on goals, transaction in a completely digital and paperless manner and above all helps them to manage the portfolio in an active manner. Subramanya S V, Co-Founder, Fisdom talks to BW Disrupt about the features of Fisdom, challenges faced and how business owners/ working class can manage their long-term financial goals:

Q- Tell us everything about Fisdom and its offerings?

A-   Three of us started Fisdom in May 2015 with the objective of solving the difficulty and complexity that an average financially non-savvy customer faces in investing her hard earned money. We saw so many people around us earning money, but letting that it lie idle in the savings bank for a variety of reasons like inertia, lack of awareness, risk aversion, lack of knowledge on where to invest. People don’t realize that money loses value in a savings account. Even when someone wants to invest, there is too much work before one can invest like completing KYC.

So we decided to build a technology solution that solves most of these problems and helps customers become investors easily, get customized advice, invest based on goals, transactions in a completely digital and paperless manner and also manage the portfolio in an active manner. Today, using our app, a customer can:

 a) Complete his KYC in less than 5 minutes

 b) Invest in a variety of use cases

 c) Track the portfolio.

There are no jargons in the app, nor there are any complicated questionnaires before starting to use the app. Right now all types of mutual funds are available, but we are going to be adding a lot more financial products soon. The founding team comes with exemplary work experience. I was a venture capitalist at Bessemer Venture Partners where I led the firm's investments in internet and technology in India. I invested and was a director on the boards of Snapdeal, TaxiForSure, Bharatmatrimony and many others. Ramganesh Iyer worked at BCG and Bain as a consultant and was an earlier cofounder of a wealth management company that was acquired by Karvy. Anand is a successful investment banker having worked at UBS, Macquarie and Avendus. Now we are a 20 people company with offices in Bangalore and Mumbai. We have raised our seed funding from a bunch of high quality investors.

Q- How important have money management apps become over the years?

A-   Money management apps are a recent phenomenon. Consumers first took up apps for other purposes like commerce, travel, transportation. As they got comfortable with using apps for other activities, consumers are now happy to use apps for managing money as well. Nearly 95% of Fisdom's customers are doing business with us through the mobile apps while the rest through our web app. From the point of view of the service provider like us, mobile app channel lets us target the customer better, deliver a better customer experience. One can leverage the mobile camera, location data, SMS data, social profile, etc. to deliver superior customer experience.

Q- Banking is undergoing change and digital initiatives are set to gather speed- What are your views on the same?

A-   It is imperative for banks to embrace digital initiatives. Some banks are doing on their own; but many banks will take a partnership approach rather than "do it all myself" approach; that is great news for startups like Fisdom. 

Q- There is an untapped population for consumption of services and products. What are your target segments and how do you reach for them?

A-   Our target population is people who earn between Rs. 5-50 lacs. This segment is the upwardly mobile population that has the capacity to buy goods/services and also invest surplus money, but advice for investing is not easily available and when available, it is expensive. Fisdom app makes it easy for people to understand the benefits of investing, become investors, get advice, transactions and track their money. Since it is a digital service, Fisdom overcomes the geographical barrier as well. We have been reaching customers through digital channels (like Facebook and google) and corporate channels where we are partnering with companies to be the preferred wealth management providers for their employees.

Q- What were the initial challenges and how did you overcome them?

A-   As a startup, it is difficult to hire high quality people due to the risks involved in the company. We used our network and background to convince potential recruits to join us.  

Q- Growing a business is hard. What has helped Fisdom in becoming profitable over time?

A-   We are not profitable yet! But growing at a rapid pace. Although we are B2C company, we were quite clear from our early days that we would take a B2B2C approach towards acquiring customers. We have used the corporate route to reach out to the customers; we are also looking to partner with banks for their wealth management efforts, of course, we continue to build our own brand organically as well.

Q- What will be your advice for startup founders with a corporate finance background?

A-   Well, building a company is not as rosy as it looks on a spreadsheet or a power point presentation, but it is a lot of fun. If you think you have an idea that has a large market potential and you are excited about it, do jump in and give a chance to yourself. Remember, the ideas don't create valuable companies; it’s the execution that matters. 

Q- As a consultant, how should the business owners/ working class manage their long-term financial goals?

A-   At Fisdom, we conduct workshops on financial well-being through our corporate channel. We call it - "3 rules of successful financial life" which are:

a) Lead an appropriate life

b) Plan for contingencies

c) Beat inflation.

Rule 1 essentially asks people to track expenses, avoid consumption loans and save a certain % of money every month. Rule 2 advises people to take a term insurance for the earning members of the family and medical insurance for the entire family. Rule 3 suggests that customers should invest money into long term assets that deliver more returns than inflation and hence result in growth in value. So just follow these "3 rules of successful financial life"! 

Q- You recently got seed funding. How are the funds being used?

A-   We raised our seed funding during early 2016. So far we have invested the money raised in enhancing our technology and operations team and some towards marketing.

Q- We would love to know about that one app that you found particularly useful and why?

Uber - Uber is a great app that re-imagined an existing need and delivered a game changing experience for both the suppliers and customers. 

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