I was born and brought up in Ujjain, I pursued my Engineering from IIT Madras and graduated from their in 2010, I started my first company in 2009, IndiaKhelo – targeted to uncover grassroots level sports talent in India. I was very young back then and wasn’t ready for the challenges entrepreneurial life can throw, and we had to close down our company in 2010.
I then worked in a boutique analytics consulting firm “Inductis” for a period of a 1 year and 3 month before starting my another venture namely “Decision Point Pvt. Ltd.” In Jan’2012. This venture did very well and in 3 years we grew from a team of 2 people to 25 comprised of mainly IIT and IIM graduates.
I took a sabbatical from Decision Point around a year back to start working on FinoZen, which we recently launched in April’16. This time the dream is to revolutionize the way Indians save and invest their money.
What is FinoZen and when did I start?
Majority of India’s earning population aren’t regular investors. More often than not money lay idle in either Bank Accounts or got locked away in Fixed Deposits. FinoZen, is a simple and minimalist mobile app (currently available on Android), for one click investments. One has to simply choose the amount they want to invest (minimum as low as INR 100) and FinoZen channels it to pre-selected liquid funds. Users can invest and withdraw anytime, anywhere and watch their money grow daily at ~7.5-8.5% annual returns.
We started working on FinoZen in June 2015, it took us 10 months to develop the product and we launched officially in 1st week of April 2016.
What problem FinoZen solve?
Our banking and financial systems are flooded with various investment options and fraught with information asymmetry. Much as regulations try to keep consumers centre stage with various disclaimers mandated, at the end of the day investments whether long, medium or short term are anything but a smooth experience. Furthermore, consumers often end up investing only to realize much later that the growth is far lesser or the money is locked in for longer.
Finozen was launched to make the process of investing transparent, convenient and simple so that anyone and everyone can invest. We are working towards eradicating miss-selling of financial products and ensure a hassle-free and happy investing experience for everyone.
In its current avatar, Finozen aims to help users realize everyday growth on their savings – a far better option that letting money lie idle in savings accounts or locked up in Fixed Deposits.
What are key services we are providing which are differentiated from the rest?
Finozen allows users to invest and withdraw anytime, anywhere. All investments are channeled to pre-selected liquid funds earning returns to the tune of ~7.5 -8.5% – much higher than Savings account. There are no lock-in periods or penalties for withdrawal unlike Fixed Deposits. Further users can start investing with as low as INR 100 and watch their money grow everyday, literally! At any point, users can see their total investments, total gains, gains made today, growth rate and past transactions.
Following is a quick review on Finozen services vs. savings bank accounts
How did the idea develop?
We started developing a full-fledged online mutual fund platform, however one day while Varun was chatting with his parents about whether they will use the platform, he got a straight no! They said that they don’t understand mutual fund, having lost some money in mutual funds before they consider it to be very risky and hence chose to invest only in fixed deposits or gold!
This was an eye-opener for our entire team, while an online mutual fund platform would have served need of some set of users, however the larger set of population which is unaware of financial products and have been cheated in past by a financial advisor who mis-sold them a scheme with false promises will not use our platform in near future.
We realized that the problem lies in the unawareness and mistrust in mutual funds by general public, and hence we set out to eradicate this misconceptions by developing a very simple and convenient app where we give the functionality to a user to invest as low as Rs. 100 and see for himself while his money grows!
Who are our competitor?
There are some online mutual fund distributors like fundsindia and scripbox, however there is no exact product like ours in the market.
Business and Monetization Model?
As mutual fund distributors, mutual fund companies pay us a small commission for investments made through Finozen. This usually is in the range of 0.05% per annum i.e. for every Rs. 10K which is invested through FinoZen for a year, we earn Rs. 5.
Mission and Vision of FinoZen?
FinoZen aims to be one-stop shop for all investment needs of Indians by 2021. We will continue to keep our platform non-complicated and jargon free, and will keep coming up with simple investment products for people to invest in, for ex: tax saving etc.
What is Target audience?
We are currently focusing on young (0-5 yrs.) professionals and students – as this set of people are early adapters and can quickly appreciate the value we are providing with our platform. Students are also quickly adopting to our application because they are currently interning and earning stipend and through FinoZen they can save as low as Rs. 100!
We are approaching companies and colleges, tell them about the benefits of saving money through FinoZen vs. keeping it in bank accounts and they happily promote us to their employees or students.
Who is your Role models?
Mr. Dhirubhai Ambani for his tenacity and Mr. Steve Jobs for his vision.
Current Funding Status?
We are currently bootstrapped and have invested close to Rs. 40 Lacs of our own money in FinoZen, we are now in the process of raising an angel/seed round for Rs. 1.3 Cr.