On this week’s entry in the Challenger series, Vedanarayanan Vedantham, SME & Startup Business Head of Razorpay gave us a rundown of the Fintech space in India.
Please tell us a bit about your background and how you ended up in Fintech?
I started off in tech, then financial services consulting, then in product management at PayPal which was my first dalliance with Fintech more than a decade ago. Then got bitten by the startup bug and after a variety of marketing leadership roles in travel tech, edutech, health-tech, teaching and independent brand consulting, am back home now in Fintech.
What made you take a job in Fintech after working in a variety of different sectors within Tech?
I think the next wave of innovation in India will be in Fintech and digital payments. As I mentioned earlier, during my first dalliance with Fintech, we were possibly too early in the market back then. But the time for Fintech in India is NOW!
You have held a variety of Business Development and marketing roles in top companies across India and the world, has there been a difference in the way you approach the role when working in Fintech?
Lot of similarities, but the one key difference is that given you are dealing with money, so the creatives licenses you take in marketing communications need to be toned down.
You currently work at RazorPay, it would be great if you can tell us what your day consists of and some lessons you've learnt already?
My day consists of 2 major chunks – Data & People. Looking at, working with data to arrive at insights and working with people to manage expectations, drive execution, increase motivation and remove bottlenecks.
How would you say the evolution of the Indian Fintech market is different to the broader developed world?
There is still a lot of grey around topics like Neo Banking which is better understood and regulated in the developed market. Crypto, again, is a huge opportunity area but in India, we are treading with caution. Having said that, we have come a long way compared to where we were 5 years ago. Paraphrasing a famous Rajinikanth line – “We might have come late, but have come latest!”
What are your views on Open Banking and open finance in general? Anything specific to India?
The success of UPI and the growth of applications like Google Pay & PhonePe in India show the potential for Open Banking and the need for decentralizing banking. Open Finance however is a different animal, while there has been huge growth of several 3rd party lending applications, the problems in India around some of these lending providers especially in light of recent economic downturns means that this might still take a few more years to evolve.
What sectors of Fintech are you most excited for in 2021 and beyond? Any local companies / emerging gems that really stand out to you?
Neo Banking is a very exciting space and there are enough companies including Razorpay that are looking to inflect this space. Fampay is another interesting one to watch out for as they try and build a NeoBank for teenagers.
Any parting words of advice for any aspiring Fintech entrepreneur out there?
- 1) Understand your customer segment
- 2) Solve for necessities, NOT for luxuries
- 3) Validate PMF
- 4) Scale
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Have a great week and stay safe!
The Banq team