This Young Fintech Startup Finlok Helps Users Save Money By Leveraging Their Social Networks

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Team from top and L-R: Ashay, Shriram, Abhijit, Ashish, Tanuj, Nagesh, Sumit, Anushka, Atish

We all work hard day and night to earn for our livelihood, to have a better standard of living and live a peaceful & enjoyable life, but what about future? What about the time when we will not be able to work, what about some emergencies, what about the future of kids. In all these what abouts and emergencies our savings helps us. We all make savings to make our future secure and help us in tough times when we are not able to work and earn. 

Reasons why saving is important-

  • Emergencies– Life is full of surprises. If you don’t have a savings cushion, these surprises can quickly turn into emergencies that lead to additional debt and a vicious cycle of never getting ahead.
  • Dreams– If your dream retirement includes getting out and seeing the world, you’re not alone. We all want to travel and seize the benefits of getting away from it all during their golden years, but most are not saving enough to make these goals a reality. This also involves buying of setting things you always dreamed of like a luxury car, house.
  • Get Rich– If you ever want to start your own business or invest with some smart person who is starting their own business, you have to have some money saved to invest in yourself.
  • Happiness– A recent survey from a Bank found that saving money is one of the best habits people can take to increase happiness. Among those polled with savings accounts, 38 percent of people said they felt extremely or very happy. In comparison, only 29 percent of those without savings accounts felt the same way. Overall, 84 percent of people said saving money makes them feel good.

But many a times people face issues in savings like lower rate of interest, higher amount of investments, lockin-periods etc. Today we are presenting the exclusive interview of founders of Finlok. With Finlok a user can set a saving goal, select a pay-out period, invite friends and start saving as a group. An added benefit is that the Finlok saving model also ensures that most members of the group receive a lumpsum amount earlier than they would have done if saving alone. Lets see what this wonderful venture is doing and how are they helping people to secure their future. Lets go through the interview shared by the founders of the startup Finlok and know what they have to say about their venture.

1.What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?

Our product is called Finlok – short for Finance for Loktantra. We zeroed in on the name for two reasons –

  1. By nature the core product of group saving is a democratic financial tool

  2. We are focussed on solving the financial problem for the “aam aadmi”.

Atish Potdar and I (Tanuj Sinha) started this venture last year with the vision to build a financial platform that digitizes widely accepted and adopted financial models amongst masses starting with group saving.

2.Who is your target Audience/clients?

Our target user is the young adult just starting out in their career earning between ₹ 10,000 to ₹ 25,000 per month. Looking to start a saving discipline in order to secure their financial health.

3.Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & What are your geographical target areas?

We are based in Pune, Maharashtra, India. Being a digital product Finlok can be used anywhere in India as long as a user has an interest in saving money, an android phone and a bank account with one of the 60 banks on the BHIM-UPI platform.

4.What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?

Finlok helps users save money by leveraging their social networks. From a user’s perspective there are multiple options to save or invest money but all have constraints such as long lock-in period, risk to investment or need to invest a lumpsum. With Finlok a user can set a saving goal, select a pay-out period, invite friends and start saving as a group. An added benefit is that the Finlok saving model also ensures that most members of the group receive a lumpsum amount earlier than they would have done if saving alone.

Finlok is designed as a mobile first financial platform and we intend to roll out a number of services to help our user improve their financial health – starting with a short term credit offering linked to the user’s savings group that is currently in beta with a few select saving groups.

5.Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it came to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?

We noticed the youth around us continuing the same mistakes we made; not starting to save money early enough. When we interacted with youngsters starting out in their careers we understood the pain points around some of the financial tools available – inflexible, lock-in of funds, risk to investment etc. During the course of brainstorming sessions we zeroed in to the possibility of digitizing a financial model that we found to be prevalent across India (infact across the world in emerging markets). We found the model to have a – saving discipline, with benefits of early access to funds, flexibility in setting goals apart from being driven by one’s social network. This got us going to our startup journey.

6.Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?

The financial space is huge with multiple players, including startups. We however feel that in the Indian context the market niche we are after is huge and growing at a substantial rate for us all to operate. At Finlok we are differentiating with our strategy of digitizing widely accepted and adopted financial models amongst masses.

7.How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us something about your co-founder/s

In our previous corporate profile Atish and I were working with teams implementing path breaking technology and business models in the mobile financial space in the emerging markets across Africa, Latin America and South-east Asia. We had been discussing ideas of starting up for more than 2 years; and finally found Finlok to be an ideal platform to take the plunge.

8.How did you hire your first team members? What skills do you want in your employees/team?

Building a technology platform our first hires were all in technology. We were focussed on building a team that could not only deliver the required technology but also help us build the venture through the tough journey all startups endure. The key skill we look and will always look within the people we onboard is ownership/attitude – for work as well as the company.

9.What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?

Our focus in the next 2 years would be to take Finlok to 10m users across India. In the next 5 years we aim take Finlok to 100m users across India while increasing our platform capabilities.

10.Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?

Tanuj: Hopefully mentoring the next set of leaders to take Finlok to new heights.

Atish: I think fostering innovation is one of the key to take the Finlok into global map.

11.What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?

In the next 6 months our focus is building traction in Pune. We believe the right processes, product-market fit would be achieved by then and we would concentrate our energies towards scaling of the venture. Somewhere along the line a funding exercise would also be undertaken.

12.Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?

At present our venture is self funded; we do have plans to raise funding shortly.

13.What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?

Startups are all about learning on the job. As a team we face problems each day but at the end the desire and passion to build a venture carries the team forward.

14.What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?

Having right partners, getting early adapters, getting our first 500 users; hopefully it would get easier from here.

15.Are you married, single or in a relationship?

Tanuj is married to Swati and has a 4 year old daughter. Atish is married to Ketaki and has a 3 year old son.

16.What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?

Tanuj: Reading (not pursued enough), watching movies, cooking (when i get the time)

Atish: Web browsing, reading, watching documentaries, outing, swimming

17.What’s your favorite food & holiday destination?

Tanuj: Tasty food. Cape Town (lived in South Africa for nearly 8 years) no other place comes close to the beauty, vibe and culture of Cape Town.

Atish: Authentic seafood. I love travelling and have visited some amazing places across the world; to pick one would be difficult but if forced i would say Havelock Island in the Andamans.

18.Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?

Tanuj: Warren Buffett: His philosophy towards building wealth is par excellence. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk; for have successfully disrupted multiple and diverse segments – very intimidating but motivating.

Atish: What motivates me is wonderful thoughts and creativity.

19.What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

There is a wonderful quote – “If you don’t build your dreams someone will hire you to build yours”.

20.If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

Tanuj: Nothing 🙂

Atish: I believe in look forward.

21.How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?

Startups are very hard and there is no way that one can endure the stress without the support of one’s family. Depending on the stage of the startup journey the social life moves on a scale from suffers to falls away entirely.

22.Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?

For entrepreneurs: we feel your pain all the way!

For wannapreneurs: don’t sit on the fence for too long

For readers: Hope you like our story and help us spread it across 🙂

23.Tell us something about your education & family background.

Tanuj: BTech in Chemical Technology; father was in the private sector and took up challenging work across India and middle-east – as a result studied and lived in 6 different cities before graduation. Personal worklife involved even more travel to amazing places across Africa and South East Asia.

Atish: TOGAF certified Enterprise Architect, Advance Diploma in Software Application Development from Tata Infotech, BCom from Mumbai University. Brought up in decent family who alway provided support and believe in me.

24.What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains.

At Finlok we are differentiating with our strategy of digitizing widely accepted and adopted financial models amongst masses and scaling the platform to meet their needs as they “grow” in their careers.

25. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?

Stats show that 90% of startups fail in year 1; in the bulk of the cases the issues are co-founders having a fall-out. Our suggestion would be to pick the right co-founder(s) and when the going gets rough – talk/fight/discuss to find the best way forward.

26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?

Success can probably be best defined by a legacy; Finlok has just begun the journey.

27.Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person 

Tanuj Sinha, 7083001625, [email protected], www.finlok.com, Google Play App.

 

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