While at IIT-Bombay, Aniruddh Singh, Riyaz Khan, and Sagar Sheth lived in the same hostel wing. Like most college buddies, they often went on trips and routinely ordered food to their hostel rooms. Managing accounts and clearing bills as a group was challenging, and the trio often deliberated on this pain point.
After graduating from college and a few months of working, the friends started group payments app goDutch in 2019. Launched earlier this month, the goDutch app allows users to record, split, and automatically settle group transactions such as rent payments, travel, shopping, dine out, home delivery, etc.
The startup has raised $1.7 million funding led by Matrix Partners India with participation from Y Combinator, Global Founders Capital, Soma Capital, VentureSouq, and marquee angel investors such as Justin Mateen (Co-founder, Tinder), Kevin Lin (Co-founder, Twitch), Rohan Angrish (Head, ICICI Labs), and Sumon Sadhu.
With this funding, goDutch is targeting 50 million Indians across Tier I and I cities that make up $75 billion worth of group transactions annually.
Targeting a personal pain point
“As we graduated and started living with flatmates, we realised that most expenses were group expenses such as rent, furniture rental, food and grocery, OTT platforms, movies, concerts. Managing that wasn’t easy as we had to manually note down every expense and then wait for a lot of days before people eventually cleared the outstanding balance after multiple awkward reminders,” Co-founder and CEO Sagar says.
The trio believe group payments currently is a multi-step process for most users “with a high social barrier”. Many people who use available transaction tracking apps struggle to settle accounts and receivables often ramp up rapidly. goDutch aims to streamline and solve for this gap.
In a week of launch, the team saw over 1,000 downloads driven primarily by early adopters discovering them through social media and sharing.
Seamlessly settling expenses
Aniruddh Singh, Co-Founder and COO, goDutch, says “Our group experiences are affected by awkward hassles in settling expenses with our friends. We tackle this intricate social problem with one swipe of the goDutch card that gives our customers with a quick and effortless experience in these tricky situations.”
goDutch helps to seamlessly manage group expenses. It is loaded with features: create groups with friends, add expenses or bills with groups or individuals, chat with groups or individuals, edit or delete transactions, view and settle all outstanding balances, remind friends to pay you back, and pay your friends manually or initiate UPI payments using PhonePe, Google Pay, WhatsApp, BHIM, etc.
Other players in this space include Splitwise, a US-based company that only allows expense logging, and other traditional P2P payment apps such as Google Pay, PhonePe, etc.
Speaking about their differentiator, the team says there is no other group expense management app in India that addresses the social dynamics of group payments.
How you can goDutch?
Riyaz Khan, Co-Founder and CPO, goDutch, says, “People are using traditional payment apps designed for one-to-one payments for group payments. Given the frequency of shared transactions one has with friends, it’s time to look at this problem separately. That’s the idea behind the goDutch card through which friends can share payments in real time.”
The founders say their real innovation is in the “first-of-its-kind” goDutch card.
This virtual card, issued in partnership with CSB Bank, enables real-time splitting of group payments at any online or offline merchant. Users can get the free virtual card instantly by signing up on the app; the physical card is dispatched later.
The card lets you link your payment method (credit card or bank account), get your individual virtual goDutch card powered by CSB Bank and RuPay network, and transact on behalf of your groups at any online or offline merchant.
All group members automatically pay their own share in real time; no need to remind people to pay you back your money.
goDutch is a 10-member team at present. “We’re based out of Mumbai, but the entire team has been onboarded remotely,” Sagar explains.
Speaking on the recent funding, Rajat Agarwal, Director at Matrix Partners India, says that while many existing apps allow recording of group transactions, none of them enables seamless peer-to-peer settlements or real-time splitting.
“It’s a real pain point for young adults and, if solved well, the product has the potential to grow virally. We believe group payments can also be an exciting entry point to ultimately target group commerce and bring it online. We are thrilled to partner with the goDutch team as they reimagine this space and provide a truly 21st century experience,” Rajat says.