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The Chillr Story - Evolution of a startup from Telecom to FinTech


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Evolution of a startup from Telecom to FinTech

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The Chillr Story - Evolution of a startup from Telecom to FinTech

  1. 1. The Chillr story Simplifying Money
  2. 2. 2003-2007, College of Engineering, Trivandrum 2nd year - Bored of Electronics! Pocket money selling t-shirts, fireworks, books, mobile phones 2005: Sold 14k SIMs across 65+ B.Tech colleges in Kerala for BPL Mobile in 3 months. Zero marketing cost, pure viral, >10L in profits! After 3 months of partying figured that building a business is more ‘scalable’ fun! Bit by the entrepreneurial bug! $
  3. 3. 2006-2011 Co-founded MOBME with Sanjay & Vivek when starting up was not fashionable. Raised 250k USD angel investment while in 3rd year of Engineering. USSD/SMSC/Voice Solutions, VAS, M-Governance MOBME Kerala’s 1st student startup! Clients: BPL >> Hutch >> Vodafone; Airtel + Aircel :: Ops in 20+ circles 5 years, 200 people company, 5M USD topline
  4. 4. 2006-2011 Witnessed 90M to 900M mobile subscriber growth first hand :: SCALE What mobile customers want & what they don’t :: UX Working with large enterprises, governments & regulators :: EXPERIENCE Income > Expense :: PROFITS No interoperability, No network effect :: WALLED GARDENS Everything gets white-labeled :: BRAND Vendors not treated as partners :: ATTITUDE The GOOD, the BAD & the Ugly
  5. 5. Carrier billing was a bad idea! Customers had lost trust due to force billing & other unethical practices Telco wallets weren’t suited for India We are not Kenya, we have RBI & government won’t let a parallel economy to exist Regulatory environment is pro-banks You want to do banking? Get a banking license! Telcos hate the phrase ‘dumb-pipe’, but! Multiple telcos agreeing on one model & helping it grow, not happening! They couldn’t envision beyond wap portals & wallpapers @ Rs 10 Digital money, the pending dream!
  6. 6. Rules of the game changed, tables turned! Voice/SMS revenue impact on telcos Margin pressure on vendors WAP portals died, apps bypassed telcos Network effect & interoperability App Stores are BIG! 2012 - Smartphones going mainstream
  7. 7. 2006-2011 Focused on Banks as alternate source of revenue Did a bunch of projects for banks around mobile banking Won them a few awards, learned the basics Bumped into IMPS, NPCI. Beautiful platform, but no uniform frontend Banks had almost written off IMPS due to MMID Turning Point
  8. 8. We got the idea of Chillr for the 1st time in mid 2013 Took it to NPCI Send money to anyone in your phonebook without having to know account number, IFSC code, MMID or even which bank they bank with. They said NO, since they are a bank facing organization and not a consumer facing one Advised us to do it on our own by partnering with banks Chillr could have ended up being a software service project if not for that answer! NPCI was planning to revamp the IMPS layer to make it ready for the app world (UPI v0.1) The million dollar question!
  9. 9. November 2013 Randomly pitched the idea to an Italian bank & they loved the idea Advised to spin off the product into a separate company Expressed interest to invest if we could go live with a couple of banks B2B2C again; then telcos, now banks Industry veterans said No bank will let you create your own brand They will ask for ‘white-labelled’ solution Multiple banks on one common 3rd party platform is impossible You will need approval from RBI
  10. 10. Dec’13 - Feb’14 5 people team from within MOBME starts working exclusively on the idea Chillar, Chillara, Chillarai & its variants in 7 Indian languages inspired the name ‘Chillr’ 1st prototype ready in 3 months with SMS backend bounced off with friendly banks Quick iterations based on feedback Eat, Sleep, Code, Repeat
  11. 11. Pitched to half a dozen small banks Assumed them to be nimbler and more risk taking Figured that’s not necessarily true When rubber meets the road! Pitched to half a dozen medium to large sized banks +ve responses in 90% cases, but no definitive yes Most banks asked for ‘exclusivity’ / ‘white-labeling Higher focus on digital Huge brand value & large tech savvy audience
  12. 12. USP - Instant fund transfers directly from your bank account, no more loading money into wallets! HDFC Bank was the 14th to listen to our pitch Signed agreement in September, launch planned for December July 2014 Good response from employees and customers MD’s mail goes out to bigger audience, 40k downloads in under a week Launch email went out in 1st week of February Letter from RBI with go-ahead; Registered Backwater Technologies (P) Ltd December 2014 Breakthrough
  13. 13. From 2 day long on-boarding process to under 5 minutes Adding use cases: Mobile Recharges, Remittance Improving experience Getting the second bank was as tough as getting the first Fund raising In hindsight, going live was the easier part Bank of Baroda came in 2nd Andhra Bank, CSB, PMC, Bharat, Federal etc came in later Time to expand operations, MOBME had commitments to other business units too Got 6M USD term sheet from Sequoia in July 2015 when at 2k txn/day Raised a total of 7.5M USD with Blume, Uniqorn & Kunal Shah (Founder, Freecharge)
  14. 14. The Silk Route to tipping point Early Adopters: Salaried employees in the 22-35 age group having smartphones Where: Corporate campuses with good density of partner bank customers Incentives: Tried everything from Flipkart/Ola/PizzaHut vouchers to cash backs Failure: Nothing had the pull or the virality we expected Learning: People wanted instant gratification What worked: Dairy Milk Silk 100,000+ users activated in just a few months
  15. 15. The Silk Route to tipping point
  16. 16. The beginning! Now Rs 1400/user/month <2 txn/user/month >80% traffic from major metros 100 Cr worth transactions processed in all of 2015 20+ sessions/user/month Rs ~9500/user/month (~7x) ~7 txn/user/month Multiple hundreds of crores / month 60% customer acquisition via Referral Dozen plus direct bank partnerships 30+ banks to go live with UPI integration <50% volume from top 8 cities 4.4 rating on Play Store, ‘Best of 2015’ Recognition by Apple App Store
  17. 17. It’s just the tip of the iceberg By 2020, 350M+ people are likely to experience Opportunity : Reimagine Banking! Credit Savings Mobile Banking Insurance Investments Wealth Management
  18. 18. Data >> >90% of Chillr users are salaried ~40% of them go below threshold balance by ~20th of the month 20th to 23rd - we observe a small spike in P2P transactions 1st week of next month, almost same amounts were going back
  19. 19. Pattern >> Opportunity Informal P2P interest-free lending 1 Payback mostly in <15 days 2 It’s a bridge loan, with salary around the corner 3 Paying a fee is better than the awkwardness! 4
  20. 20. Ultra short term Unsecured Micro loans 100% digital process Coming soon: Chillr Credit
  21. 21. We love BANDRA Bandra (W) is the most happening place in Mumbai & we got a lovely office It’s in the midst of all the fun hangout/dine-in/party places, close to airport, middle of South Mumbai & Malad But Bandra is expensive, especially apartments Long commute = High stress, low productivity, less working hours We started Bandra Allowance for everyone, to stay within 15 min from office Now for majority of the team members, office is walkable distance!
  22. 22. Work hard, party harder! Options Purchase Scheme for everyone in the team. Weekly townhalls to update progress & sync up on goals ahead. Chillr Thursdays - Internal TEDx like talks every week! Work Culture, Equity, Townhalls et al Just decide what portion of salary should be in cash & how much in equity
  23. 23. Happy team, happy users!
  24. 24. Happy users, happy you! :)
  25. 25. Core Team Sony CEO & Co-founder Anoop CTO & co-founder Galib CPO & Co-founder Lishoy CGO & Co-founder
  26. 26. Talk to us! @sonyjoy @mychillr @mychillr