The Success Mantra for Start-Ups: Great Lakes Guest Lecture Series

The Success Mantra for Start-Ups: Great Lakes Guest Lecture Series

GREAT LAKES GUEST LECTURE SERIES – Mr DEEPAK GOEL

CEO – KARMACIRCLES

“Do. Or Do Not. There is no try” – Yoda, Jedi Master

Understanding of the above quote is an important pre-requisite for an entrepreneur to be successful. The path of Entrepreneurship is the one that is filled with utmost uncertainties that one can face compared to the other naturally progressing career options.

Being an aspiring entrepreneur, Great Lakes, offered me ample opportunities to interact and learn directly from the masters of this trade. As the campus is located in the corporate hub of the country, Great Lakes, Gurgaon enables extensive industry engagement with entrepreneurs, CXOs and industry experts as they visit the campus regularly to share their perspectives with the future business leaders of the nation. That’s how our batch (PGDM 2017-19) got to meet Mr Deepak Goel, CEO & Founder Karmacircles.

Mr Deepak Goel’s Guest Lecture at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon was a compilation of his life and thought processes that aimed at providing the students with a more Entrepreneurial viewpoint of life rather than just living in terms of pay packages. An IIT-Delhi educated techie who went on to live the “American Dream” with his job at Microsoft to pursuing his MBA at UC, Berkeley to working at multiple companies from scratch with an entrepreneurial spirit and making them grow to where they are today, he has worn multiple hats because of his multi-faceted skill sets. This is what differentiates him from the other bunch of entrepreneurs, at least in the Indian context. He truly learnt the art of Entrepreneurship in and out, theoretically and practically to be able to follow his life calling of creating Karmacircles.

The lecture was a mix of Startup Organizational Culture, Valuation of Startups, General Principles of Success and quite an insightful bunch of advice to the multiple questions asked by the Students.

At the start of the lecture, he laid a very simple formula for a successful startup involving just four steps. (1) Identify the problem you want to solve, (2) Solve the problem, (3) Monetize the Solution created and then (4) go for more money to scale up the solution. A rather simple algorithm which in reality is really difficult to follow as even developing/handling that one simple product/solution is quite complex. This is what calls for the Product Management Concept. Explaining his understanding and experiences in Product Management, he expressed dissatisfaction of how Product Management is done or pursued by organizations in India as it still remains to be a highly misunderstood concept in the country. Being a seasoned professional in the field, he emphasized how the concept can help in building successful products within a company, going on to creating multiple successful companies within a big company, like Google. Working at Microsoft, he knew much more about Google and its processes than Microsoft which earned him the name of “The Google Guy.” He then shared some insights as to how Google managed its Product Line and has grown from a Search Engine to the huge yet entrepreneurial tech-conglomerate it is today.

He then went on to share his learning experiences under the guidance of Eric Ries of the Lean Startup fame and even Eric Ries’ Guru Steve Blank. The two major concepts he learnt were The Value Hypothesis and Growth Hypothesis. When these philosophies are incorporated in a company in its ideation phase, it significantly enhances its probability of achieving long-term success, thereby, ensuring value and growth creation.

Explaining Value Hypothesis, Mr. Goel talked in detail how companies can create value. Not just in monetary terms, but value that customers can relate to. But for doing so, the companies must have an eagle eye vision of the solution of the problem that they set out to tackle. Giving real examples from the start-up and corporate world, he differentiated how certain companies create value straight away to companies that create value over time.

Constantly comparing his Valley experience to his Indian experience, he stated that Indian start-ups and new-age companies mainly focus only on creating monetary value but not the intangible value and many of those companies go on to create initial momentum, to a great extent monetize it, but keep pushing their goalposts for the value creation. One of the main questions he raised during the lecture was whether these companies will be able to continue the momentum once the cash inflow slows down.

Explaining Growth Hypothesis, he talked about continuously doing what you do best and create personal and home-ground advantage in areas as such to create a true product that can grow sustainably over time.

Commenting on the Indian attitude of approaching jobs, he shared his story further and explained how he took several pay cuts in order to expand his learning curve, something he finds lacking in the Indian scenario. Linking the topic, he shared the factors one should consider while taking up a new job and said that the person you are going to work for, is the most important factor. Not being completely driven by package but rather through the group one is going to work with and the learning outcome one has out of the job as other major factors. He advised students to be ethical and act professionally when it comes to working in organizations.

In the last few minutes of the lecture, he gave a brief glimpse of his passions which include, Social Networks, Mentoring, and creating valuable products that solve problems. Being an aspiring entrepreneur myself, I found this session to be the most illuminating.

Such interactions with industry stalwarts prepare the students for the challenges of the business world and Great Lakes gives utmost importance to these guest lectures as they are the most crucial ingredient for developing business ready managers. The importance of these interactions is evident with the fact that 150 plus industry leaders, entrepreneurs and CXOs have visited Great Lakes last year and shared their valuable insights with the students to prepare them for what’s to come.

Author: S SnehanshN

PGDM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

Advertisements
Droom B-Plan: Great Lakes, Gurgaon, Students grab the 1st Runner-Up Spot

Droom B-Plan: Great Lakes, Gurgaon, Students grab the 1st Runner-Up Spot

Droom is recognised as India’s first and only online market place for buying and selling new and used automobiles. The founder, Sandeep Aggarwal, a strong believer and implementer of his own mantra, “Companies may fail, but entrepreneurs never fail”, is one of the mentors in what is itself is India’s first startup reality show, ‘MTV Dropout’.

Great Lakes, Gurgaon, Students – Rupali Jain, Tejveer Singh Kalsi & Tushar Singh grabbed the 1st Runner-up spot at the prestigious national level B-Plan competition organized by Droom.

We met with the team to know more about their overall experience

Q. What exactly is the Droom B-Plan Competition? 

The basic idea of Droom B-Plan Competition is that the participants are required to come up with the ideas regarding the expansion of Droom in C2C market and submit a Business Plan for the same.

Q. What was the Business Plan your team came up with?

As per the problem statement, we were supposed to carry out a market research that comprised of three components i.e. competitor, product and consumer research. Based on the market potential that was analysed, we came up with a disruptive Go-to-market strategy that would help Droom in garnering maximum market share in C2C space.

Q. How tough would you describe this competition?

This competition expected to recognize the brightest business minds across the country by assessing them on their strategic response to real business situations experienced by Droom. It was open for all and saw an overwhelming participation from a huge number of colleges and corporates including IITs and IIMs of the country.

Q. How would you describe the overall experience of your outstanding performance on this platform? 

It was an immensely enriching experience for us to have been part of such an event which not only helped us in putting all the learnings acquired from GLIM into practical implementation but also provided us with credible wings so that we can fly in the direction we coveted the most. Moreover, the honour of being associated with one of the stalwarts of the business world is in itself a feeling that is hard to depict in words.

 

Random B-School Musings

Random B-School Musings

Even as term 4 for PGPM 2018 is underway, it seems like yesterday when I entered the campus of Great lakes institute of management, Gurgaon. I think it will be fair for me to say that by now our learning curve has grown exponentially (I was actually looking for an even more superlative word) for having studied twenty two courses in these four and a half months. In the aftermath, however, we have sixteen ‘not so frequently opened’ yet bulky pillow sized books for our perusal (I honestly don’t know when and how these will actually be used.)

But as I recount the seemingly short experience here, I struggle to describe how awesome this journey is panning out to be. I am unable to elucidate that feeling where, on a Friday night – 11:53 PM to be exact – you are still in the Academic block and ceaselessly trying not to miss the midnight deadline for a class group project and at the same time keeping your subconscious mind alert about the pre-reads you have for next day’s schedule that has an early morning lecture on Statistical methods for decision making and Financial accounting.

TGIF? Nah, not for a B-schools student. (Now I know why corporates crave for Fridays)

But all this seems lame and off-centre without the most important ingredient in this recipe for what I call the ‘B-school Khichdi’ – “The almost ready future Manager”.  Yes, the My B-school herd has been the most entertaining and the most Heteroscedastic (Prof. Bharadwaj, please forgive me for the usage) bunch of individuals. Ok, a quick recap – Heteroscedasticity refers to the circumstance in which the variability of a variable is unequal across the range of values of a second variable that predicts it. Thank me later.

These people have made life interesting and I would be irreverent if I don’t mention the kind of people I have encountered here. So, in no particular order, let me first introduce you to:

  • The Future CEO. No, the batch’s current CEO. PGPM batch of 2018 knows who that is. This person is extremely good at everything without being the best at anything. We all know the phrase – “Jack of all trades and Mas…” (Just kidding. Or am I?) Talking of class participation, this person speaks regularly and intelligently in class without ever saying anything remotely controversial. Diplomacy is the word!
  • Ok sorry. I am getting ahead of myself – In economic theory, and also in lay man’s opinion, there is a notion that whatever goods and services are provided, they must be paid for by someone – that is, you don’t get something for nothing. As Prof. Himadri would say, “There ain’t no such thing as free lunch”. Or as I abbreviate it, Tanstafl.
    But we sure have “Free- wait for it-loaders”. These are the clever ones. They know the knack of delegating responsibility without giving the slightest notion that part of the onus is on them too. But we all sure have a lot of things to learn.
  • Moving on, we have the ‘Friend-setters’ who have continued their trendsetting attitude of being jovial and cordial with everyone. But there are also people from the exact bipolar end.
  • The Solitary Reaper – No, that is too optimistic a phrase for this person who thinks the world is an illusion and human interaction is a mystery. William Wordsworth would never want me to tag such a person with his beautifully written metaphor of a nightingale. The lone wolf would be a suitable phrase, yes. But who knows. Although termed aloof, they are the fiercest of friends and they have their own little world. They are focussed with full intent on one goal. Ok, too much philosophy. Apologies.

By the way, this ‘One goal’ theory brings me to the most important subject of discussion that any B-school has to offer – Placements.

Needless to say, even as I am drafting this, the Pre-Placement preparation scenario is in full swing and it never ceases to give jitters as soon as a JD from a firm that is offering jobs is released. But the most dominant part of this preparation has to be the “Group discussion” prep and it is hilarious at times.

I hope the PlaceComm doesn’t throw me as an outcast when I talk about the observations I have made in these sessions. The observations are actually on the participants. So I think I am safe.

Every group discussion (I’ve observed) has these. And I am one among them (so much for modesty). Here’s a broad categorization of the four typical characters I have encountered in GDs so far:

  • The “Know it all” sort – The genuinely, just, ridiculously smart person of the batch who often brings up unusual and weird (yet relevant) opinions on the table during a discussion. This person sure has a way of getting noticed, for the right reasons. Sadly, all we can do is look up to him/her.
  • The “I agree with you” sort – Always finishes the other person’s sentences and adds the aforementioned phrase. Seldom has unique points but vehemently participates nonetheless.
  • The “Search engine optimist” – This person has gone through that One link on the internet (Invariably the first link that pops up on a basic google search. No matter how remotely irrelevant the current topic of discussion is, this genius will try to bring in some fact or figure from that One link
  • The “Silencer” – The loudest noise this person makes is from his pen when he is scribbling stuff during the initial two minutes that are given to gather ones thoughts. This person has all the right points to discuss, but fails to bring them out in speech. Definitely noticeable when the group discussion is a fish market.

There are innumerable memories that are etched on our minds since the past four and a half months and I am sure a lot more is in store for us as we head on to the placement season with vigour and zeal.

Godspeed!

Author: Samuel Johnson

PGPM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

The Rise & Fall of Nirma

“Washing powder Nirma, Washing Powder Nirma”, this jingle can make every 90s kid go down the nostalgia lane. Nirma, an FMCG company, once a successful brand and a strong rival of Hindustan Lever limited (Currently named as Hindustan Unilever (HUL)), still maintains a strong brand image in the minds of Indian consumers. But despite its formidable market presence between 1970 and 2000, it is now in the declining stage of its product life cycle.

Nirma was born when a chemist (Mr. Patel from Gujarat) manufactured a phosphate free detergent and started selling it locally. It was the time when the Pioneer of Detergents, Surf (a product of HUL) priced its product at Rs.15 per Kg. As Nirma was priced at Rs.3.5 per kg, it rapidly became popular in the rural market and acquired the status of a beloved “Low-cost value-for-money” household detergent in the minds of the consumers.

In the 90s, the popularity of the brand made it attain 15% of market share in India while Surf was the undisputed champion of detergents with 65% market share and targeted premium segment. Nirma, despite being a household name for detergents, started manufacturing beauty soaps and widened its portfolio by introducing salt, soda ash, and scouring products.

The Unbranded competition

It spent only 3-4% of revenue for Marketing communications (Advertisement campaigns) while other companies spent 6-8% on advertising. Nirma followed the same campaign throughout the years and it started advertising its beauty soaps with Sonali Bendre, who was not very popular at that time. These were the classic times in marketing when your brand ambassador would reflect on your brand image.

Nirma gained a market share of 38% in the year 2000, beating Hindustan Unilever’s product Surf, the share of which got reduced to 31 per cent.

Nirma started widening its portfolio again by introducing hair care product line such as Shika kai shampoos and tooth pastes. The company followed the same strategy of “low cost, value for money”.

The Fall Season

Nirma, despite being a 17 billion company started losing its market share to the unbranded competitive rivals. It failed to retain the interest of the consumers as low-cost products would not work anymore since customers started perceiving such products as cheap.  They slowly tried to introduce Nirma blue and Nirma cake but could not differentiate the product and its positioning.

Unfortunately, the growing income level of Indian consumers made them perceive Nirma as an inferior brand. While other brands went viral with their unique advertisement campaigns and diversified product lines, Nirma followed the same campaign and failed to penetrate into the premium segment.

Currently, Nirma is concentrating on Nirma cement as its FMCG body care products are not gaining acceptable profits and has made its product portfolio even wider.

What made Nirma jump from the hill?

  • Lack of innovation – Nirma failed to innovate its product line as they considered themselves a market leader and failed to observe the environment.
  • Diversification – They diversified by widening the product portfolio; failed to feel the pulse of the market as diversification did not help them.
  • Consumer Perception – Consumers perceived Nirma as an inferior brand as its products were available at a low price.
  • Lack of Focus –  Nirma failed to understand what they are good at.

Rescue the Fall

  • Nirma’s success lies in detergent products and that segment started declining when it tried to introduce products in other product lines.
  • Nirma still has the brand recall in the minds of Generation Y and thus, Brand Revitalization is possible.
  • Brand Revitalization can be done by repositioning the existing products and introducing new and innovative product variants in the same product lines. The advertisement campaigns can be organized in a way to induce nostalgia into customers for its re-entry.

Challenges

The major challenge for Nirma lies in penetrating the premium segment of the market while maintaining a strong presence in the low price segment

 

Author: Arvind K

PGDM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

[Reference- Statistical data and brand insights from #Live mint #Business Standard #Economic Times]

Has 21st Century’s Intense Competition lead to the Abolition of Business Ethics?

Has 21st Century’s Intense Competition lead to the Abolition of Business Ethics?

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”

– George Orwell

On September 18th, 2015, United States Environmental protection agency issued a notice of violation of Clean Air Act against Volkswagen for tweaking its diesel engine in order to bypass the emission test. 11 million Cars, worldwide, between the model year 2009 and 2015 were identified to have faulty systems. This proves how contemplating an unethical decision with its apparent short term benefits is eventually a recipe for disaster.

For a business entity, ethics can be categorized as its responsibilities towards, (i) its customers, (ii) its employees, (iii) the government and (iv) the ecological balance of our planet. We need ethics as they are vital for the proper functioning of the economic, political and social network which will eventually lead to the overall development of the human race.

So, how and why does unethical behaviour creep into a system and make highly intellectual business leaders lose track of their ethical responsibilities? The answer lies in the fact that any deviation from ethical practices is mostly the result of the current competitive corporate culture or pressure from the higher managerial food chain, which can emerge when a company is unable to live up to its financial expectations. To overcome these bottlenecks, leaders eventually end up bending the rules and this is when ethics and policies collide.

Let us take an example of child labour. If a firm hires children as its major work force, it can drive down its prices. Now to remain competitive, the rival firm has to relook into its cost structure and come up with an optimized price point. Should the firm also look to hire children in its work force? Is it ethical? Will this help in achieving cost cut? The instinctive answers to these questions may be yes but in the long run, it will not serve the purpose of growth. History is full of references of organisations which have linked good ethical practices with their performance and have eventually outperformed their competitors financially.

Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices has listed Tata Steel as one of the World’s Most Ethical Company for the year 2017. Points are awarded to an organization based on: ethics and compliance program (35%), culture of ethics (20%), corporate citizenship and responsibility (20%), governance (15%) and leadership, innovation and reputation (10%). Prior to 2017, the Indian Steel giant had bagged this award in years 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016. Over decades, ethics has been a major driver for Tata Group. One of the core business ethic principles the company follows is to fully support the development and operation of competitive open markets. It may be pointed out that this policy hampers the organizations’ revenue, but In the long run, these policies promote a strong public image based on trust and relationship.

The challenge for those in business is to identify ways to do what is ethically correct while maximizing a shareholder’s wealth. Before taking any decision, the leadership of an organization must introspect what impact will their decision have on the organization and society as a whole in both the short and long run. The importance of ethics has been reinforced into business organisations and business individuals time and again.

As Henry Ford once said, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business”. Ethics in business is present; the difficult question is how to make it more prevalent.

 

Authors: Saurav Dhar & Rishi Raj

PGPM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

Alumni Speak: Mohit Kakkar – Winner of SAP Global IoT Prototype Competition

Mohit Kakkar, student of PGPM Energy (Batch 2014-16), is currently working with Deloitte Consulting India Pvt. Ltd. and has recently won the SAP Global IoT Prototype competition.

We got in touch with him to know more about his achievement.

What was the SAP Global IoT prototyping competition about?

The Prototype competition was meant to give you an end-to-end experience of designing and prototyping an Internet of Things app for people’s needs. The top 5 submissions each won a brand-new Intel NUC Mini PC and $25 gift card which can be used to fund an entrepreneur on Kiva. The top 200 runner ups were displayed on the SAP “best of” gallery with their outstanding prototypes.

What is your line of work? Why did you take part in SAP Global IoT Prototyping competition?

After completing my masters from Great Lakes, I started working as a SAP consultant at Deloitte Consulting Pvt. Ltd. I participated in this competition because I am an IoT enthusiast from my post-graduation days where I learnt the fundamentals of IoT like Sensors, Cloud and various other business technologies. Since the digital transformation roadmap strategy of SAP got changed and they announced SAP Leonardo which was put forward as an innovation portfolio focused on innovative solutions running seamlessly on the cloud, there was no better way to get myself acquainted with the platform other than by participating in this competition and working on it in real time.

In your own words, what specific problem does this prototype seeks to solve? How does IoT provide an ideal solution?

We are living in 2017 and power utility companies today do know where a power outage has occurred, but they do not know what triggered that outage. Additionally, utility companies still can’t predict an outage and hence, they can’t take any preventive measures to stop it. On the other hand, by the time a crew member gets to know that a power outage has occurred at some place, the impacted customers suffer approximately 20 minutes of power outage on an average. Lastly, today customers have no visibility of their electricity consumption pattern and neither the electricity tariff that power utility companies charge them on a particular hour of the day.

Hence, the problems were many and I came up with a solution i.e. an innovative app which connects assets, control room operations team, crew members and customers/people.

Leonardo IoT Bridge provides us with capabilities to cut across various aspects of a power utility business model. We can monitor the real time health of the transformers using IoT sensors, using cloud platform edge computing we can store and analyse huge volumes of data of all the real time parameters; and we can also predict the future outages using machine learning algorithms. Moreover, we can also help the customers stay aware of their electricity consumption behaviour patterns by using smart meter data. Hence, we achieve increased transformer utilization, lesser power outages, and maximized revenue generation by monitoring the operational status and customer satisfaction.

What inspired you in creating your prototype?

My passion for IoT and excitement to learn SAP Leonardo framework inspired me to create this prototype. But to think through the complete end-to-end solution my 3.5 years of experience in Power utility industry and my subject knowledge which I gained at Great Lakes Institute of Management gave a head start to start this idea. Once the first draft was ready, the feedback and motivation I received from my mentor were a huge inspiration for me to build this prototype in an agile model, wherein I did multiple iterations to touch up the inconsistencies.

Do you plan to do further work in developing your prototype?

We have actually started building this solution in Deloitte. But I am eagerly waiting for the SAP connected goods portal, wherein we can configure and use the pre build APIs.

What are your thoughts on being able to fund an entrepreneur via the Kiva crowd funding platform? How did you go about identifying an entrepreneur to fund? Were there certain criteria that you used?

It felt really great that our hard work helped someone start their business. We talk about connecting people in the SAP Leonardo framework, but for all the winners to be able to fund an entrepreneur has truly connected people together.

Initially, I tried to fund an entrepreneur in my country, but then I found a lady in Cambodia who needed a loan of $625 to purchase a motorbike for her daughter to run her goods delivery business. She had received $600 already and I thought I should give my $25 gift prize to her and close down her request. It truly felt like bliss to be able to help someone so far away.

Read more about the Competition, winners and their prototypes here!

Will Strategic Acquisition of Free charge revive Axis Bank from Declining Profits?

Will Strategic Acquisition of Free charge revive Axis Bank from Declining Profits?

Strategic Acquisitions have become the order of the day in the recent corporate world. Corporate Players who estimate their future survival in the market through current earnings, investor’s confidence and changing customer base are becoming prudent enough to strategize their investments in highly probable winning deals.

Axis Bank which is reputed as India’s third largest private lender is no exception to this. The bank has been choking to sustain its profit margins with increasing bad loan provisions which had resulted in a steep decline of its asset value. As a cascading impact, the bank had ended up reporting 16.06% decline in net earnings in the first quarter of the year despite a marginal increase in the top line revenue by 1.45% during the same quarter of last year. The lender’s asset quality has also worsened by a steep increase in Gross Non Performing Assets (NPA) to 5.03% during FY17 Q1 compared to 2.54% for the same quarter of previous year. The market has instantly reacted to this discouraging trend of financial performance by 3% fall in stock prices on the same day which reflects the loss of investor’s trust.

However, the Board has now come with a new strategy of venturing and broadening their presence into the digital space by acquiring Snapdeal’s ‘Free Charge’. The Bank was desperate to close this deal as they have offered an attractive price compared to ‘PayTm’ which was also competing to acquire this asset. This deal also gives a big sigh of relief to Free Charge’s parent, ‘Snapdeal’, which is already in talks for selling itself to its rival ‘Flipkart’ due to its declining fortune since the beginning of this year and struggling for independent survival. Free Charge was acquired by Snapdeal in early 2015 for $ 400 million. However, it has now been sold to Axis Bank at a massively discounted valuation of 85% at $ 59 million (384 Crores INR).

This clearly indicates a strategic acquisition with great anticipated outcomes. Axis Bank would get a popular digital payment brand backed up by a high-quality technology platform, which can be leveraged towards tapping into current market opportunities that are booming in the digital space. The benefits of this acquisition will begin to bear fruit in the next couple of years. Another big competitive advantage which the bank would gain on this acquisition is access to small value transactions and Utility Bill Payments which are the key customer service segments of Free Charge.

It is also quite rational to think that the Bank already has a significant presence in the Digital Space through ‘Axis Pay’ and there was no need for the acquisition. However, the digital market of India is in its boom days buoyanced by the ‘Demonetization’ Move of the Government last year. Telecom Giants like ‘Reliance Jio’ have further intensified this growth by their rapid penetration into the Digital markets by making Internet Connectivity as the common man’s amenity in India. A recent survey published in ‘The Economic Times’ on 27th May’17 says that the Debit Card transactions have surged to 1 billion at Point of Sales of merchant locations in January 2017 compared to 817 million during the same time last year against the ATM transactions which was almost static at 700 million. This clearly substantiates the fact that the Indian Economy is rapidly shifting towards ‘Digital Cashless Mode’ and people prefer to make more cashless payments compared to cash transactions. It has also been evidenced by the annual report (2016-17) of Axis bank that the bank had reported 66% share of digital transactions in India in FY17 Q4 compared to 51% during last year. Also, the spends on Credit/Debit Cards of Axis Bank have increased to 47% in 2016-17.

Image Source – Annual Report of 2016-17 (Axis Bank)

The above facts and figures substantiate that this acquisition is a focused strategy of Axis Bank towards an inorganic expansion into the Digital Payment Space without duplicity of efforts on the customer acquisition and emerging as a ‘Key Contributor’ to the ‘Digital India’ drive amongst the BFSI Sector. The appetite of the market is so large that the bank cannot afford to spend time and resources on building a new platform from scratch, rather it is wise to leverage the market opportunities as a forerunner amidst other competitive market players. The integration of Free charge with Axis Pay would further increase the ease of the payment by the customers as Axis Bank already has a mobile wallet ‘LIME’ which has been interfaced for UPI Payments with Axis Pay.

The bank also needs to focus on retaining the acquired customers by offering them loyalty programs and cross selling products by understanding their needs. As per one of the updates that was given by Free charge late last year, the number of registered users on its platform has peaked at 30 million and 20% of them for utility bill payments. Also, the market leader ‘PayTm’ claims to have 122 million active users and hosts 90 million transactions per month on its platform. The other rival ‘Mobikwik’ has reported 35 million users and 45 million monthly transactions during the same period last year. Also, a market research throws light on the fact that India’s Digital Payment Segment has handled almost 600 million transactions in the year 2015-16 whose mean economic value rising to 400-450 INR.

Another ray of hope is that the digital payments industry in India is expected to grow by 10 times to $500 billion by the year 2020 as per the recent study by Google and Boston Consulting Group. It also predicts that more than 50% of India’s Internet users are likely to use digital payments by 2020, and the top 100 million users are likely to drive 70% of digital payments by value. If the above mentioned promising predictions turn into reality, Axis Bank can significantly tap this humungous market opportunity with its unique ‘FinTech’ flavor and competencies.  This would eventually pour in into its revenue bucket and would help the bank with some breathing air to compensate for its massive bad debt provisions eating into their bottom line, while RBI figures out a sustaining solution for increasing menace of NPAs. Though this was primarily aimed at market penetration, the bank can think of stepping into other niche products in digital space apart from payment service based on the customers’ expectations and demands. This acquisition would be the first step for building a better brand equity for the bank and an opportunity to explore and serve more customers as a ‘Digital Player’.

 

Author: Yogesh Sundararajan

PGDM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon