OKCredit, a bookkeeping app that goals to digitise accounting for small companies in India, has come a great distance in three years. Founded in 2017, the app enjoys over 5.5 million lively customers with round $7.5 billion (roughly Rs. 54,739 crores) value of transactions recorded within the month of October. In this house, OKCredit has stiff competitors from Khatabook, which achieved 10 million downloads via phrase of mouth inside service provider networks inside a 12 months of its launch. However, OKCredit has been rising at a gentle tempo, OKCredit CEO and co-founder Harsh Pokharna asserts, with the corporate anticipating its lively consumer base to develop round 18-20 p.c on this fiscal.
The OKCredit app is offered free of price on Google Play and App Store each. The firm acquired seed capital from Lightspeed Venture Partners not too long ago that ought to assist scale buyer base much more.
Expert opinion: PN Sudarshan, Partner, Deloitte India says, “SaaS as a business model has proved effective in the digitization of small and medium enterprises around the world. India is an important market both from a supply and demand perspective. SaaS revenues in India have reached $3.5 billion as of FY2020 with 75 percent coming from global sales. From a demand perspective, India is going through mass digitization, which brings industry value chains into the digital fold enabling shared information exchange across the supply chain. Small and medium enterprises are an integral part of our manufacturing and services industries in India, and to truly achieve the potential of mass digitization, it is necessary that small and medium enterprises access enterprise-level software provisioned at flexible pricing models. SaaS as a business model is definitely well-positioned to catalyse this change and cost-effective digital tools would help us move from a ‘data-poor’ to ‘data-rich’ economy. The current COVID-19 pandemic has catalysed the rate of technology adoption across industries. In this context, SaaS as a business model can witness increased adoption, as flexibility and affordability becomes a key for enterprises to manage the pandemic response and thrive in the changing market dynamics.”
We spoke to CEO and Co-Founder of OKCredit, Harsh Pokharna to know the way the corporate plans to sort out competitors and its future plans.
1.What had been you doing earlier than OKCredit was dropped at life?
After graduating from IIT Kanpur in 2014, I and Gaurav took up a job at Flipkart. My buddy and batchmate Aditya Prasad who can also be the co-founder and CTO of OkCredit went on to work with a knowledge firm known as Fuzzy Logix. The start-up ecosystem was simply getting established in India and the three of us wished to do one thing of our personal. We constructed a couple of apps which didn’t work and even tried our hand at blockchain. In 2017, out of our personal private expertise, we began OkCredit.
2. What was the conceptualization course of behind OKCredit? When was it that you just lastly determined you wish to begin OKCredit?
We had a first-hand really feel of the issue and that immensely helped us construct a product that might resolve issues not only for the SMBs but additionally his prospects. While residing in Bengaluru, we used to purchase from this grocery retailer reverse our house. Once we went to the shop to settle our month-end credit score steadiness and we had been astounded by the shopkeeper’s painful course of of taking out every invoice and calculating it up. The course of was fraught with error and manipulation and wasted rather a lot of time, each for the shoppers and these store homeowners. That’s once we determined that there was a have to make this transaction easy and easy, giving start to our concept of OkCredit.
3. Were there any operational challenges (or some other challenges) that you just confronted when beginning OKCredit? Please provide our readers particulars on what these challenges had been and the way you overcame them?
The greatest problem for us was the client inertia in adopting a digital product. The ledger e book tradition is so deeply entrenched in India that many shopkeepers cannot even suppose of utilizing an app to do calculations. For them, it is a very treasured factor and albeit, it is coronary heart of their enterprise. Sharing that necessary doc with a startup does not occur simply. Secondly, the client set we cater to just isn’t essentially the city metro buyer. In truth, most of the occasions, it is a small enterprise in a tier-2, tier-3 setting.
As an organization that has learnt first-hand from its prospects, we’ve got labored rather a lot on constructing belief, being obtainable at all times and ensuring that the product evolves in tune with our buyer’s wants. To that impact, we launched two extra merchandise this 12 months which can go a great distance in bringing small companies up on the digitisation curve. Here once more, we try to unravel two main ache factors. OkShop serves the necessity for offline shops and companies who wish to go browsing to maximise their enterprise potential. OkStaff, our second initiative helps companies with employees administration, be it salaries, advance, leaves and many others.
4. Did you need to put in any cash to start out the enterprise? When did you resolve that funding was required? Could you provide broad particulars on how a start-up will get funding in India and the way OKCredit managed its first spherical?
Before beginning OkCredit, three of us had been working. I and Gaurav with Flipkart and Aditya with Fuzzy Logic. We had some financial savings. Later, we additionally did some consultancy work on blockchain that supported us financially for a while. But as our firm scaled we wanted extra funds and sources to develop additional. That’s when our batch mate and expensive buddy Farid Ahsan, additionally co-founder of ShareChat, stepped in and helped us out by providing us his workplace house. For the subsequent three months his workplace house grew to become our solely abode, the place we tirelessly and relentlessly labored in direction of growing OkCredit. Seeing our dedication and fervour he helped us join with Lightspeed Ventures, which grew to become our first buyers.
5. Could you share some fascinating tales about your preliminary days? What learnings have you ever picked up from these hustle days?
We initially began off working solely with grocery shops, which we acquired via referrals. We wished to develop our market attain and discover different segments. For that to occur, we began speaking to folks within the trade and upon that we realised that the identical drawback existed all through all classes and provide chains. There was a dire want out there for making account administration easy and that the sector was marginally uncared for. After that, we slowly began establishing ourselves and there was a spurt in demand for our merchandise throughout all market segments and geographical areas.
6. Is there any incident that’s monumental in OKCredit’s journey? Please share that incident with our readers.
The incident that’s at all times going to stay near our hearts is our very first consumer. The three of us use to share an house proper reverse to a grocery retailer Food Choice, the place we use to make most of our family purchases from. One tremendous day Aditya got here again from the shop and narrated the complete cumbersome course of he went via on the retailer simply to pay his payments. The storekeeper on the retailer would rummage via all his payments, tally them and would then ask you to pay your dues, which we aren’t solely certain was ever correct. This posed as an issue not just for us, however lots of of prospects and the shopkeeper himself. This led to the inception of OkCredit. The very first module we created failed, because it was so sophisticated for them to know that they could not function it. So, we went forwards and backwards to develop a mechanism that might come to his help and was straightforward to know and function. Initially, the storekeeper had little religion in our app and use to take care of his books alongside, simply to make sure. But, slowly he began gaining confidence in it and likewise gave us a number of different referrals. Since then we’ve got added over 5.5 million lively customers and two extra product choices.
7. Could you assist give a way of how far OKCredit has come? From when it started to the place it’s now
In 2017, we began with 1 consumer and presently we’ve got 5.5 million lively customers with round $7.5 billion (roughly Rs. 54,739 crores) transactions recorded within the month of October and its rising at an excellent tempo. We have surpassed our pre-covid ranges. We count on our lively customers to develop round 18-20 p.c on this fiscal.
8. Has there ever been any failure or challenges? Please provide element about one vital incident and the way you overcame that.
We have had a number of failures all through our journey. We have labored for a number of merchandise and tasks, many of which have ended up not figuring out. In a method they’ve all been our failures. However, we by no means gave up and continued to try towards all obstacles. We had been very clear on what our mission and objective was, that’s to assist billion Indians and we did that towards all odds. We by no means let our failures uninteresting our ambitions.
9. You’ve acquired competitors through numerous bookkeeping apps together with Khatabook? What differentiates you from Khatabook?
Our greatest USP is that each one our merchandise are easy, safe, and technologically superior. It runs on a primary smartphone and helps automate the complete course of pertaining to the enterprise transactions of retailers with their prospects and with wholesalers. Users additionally get to maintain monitor of the customer’s credit score and may also ship them well timed cost reminders.
10. What was it like crusing via the COVID-19 disaster? Did you see a fall in enterprise or sudden surge? How did you take care of it?
During the nation-wide lockdown earlier this 12 months, we noticed that retailers had stopped promoting on credit score as a result of uncertainty. Selling on credit score is a reasonably common affair throughout regular occasions and therefore there was a dip within the enterprise. But because the lockdown eased, we noticed that retailers used social networking apps like WhatsApp to promote their merchandise and create catalogues to work together and promote to their prospects, which quickly grew to become half of the brand new regular to advertise contactless transactions. Having mentioned that, our retention and revival put up COVID-19 have been phenomenal and utterly natural.
11. Any recommendation for younger Indian entrepreneurs on the market?
The subsequent period might be transformational for small companies as each web and software program consumption goes to undergo the roof. As extra SMBs (small and medium companies) come on-line, there’s a large alternative to go deeper on this sector. We would wish to encourage budding founders and entrepreneurs to ideate about doable options to points that SMBs are dealing with. We would additionally advocate them to focus on one very particular phase of enterprise class in fixing an issue. Initially, focus on one consumer and work round it to unravel the issue effectively so that you just construct your journey based mostly on it. Focus on getting in depth details about the customers whereas fixing the issue in order that they will undertake your product. Always have a protracted -term imaginative and prescient and create a sustainable product. It is necessary to know that this market is simply opening so there might be rather a lot of gamers however the secret is to have a long- time period objective and resolve issues sustainably.
12. What are the massive plans sooner or later?
With a collection of easy, mobile-first merchandise, we’re fixing some critical issues for various segments of SMBs, giving us a number of entry factors to kickstart their enterprise digitisation journey. A powerful community impact might be key to digitising the 50 million SMBs over the subsequent decade. We intend to facilitate these small companies to change into at par with giant e-commerce gamers in leveraging expertise to service their prospects in addition to simplify procurement, and combine them with the formal financial system and digital ecosystem.
13. What is the worker power? Is OKCredit hiring presently?
Currently, we’ve got a staff of 100 staff. And, sure we’re actively hiring. When COVID struck, many firms had been giving pink slips and deducting salaries however OkCredit stood with their staff. In truth, we’ve got strengthened our staff in 2020.