Issue #13 - I Run a Fintech (22/11)

ICICI Bank, TurtleMint, Instamojo, TrueBalance

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Moving on to last week’s updates!

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Credit Cards & Banking

🚀Product Launches

ICICI Bank introduces ‘Cardless EMI’ facility.

With a large user-base, a consumer durable loan powered by cardless facility, ICICI Bank will enter the competitive space of consumer loans in partnership with PineLabs. Does that mean the consumer loans provided by other companies will lose market share? Let's take a look below:

Not quite yet.

What ICICI Bank will want, is to change the customer's attitude towards getting financing for the products i.e. customer walks into the store where ICICI Bank & PineLabs provide a consumer loan powered by cardless EMI facility. I am stressing on cardless EMI because it is powered by PineLabs POS. Now there are two things that will require attention here:

  • Pinelabs has to continue to expand into new retail stores (am not sure what their current distribution is)

  • ICICI Bank has to continue to cover more brands as they move ahead.

ICICI Bank mentions that "at these stores, customers can avail the ‘Cardless EMI’ facility to purchase electronics from leading brands like Carrier, Daikin, Dell, Godrej, Haier, HP, Lenovo, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Oppo, Panasonic, Toshiba, Vivo, Whirlpool and MI. The Bank will add many more brands as well as retailers under this facility in near future."

This covers major brands of white goods, electronics (smartphones, laptops) today.

In other news


SBI-HUL join hands to transform retailer payments digitally

A month old story, however an important one because this partnership, if executed well will transform how retailers operate because both players today have the largest network in the country. Both leaders in their own line of businesses, these are two mega-businesses working together to digitize the ecosystem.

Today, HUL's products are available at 80 lakh (8 million) retail outlets which comprises of 60% of the total retail outlets in India.

The retailers can place order via their distributors or their app called "Shikhar".

Retailers today have two options to make a payment

  • Immediate payment via cash when the product gets delivered to their shop

  • Credit Advance for X days (varies from retailer on their relationship with distributor)

The limitation here is that, retailers cannot expand their product categories unless they borrow from the market or they have a deep relationship with the distributor.

SBI's partnership with HUL is going to work on three fronts

  • Enable payments via UPI on the "Shikhar" platform which will enable instant settlement with the distributor

  • Offering Rs. 50,000 overdraft facility to retailers

  • POS machines at the HUL touch points (retailer's touch points? or distributors?)

If retailers start using digital payments to distributors, it would also force them to accept digital payments from their customer via POS / QR code mechanisms.

This will enable digitization and make retailers an attractive user group to provide additional financial services in the future because it will give a great insight into the retailer’s cash-flow information.

Let’s wait to see how this shapes the retail sector!


🚀Product Launches

  • Mswipe’s Brand EMI helps SMEs offer ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ in less than 15secs

  • Zerodha launches online platform for gifting stocks, ETFs, gold bonds

  • Paytm introduces Payout Links for businesses, enables money transfer sans collecting bank details


Aggressive insurance partnerships

  • Airtel Payments Bank partners with Bharti AXA General for motor insurance

  • Flipkart offers customised group health insurance cover issued by Bajaj Allianz

🔑Mergers & Acquisitions

Fintech NBFC Firm Eduvanz Acquires Edtech Startup Klarity

Eduvanz is an NBFC Fintech that enables learners to Study Now and Pay Later in small easy on the pocket instalments. The core objective of the company is to make education accessible to all learners across K-12, Test-Prep, Upskilling & UG/PG segments.

Eduvanz offers a point of sales payment solution for institutes that helps them provide instant finance thereby helping them boost enrollments.

The acquisition of Klarity has helped Eduvanz reach out to a network of passionate industry mentors and more than 300 education institutes powered by mentoring that enabled them to choose the most suitable path in their education and career.

Though, the information is not clear, it seems that Eduvanz has acquired Klarity to boost their sales distribution and get access to additional 300 institutes from the current 80 institute partnerships they have today.


Turtlemint secured Series D funding of $30 million (Rs.224 cr) to bolster its product and expand into tier II and tier III towns and upskill advisors and customers through training and content

An insurtech company, Turtlemint is looking to use the fresh funds for

  • Bolster it's product

  • Expansion into tier II and tier III towns

  • Upskill Advisors and Customers with training & content

TurtleMint like PolicyBazaar, CoverFox and BankBazaar is an aggregator of insurers but their approach to selling products to the customers is slightly different.

Unlike PolicyBazaar, Coverfox and BankBazaar where customers are expected to discover the products on their own and then assisted by tele-callers, TurtleMint brings the discovery to customers at their doorstep via financial advisors.

Financial Advisors (or commonly called as DSAs) are provided with an mobile application called Mint Pro, which is loaded with multiple products like Insurance, Investment products like Mutual Funds, Loans.

The core product is to take customer's input into the mobile application and then let the application suggest what is most suitable for the customer rather than the financial advisor making those suggestions.

How many of you know a friend / family member who ended up purchasing an insurance or any other product from a relative or a friend?

Bringing the subject of aggregation, you can see how they are approaching the distribution here. They are not using the power of internet but using the power of relationship where the conversion percentages are higher and a higher probability of cross-selling new products to the customer.

Since this is resource driven, it will be important for TurtleMint to focus a lot on training the advisors to maximize their conversion rate and increase repeat purchases to break even their cost of acquisition.

TrueBalance raised $28 million (Rs. 210 Cr) to fuel the company's India expansion plans, bolstering the technology that drives the fintech player, and preparing for the next round of growth that it now foresees.

TrueBalance, now a 6 year old company started off to assist you to check your prepaid balance to now becoming an app that now offers complete financial services ranging from loans to investments.

They are looking to use the fresh funds for:

  • Bolstering the technology

  • Preparing for next round of growth

With more than 10 million customers downloaded their app till date and the cohort they have had (pre-dominantly pre-paid customers) they seem to have the right set of customers for their financial services business. The reason being, their core product is the giving out personal loans and cash loans of small ticket size to new to credit customers.

"From the day we launched, our focus was on the Next Billion Indian users...We will continue focusing on non-online payment users, non-credit score users, people who deserve our help, but need a way to get to it," True Balance founder and CEO Charlie Lee said.

From what I got gather, their current distribution or acquisition strategy relies on digital marketing and acquiring customers through various social media and ad-networks which means the funding should help them fuel their growth.

Instamojo acquires fresh funds from Gunosy Capital and Base

The company is building an online store and e-commerce platform for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and these freshly acquired funds will be used by the company to tap into

  • newer markets

  • overseas and expand its business

Base, is the shopify of Japan, and their investment in Instamojo is strategic because Instamojo's business and Base's business is very similar in nature. You will see the similarities below:

My Take:

  • Looks like Instamojo will expand into the neighbouring countries (like Bangladesh) given that their focus is in MSME and SME businesses and there is a huge surge in the digital acceptance in some of the countries.

  • I also believe that Instamojo could possibly turn into a marketplace (similar to Base) by converting all their partner stores into a mega ecommerce centre which could boost cross-discovery and increase sales for all their partner businesses.

🌎Emigrate; Immigrate

  • MoneyTap appoints Ashutosh Dabral as chief product officer

  • I also want to call out some recent leadership hirings done by BharatPe which gives an indication that something big is in the works. BharatPe appointed in the last 6 months

📖Good Reads

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Disclaimer: The newsletter contains information about Fintech and Organizations that operate in or around the fintech industry. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, we do not represent, warrant, undertake, or guarantee ... that the information in the newsletter is correct, accurate, complete, or non-misleading. We will not be liable to you in respect of any special, indirect, or consequential loss or damage. If a section of this disclaimer is determined by any court or other competent authority to be unlawful and/or unenforceable, the other sections of this disclaimer continue in effect.