Starting off as a mobile recharge website in 2009, over the years MobiKwik has evolved into a comprehensive mobile wallet solution that allows customers to pay anywhere and everywhere – cash free, says Mrinal Sinha, Chief Operating Officer, MobiKwik, in an interaction with Elets News Network (ENN)
What is MobiKwik? Tells us about the journey of MobiKwik since its inception and how it evolved into one of the top players in its segment.
MobiKwik is India’s largest independent mobile payments network, connecting 32 million users with 100,000 retailers. Founded in 2009 by Bipin Preet Singh and Upasana Taku, the company has raised three rounds of funding from Sequoia Capital, American Express, Tree Line Asia, MediaTek, GMO Payment Gateway and Cisco Investments. MobiKwik aspires to be the largest source of digital transactions in India.
The idea to launch India’s first mobile wallet was conceived by Bipin while working at a multinational, when he realised that there are no online phone recharge or bill payment options available in India and every time someone has to recharge their phone or pay bills, they have to visit an outlet to do so. A couple of months later he was joined by his co-founder Upasana Taku, who had just returned from US after a stint at Paypal. MobiKwik originally started as a mobile recharge website and over the years has evolved into a comprehensive mobile wallet solution that allows customers to pay anywhere and everywhere, cash free. MobiKwik had very humble beginnings in a small flat in Dwarka where a few people camped in. Currently, MobiKwik has a large office in Gurgaon and employs over 200 people.
Success of MobiKwik is credited to the fact that we are fintech specialists and are committed to fulfill users’ financial needs. Our vision is to allow users to pay, borrow, save and invest using MobiKwik. Following this mantra, we have launched exclusive services like hyper local, cash deposit & pick up for wallet loading and Kwik money micro loans.
We have the simplest UI among financial apps in India that allows easy navigation by non-savvy users as well. Additionally, we have recently launched our new app to become India’s lightest mobile wallet app to benefit users on 2G connections and phones with less RAM or processing ability. This will allow every user to use MobiKwik seamlessly.
Our ethos is to support digital payments for a cashless society. Shopping and paying bills must be seamless and convenient for all, instead of it being a hassle and multi-step process. With this inspiration, we pioneered the concept of a digital wallet in India in 2009, way before the e-commerce burst. Since our inception as a single-page website to a multi-platform application with over 32 million users, the company has come a long way. We make payments happen within seconds – through a three-step hassle-free process.
We are today the largest digital payments platform with reach to over 100,000 merchants. In a nutshell, users can pay their phone, data and DTH connection bills, electricity bills, gas bills, insurance premiums etc. at MobiKwik. At the same time, using MobiKwik they can pay both online and offline across 100,000 merchants pan India.
One of the leading digital payments platforms for online and offline merchants, MobiKwik is powering payments for IRCTC, Uber, Meru Cabs, Big Bazaar, OYO Rooms, Zomato, PVR, Archies, WHSmith India, BookMyShow, Grofers, Big Basket, Domino’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, eBay, ShopClues, Myntra, Jabong, Pepperfry, Barista, Food Panda, nearbuy, Van Heusen, Allen Solly, Louis Phillipe, GoDaddy, MakeMyTrip, Cleartrip and Yatra, among others.
Do you also cater to the needs of the banking sector?
Yes, we do. Our products are designed to work seamlessly with the existing banking infrastructure. Hence, for banks we drive more users and transactions to their platforms on our app. Most of the major banks are integrated on our platform for money loading into the wallet. At the same time, we collaborate with banks as a payment gateway for other platforms. For example, we facilitate debit and credit card transactions for all banks at Uber.
Going forward, we look at further partnerships to emerge from the sector where we work closely with the banking community to support user interfaces for their products.
What is the Mobikwik’s roadmap for the next five years? How exactly are you looking forward to take your company to new heights?
In the next 5 years, we want MobiKwik to become the default gateway for any financial service and transaction in India. We also want to drive away cash completely and encourage the trend towards a cashless society. In the next 5 years, we aim to generate a gross merchandise value of $2 billion, on the back of reaching out to 150 million users in about two years’ time – up five times from its present base.
We are looking to drive forward growth at MobiKwik with more offline and online partnerships. Anywhere and everywhere you go, you should be able to pay with MobiKwik.
e-wallets or mobile wallets are accepted by millions of users in India today, as a preferred mode of payment. According to RBI data, m-wallets have already surpassed mobile banking in volume terms and the volume of mobile wallets transactions doubled for the April 2015-February 2016 period to over 550 million. This growth, coupled with the fact that last year, India crossed about 1 billion mobile phone connections and has increased availability of spectrum, faster data technologies and cheaper smartphones, thus marking the beginning of the era of digital financial services.
At MobiKwik, we have undertaken strategic initiatives to promote the use of digital payments across the country. Our exclusive cash pick up service allows users to request cash pick up for wallet loading, and a MobiKwik representative reaches their location within 30 minutes for it. Also, our users can walk into more than 100,000 touch points across 1,000 (ICICI branches, Suvidha outlets etc.) cities in India to deposit cash in their MobiKwik wallet. One can locate these outlets with the nearby feature in MobiKwik app. The feature also shows outlets around the user where MobiKwik is accepted for payments. We have created a merchant network that caters to the user’s every day needs such as Big Bazaar for grocery shopping, Central mall and Madura garments for clothing, Dominos for eating out etc. MobiKwik can also be used for bus bookings.
MobiKwik is determined to make mobile wallet accessible across the length & breadth of our country and also provides additional financial services to its users like micro credit. Our vision is to have users pay, invest, borrow and save all using MobiKwik.
What are your views on the Government’s ambitious initiatives like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’?
Make in India and Digital India are both tremendous steps taken by the government to encourage local and indigenous startups to compete better with global startups.
Can you name a few challenges that you face? What expectations do you have from the Government?
Usage of cash is our biggest challenge and we have launched cash loading for MobiKwik through cash pick up & deposit service to address this challenge. Secondly, adoption of mobile data and network access is still a challenge and we have launched app advancements to make it easier for our users to use MobiKwik even with older phones and low data connectivity.
Currently we are facing few challenges from the regulatory sector. For example, when Unified Payments Interface (UPI) was announced, mobile wallets were left out if it because banks needed to catch up.
We expect the government to provide a level playing field so that startups and MNCs can compete on similar terms. We also expect the government to be swift in its approach to formulating rules and regulations so that startups are not stuck in paperwork or legal hurdles.