Chaitra Chidanand, President & Co-Founder, Simpl,
having completed her engineering degree in Bangalore and MBA from Stanford University, she worked with technology companies like Infosys, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Electro Scientific Industries and Cinepolis India. She then worked at Brandissimo, an agency that helps large clients devise branding strategies for younger audiences, as the Vice President of Business Development. After her tenure at Brandissimo, she worked at Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs for five years, in San Francisco, as the Vice President where she strengthened Stanford’s entrepreneurial community by fostering relationships among potential investors and entrepreneurs through networking events, educational programs and access to the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial network. She also adviced startups on monetization, design/usability, business plans and fund raising. Chaitra’s experience in business development and entrepreneurial community building gives her the expertise to build a platform like Simpl in the rapidly evolving Indian digital ecosystem.
In an interview with Shweta Papriwal, Editor, indiainfoline.com,
Chaitra Chidanand, said, “We made use of technology to understand the user’s eligibility to use our service and ensure that they will pay back the amount they owe.”
What is your Business model and how will it reshape the fintech ecosystem?
We at Simpl realized that the best payment experience is no experience at all, which led us to create a platform that allows consumers to shop seamlessly by simplifying payment process. We created a model that solves the payment woes of customer by enabling a digital ‘Khaata’ which has been traditionally the most reliable payment mode for India. By providing “one bill” for all payments, we aggregate all the expenses a user has made and send a combined bill at a prescribed date.
We are different from the mobile wallets. While mobile wallets often do not offer a single click checkout option since in most cases money has to be added during the purchase, we on the other hand, offer single-click checkout option for customers. We made use of technology to understand the user’s eligibility to use our service and ensure that they will pay back the amount they owe. We were able to do so by understanding the merchant’s transaction cycle and providing a payment solution that is intuitive. By looking at trust scores that is calculated by assessing transaction data, we use proprietary algorithms to offer pre-determined credit limits to users, either itself or through our financial services partners.
How do you plan to challenge the existence of the traditional mode of payment in a cash- savvy country like India?
From a convenience point of view, we challenge the existing ecosystem by our “one bill” feature provides consumers the convenience to make transactions without worrying about paying immediately. We not only help consumers to keep a check on their credit habits, we help in creating a better payment habit, apt for the modern urban consumer.
How do you plan to overcome the infrastructural challenges like transaction failures etc
As our payment habits of customers are evolving, we want to provide our consumers with a payment infrastructure that understands the complexity of transactions on a regular basis. Payment failures are a common denomination, and we aim to reduce the regular checkout flow, so when the process becomes one touch, the chances of transaction failure will be mitigated itself. The hassles of entering OTP, repetitive verifications, re- entering account details etc. are eliminated because with Simpl we allow the buyers to skip these onerous payments. Our platform identifies a number of details including location, and transaction history, to carry out multiple verifications, which, has been very effective in bringing down failure rates and even refunds aren’t a problem as well. We use new methods of authentication not only at the payment gateways but also on each user’s device. We are also working towards simplifying data collection that helps in handling security issues easily.
What insights do you have about the market opportunity specific to fintech and how do you plan to capitalize it?
India has a huge business opportunity when it comes to Fintech. NASSCOM has predicted that India’s fintech software market alone could touch US$ 2.4 billion by 2020, doubling on the current rate of growth. The reason behind it is the increased number of digital users who are making payments online. While ‘Khaata’ has been a trusted traditional mode of transaction for both retailers and consumers, we are adding value to the system by adding components and converting it into a ‘Digital Khaata’. We are trying to deepen the credit pool for the customers. The goal is to move towards smaller, simpler, less confusing technology or to unbundle technology. We want to bring about a combinational evolution in the payments landscape by exploring the combinations of existing technologies through a process that involves interplay between experience and knowledge.
How well do you think Simpl has been received by its target audience?
The growing fascination of urban users towards digital payments is a clear indicator that in the next five years, payment gateways will be able to replace or in fact, zero, the cash transactions. While the market is drifting towards smaller and less confusing technology, we at Simpl are bringing about combinational evolution in the payments landscape by focusing on the customer’s primary need. Our product has been extremely well received. Our consumers have realized the convenience that we bring about in our payment systems by reducing the number of procedures required to obtain this service.