Committed to providing end-to-end encryption, the Delhi-based IoT startup DataCultr uses smartphones as a tool to provision affordable, accessible and relevant financial products to individuals and small businesses that have traditionally been excluded from mainstream financial products. The company is now advancing with newer technologies like AI to empower its customers. The snowballing company is worth unfolding as Niloy from BISinfotech gets alongside Neel Juriasingani, CEO & Co-Founder, DataCultr elaborating on the company’s inception, investment and introspection to get hold-off the major market share.
Q1: What exactly do you do?
Datacultr uses smartphones as a tool to provision affordable, accessible and relevant financial products to individuals and small businesses that have traditionally been excluded from mainstream financial products. Datacultr’s innovative AI-driven risk management technology, collections digitization platform & user behaviour-driven fraud prediction tool, provides answers to the most challenging questions financiers face, as they give loans to the ‘New to credit’. Now billions of unbanked and underserved people can afford a new smartphone by paying in easy instalments.
Q2: How unique are you w.r.t. your competition?
Datacultr understands that the customer needs to be educated about topics like credit scores, benefits of on-time payments, etc and they also desire relevant & timely communication. Datacultr positively impacts overall loan approval rates, by reducing default rates and costs of collection. This opens up a huge opportunity for unbanked & underserved customers, who are able to get their first loan. For these customers, such loans, which ride on Datacultr’s technology, begin their journey of building a robust credit score, enabling access to bigger loans in future.
Q3: How has your growth been in the last 2-3 yrs?
Datacultr pivoted to its risk mitigation & collections management platform, having experienced the challenges first hand. The low-end segment of the smartphone market on which a number of brands were focusing and to whom DataCultr was providing core android solutions, failed to gather traction, the market, therefore, crashed in the first quarter of 2018. Datacultr has grown to become a strong technology platform provider to financiers both institutional lenders (like NBFCs) and telecom operators. We launched the platform in Bangladesh in Apr 2019 and in India in Sept, 2019. We are now also live in Malaysia, with multiple pilots underway in Africa & Middle East.
Q4: What are your current offering and R&D strength?
Risk Mitigation Platform for New Smartphone Financing- Datacultr offers AI-driven templates that the financier can deploy to influence debt repayment among the ‘New to credit’. Thus reducing default rates & NPAs. Collections Digitization- Financiers can reduce the cost of collections by implementing programmable messaging & calling, that work even when the user is offline, out of coverage area or unwilling to pick up calls. Predictive Fraud Management- Datacultr uses Machine Learning, to identify potential frauds by modeling changes in borrower’s behaviour. Allowing financiers to take timely action, we continue to base & build our products on consumer research and voice of the customer.
Q5: What is your revenue mix as of now?
We are pretty early in our journey, but generating revenues currently from India & Malaysia.
Q6: What motivates & keeps you going?
We realised very early on that India and so many other emerging countries are mobile-first markets where people are using their smartphones to improve their lives, earn livelihoods, and social mobility. But still, only under 40% of the population in India use a smartphone- the biggest challenge being affordability. The people live on meagre incomes and are unable to move up the social strata or expand their businesses, because of the lack of access to formal credit. Did you know that almost 63 million Indians are pushed into poverty because of healthcare costs every year – that’s almost two people every second? Datacultr believes that technology can play a pivotal role in unlocking this huge potential in emerging countries. Mobile adoption is already bringing a change in people’s lives, smartphones have been instrumental in helping people increase their earning, improve livelihoods and get access to social mobility. The thought that our efforts can help the under-privileged access financial services keeps us going & motivated.