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Spotlight Asia: How India Became One of the World’s Fastest Growing Fintech Hubs

As one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, it’s no surprise that India has also emerged as one of the fastest-growing fintech hubs in recent years. With a market size of $31billion in 2021, estimated to reach $150billion by 2025, the sector is booming and continues to grow with the major adoption of many different products and solutions.

India has the highest fintech adoption rate in the world at 87 per cent, the global average rate being 64 per cent. With around 6,636 fintech startups based in the country, 16 fully-fledged unicorns and many more on the brink of the $1billion valuation (dubbed ‘soonicorns’), it’s clear that the industry more than competes with the rest of the world – it leads it. The city of Mumbai is thought to be a major financial hub, with Bengaluru also one of the fastest-growing tech hubs globally.

The fintech boom is a fairly recent one, with nearly 67 per cent of all fintechs in the country being established in the last 5 years aloneThere are many reasons for this, with the large unbanked population in particular seeing a number of fintech solutions pop up to help, especially with the digital push fuelled in part by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The untapped opportunities presented by the unbanked populations alongside a large population with a sizable youth demographic, large smartphone penetration and increased internet access have all led to the growth and expansion of the Indian fintech ecosystem. The ‘Digital India’ project launched by the Government of India also played a significant role in accelerating the adoption of fintech, with the campaign aiming to “transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy”. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also played a part in pushing the growing use of digital payments to help establish a cashless society. A welcoming regulatory environment and supportive landscape provided by the government has encouraged new businesses to take the lead in the finance industry.

In terms of the major sectors present in the Indian fintech market, digital payments in particular have seen a huge increase in uptake, becoming a way of life in India with more than two million customers onboarding to digital payments in 2021. At a very close second is alternative finance and lending, including tech solutions for alternative credit scoring to serve underserved SMEs and consumers. These two verticals have constituted over 90 per cent of the sector’s investment flow, however, in recent years there had been a particular shift towards insurtech and wealthtech companies, with solutions reimagining insurance products and providing greater ease of investing and personal wealth management respectively. A 2019 Deloitte report also listed regtech and banking technology as two other major sectors, with the whole industry

With this in mind, let’s meet some of the major fintech companies in India:
BharatPe

A one-stop business utility app, this payments company offers a variety of products, specifically empowering shop owners to accept payments from any payment app directly into their bank account for free. Utilising interoperable QR codes for UPI payments and launching the first ZERO MDR payment acceptance service, the company was founded in 2018 with the goal of aiding in financial inclusion for Indian merchants.

Chargebee

Founded in 2011, Chargebee is a software as a service (SaaS) product company that provides subscription and billing software to some of the fastest-growing SaaS and subscription-based companies in the world. The platform helps these subscription businesses manage and grow revenue by automating subscription, billing, invoicing, payments and revenue recognition operations, as well as providing metrics reports and business insights.

MobiKwik

One of the largest BNPL fintechs and mobile wallets in India, founded in 2009. With over 108 million registered users and over 3.45 million e-commerce, physical retail and biller partners, Mobikwik started as a mobile wallet to make digital payments more convenient and has since expanded to include bill payments, e-commerce shopping, food delivery, and in-store payments at large retail chains to name a few.

Cred

Cred is a members-only credit card bill payment platform that rewards its members for clearing credit card bills on time through access to rewards from brands and companies. For every rupee cleared on a credit card bill, members earn one cred coin that can be used to claim prizes. An Experian credit score of over 50 is mandatory for membership, and cred provides payment reminders, alerts and a real-time check on credit scores.

Digit

Digit is a general insurance company founded by Kamesh Goyal and backed by the Fairfax Group. The company’s mission is to make insurance simple, reimagining products and price points across its car, travel, home, shop and commercial vehicle insurance offerings. Digit became the first Indian insurtech startup to achieve unicorn status in 2021. 

Groww

Groww is an online investment platform that allows investors to invest in mutual funds, gold and stocks. Aimed at millennials, the company’s mission is to make investing in India easy, fast and transparent. Founded in 2016, Groww has over 20 million customers.

Zeta

Zeta is a cloud-based payment and banking solution for banks and enterprises, becoming a unicorn in 2021. It offers multiple solutions from its technology stack that helps banks and fintechs launch new products and improve customer experience. 

Pine Labs

Founded in 1998, Pine Labs is an Indian merchant platform company that empowers businesses to accept multiple modes of payment. Originally the company was focused on smart card-based payment and loyalty solutions for the retail petroleum industry and has since entered the world of mainstream payments, giving merchants solutions like POS systems and connecting them with financial services providers.

Razorpay

Razorpay aims to revolutionise money management for online businesses, providing developer-friendly APIs with simple integration. The only payments solution in India that allows businesses to accept, process and disburse payments with its product suite, Razorpay joined the unicorn club in 2020. 

PhonePe

Headquartered in Bangalore, PhonePe is a digital payments and financial services company that helps merchants accept payments via UPI. The PhonePe app went live in August 2016 and is available in 11 Indian languages and allows users to transfer money instantly to anyone by using their mobile number. PhonePe was founded in 2012 and became a unicorn in 2018. 

Policybazaar

Policybazaar was founded in 2008 with the objective to reimagine insurance and simplify the information around plans. As one of India’s largest online insurance marketplace providing comparison tools, it has sold over 13 million policies since its creation, with over nine million customers. Cover life, health, vehicle insurance and more the company achieved unicorn status in 2020. 

Paytm

India’s first decacorn (a valuation of over $10billion) and one of the major payments apps in the country, over 20 million merchants and businesses are powered by Paytm to accept payments digitally. The company began as a prepaid mobile and DTH recharge platform and has since diversified into e-commerce, banking, insurance and more

Author

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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