Two co-founders of Google Pay in India is building a neo-banking platform in the country – and they have already secured the support of three top VC funds.
Sujith Narayanan, an experienced payment manager who co-founded Google Pay in India (formerly Google Tez), said Monday that his startup epiFi had $ 13.2 million in its seed finance round led by Sequoia India and Ribbit Capital Dollars raised. The round valued epiFi at around $ 50 million.
David Velez, The founder of Brazilian neo-banking giant Nubank, Kunal Shah, who is building his second payment startup CRED in India, and VC fund Hillhouse Capital also participated in the round.
The eight-month-old startup is working on a neo-banking platform that will focus on serving millennials in India, Narayanan said in an interview with TechCrunch.
“When developing Google Tez, we found that a consumer's financial path goes beyond digital payments. They want insurance, loans, investment opportunities, and multiple products, ”he said.
The idea is also partly to help users better understand how they spend money, and to guide them to make better investments and increase their savings, he said.
It is currently unclear what the convergence of all these characteristics would look like. But Narayanan said epiFi will release an app in a few months.
With Narayanan, Sumit Gwalani is working on epiFi, who is the co-founder and chief product and technology officer of the startup. Gwalani previously worked as Director of Product Management at Google India and helped design Google Tez. In a joint interview, Gwalani said the startup currently has about two dozen employees, some of whom have joined Netflix. Flipkart and PayPal.
Shailesh Lakhani, CEO of Sequoia Capital India, Some of the basic consumer banking products like savings accounts would not have seen any real innovation in many years. "Your vision of redefining consumer banking by providing a modern banking product with epiFi has the potential to gradually change the experience of digitally savvy consumers," he said.
Cash now dominates transactions in India. However, New Delhi's attempt to invalidate most of the paper bills that were in circulation at the end of 2016 caused millions of Indians to deal with the payment app for the first time.
In recent years, numerous Silicon Valley startups and companies have helped Indians pay digitally and offer a range of financial services. And all signs indicate that a significant number of people are now satisfied with mobile payments: more than 100 million users made over 1 billion digital payment transactions last October – a milestone that the country has since achieved in the months since has set.
A handful of startups are also trying to overcome some of the challenges that small and medium-sized businesses face. Bangalore-based Open, NiYo and RazorPay offer a range of features such as corporate credit cards, a single dashboard to manage transactions, and the ability to automate recurring payments that traditional banks don't currently offer. These platforms are also known as neo-bank or challenger banks or alternative banks. Interestingly, most neo-banking platforms in South Asia today serve startups and companies – not individuals.