or most people in India, being involved with banks is not a joyful thing. Banks in the South Asian market are notorious for making unannounced spam calls to upsell loans and credit cards to customers, even when they have been explicitly telling them not to do so. Though, it can take up to forever when a customer reaches out to the bank with a query. Small and medium-sized businesses aren’t huge fans of banks either. If you start and operate an early-stage startup, it is an easy guess whether you will ever be able to convince a bank to issue a corporate account. Therefore, start-ups like Razorpay and Open took it upon themselves to help these people.
No matter if you are a teenager, just out of your college, a working professional, or simply do not have any credit score, there are a few firms that can get you a credit card and a loan. But even these services have a ceiling limit of some sort to a startup.
‘A customer’s relationship is always with the entity where they park their savings deposit,’ says Jitendra Gupta who is a high-profile entrepreneur and has spent a decade in the fintech world. Since the customers are not parking their money with fintech, ‘the start-ups have been unable to disrupt the bank’ and that’s the hard reality.
So, is there an alternative? Jitendra Gupta, who has co-founded CitrusPay, and served as the managing director of PayU, has been thinking of these challenges for more than 2 years now. In an interview, he said ‘if you really want to change the banking industry, you cannot just do it from the sidelines, you have to fight it from the center, right where they deposit their money. It’s a very time-consuming process and requires a lot of initial capital and experience with banks.’
More than a year and a half later, and has raised about $24 million from a lot of investors like- Sequoia, Capital India, 3one4 Capital, Kunal Shah, Kunal Bahl, Amrish Rau, Tanglin Venture Partners, Rainmatter, and a few others, Gupta is now set to launch what he believes will address a lot of issues individuals faces with their banks.
His new startup, called Jupiter, wants to bring ‘delight’ to the banking experience. It was launched on 24th June 2021. According to Gupta, any bank account should be a smart one, one which gives insight, shares personalized tips, and guides one through attaining financial discipline.
Apart from this, Jupiter will offer loans and other financial services to customers. The customers won’t be bothered by unnecessary and irrelevant calls, rather it will assess which of its customers are running short on money and give the option to take a credit line on the app itself. Upselling doesn’t always need to happen by way of spam, it needs to happen by way of conceptualization and personalization.
‘Jupiter has been built in a deep integration with the underlying bank, allowing the consumer to have a frictionless experience for all their banking needs,’ said Amrish Rau, chief executive of Pine Labs, co-founder of CitrusPay, and a long-time friend of Jitendra Gupta.
It is a startup that has employed 115 people and has developed a number of products for customers joining on day one. The products include the ability to buy now and pay later on UPI, a feature list offered in the market by Jupiter, and a mutual fund portfolio analyzer. A debit card, in-app chat with a customer service agent, expense categorization, finding the right card, determining the existing health insurance coverage, and many more are ready to introduce. Currently, Jupiter is also working on providing 0-mark-up on forex transactions and frictionless two-factor authentication. The startup published a public Trello page listing all the features it is working on and when it expects to ship them. In this, Gupta also said, ‘I want to establish full transparency in what we are working on to build the trust with our customers.’
Jupiter will have its own customer service team that will engage with the start-up’s users. Even Jupiter, which wishes to one day disrupt the banking sector has to partner up with banks currently. The partners are Federal Bank and Axis Bank. For the time being, Jitendra Gupta is not looking to partner with more banks as he said, ‘I don’t want Jupiter to attract customers because they want to bank with Federal or Axis bank. I want them to come to Jupiter because they want to bank with Jupiter.’
In the next 12 months, the startup wished to serve more than 1 million customers.