By @Connectvj –Interview with Vipul Sharma,CEO at Chqbook
We interviewed him to know in-depth about him & Chqbook. This is the 14th Interview of our Startup Showcase Series.
Chqbook.com is a Gurgaon based financial technology start-up that allows customers to explore, compare, book and get personal finance products such as home loans, personal loans, business loans and credit cards.
It is a marketplace for financial products, bringing under a single platform – both online and offline — banks and non-bank finance companies (NBFCs), its own loan servicing experts and customers. “Chqbook was founded to ensure a seamless end-to-end experience for every customer.”
India has over 20 lakh financial service providers like insurance agents, direct selling agents and bank executives, who help process loans and cards. Chqbook leverages that ecosystem and connects, tracks and gets the customer’s loan or credit card approved through 400+ experts in 15 cities across the country.
The startup currently has 21 banks and NBFC’s for home loans, 17 for Personal Loans and Business loans and offers over 35 credit cards in 275 cities across the country. This makes it the largest marketplace for Personal Finance in the country. It’s also adding another 5–10 banks in each category and expects over 70 credit cards to be listed in the next few months.
Explain your professional background briefly what lead you to build the company and how did you come up with the idea?
Chqbook Co-founders Vipul Sharma and Rajat Kumar are former bankers, with stints at ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, Standard Chartered Bank, HDFC Bank and IndusInd Bank at leadership levels. Rajat and Vipul met while at IndusInd Bank, and decided to form a company together. Chqbook was registered in June 2016, and they started operations with Vipul as the CEO & Rajat as the COO in January 2017.
What difference are you creating for your customers?
Chqbook has built a true marketplace for Financial products like Home Loans, Credit Cards and Personal Loans by bringing suppliers (Banks), Distributors (Chqbook Experts) and customers onto 1 platform – both online and offline. Financial Services providers have till now focused on discovery of Financial product for a consumer but are not transaction platforms.
Chqbook has made the discovery process simple and intuitive. More importantly, Chqbook controls the entire fulfillment journey to deliver an end to end Magical customer experience for Loans and Credit Cards.
Tell us about Chqbook’s technology and how is it re imagining the traditional listing platform?
Our AI system, Tara, is also unique as it chooses the best option from 600 rules across 40 Banks in real time. It also checks hundreds of customer variables across the 40 banks on our platform to recommend the best product with the lowest interest rates which will have the highest chance of approval for the customer – in essence, running a highly efficient recommendation engine.
Tara AI also pushes customer applications though our application routing engine to the best person suited to fulfill the loan from over 400 Chqbook Experts across 14 cities in the country for Loan products. It also tracks turnaround times, status updates from our Experts and flags off any activity which is taking longer than usual for a human to intervene, ensuring a seamless end–to–end experience for the customer and magical customer service every time.
What challenges do you face within the market and the company?
Key challenges are customer education about the right kind of product for a particular demographic. Understanding the requirements for loans or cards and ensuring customers appreciate and understand the requirements, fine print and their costs is an important part of what we do. Since financial products have a long term effect on the customer’s finances, it is important to communicate accurately and promptly.
What financing method did you choose to launch your company?
Chqbook.com is mostly self-funded. We did do a small friends and family round last year and might reach out for a series A funding sometime this year if the need arises.
How much has the company changed since you started off?
We have added a few extremely smart and interesting people to the team who believe in the company’s vision and live and breathe customer education, and our commitment to long term relationships. The team has made a big difference to the visibility of the brand, has motivated everybody to build technology always with a customer first outlook, and made a difference in the delight we have managed to deliver when customers apply and get credit cards, personal, business loans and home loans from us.
How do you see financial services sector evolving in future?
Interestingly, only a small part of finance has moved online. Over 95% of Personal finance is still offline and while platform like bankbazaar or paisa bazaar have made a small difference to customer education, a lot needs to be done to show customers that applying online is easier, allows for better comparisons and ends up with higher savings. Over the next decade, we expect over 25% of personal finance to move online – which is a massive opportunity for platforms in the country.
What advice would you like to give the entrepreneurs who are planning to launch their own venture?
The next decade is critical for India. Our demographic dividend is on our side till 2030, which means the earning population is at its peak in the next decade than it will be over the next 100 years, and India will add $1 Trillion every 12-18 months over the next 5 years, becoming a $5 Trillion economy my 2025. For both these reasons, this is an excellent time for entrepreneurs to launch their own venture. Build a product, iterate, get customer feedback, and repeat – nothing can stop you then.
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