Sousthav Chakrabarty, Siply Founder

Story of Siply – Frictionless Savings for the Underserved Masses

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Have you ever considered the value of one hundred rupees? Think of the number of items that you could buy with a hundred-rupee note.

Now, have you imagined the freedom of investing Rs.100 whenever it comes to your pocket? Bengaluru fintech startup Siply empowers you with exactly this.

Siply is enabling financial wellness for the underserved by helping individuals make micro-savings from as low as ₹1.

With Siply, one can link their savings to earnings. Siply is tech-enabled, allowing users to save directly from their source of income which includes (but not limited to) company payroll, gig platforms, and digital transactions.

The Siply app is available in regional languages and comes with a host of options that allows increasing, decreasing, pausing, and restarting at the tap of a button. This makes Siply extremely easy to use and leaves the control at the hands of the users.

Here is the exciting story of how Siply was founded.

Sousthav Chakrabarty is the co-founder and CEO of Capital Quotient and has been in the Banking and Wealth Management niche for more than a decade. The company started with the middle-class and upper-middle segment. Sousthav felt it is financially rewarding to help these people get richer, but from a point of view of trying to do greater good, it doesn’t do that much. When they started this company, they thought, “Let’s make a change in the ecosystem that we are a part of.” They did the right things for their high-profile clients which got them happy, but there were two challenges:

  • High-touch business requires personal connect which is extremely difficult to deliver through technology
  • They wanted to change the way India thinks money.

They realized they targeted only 2 per cent of the market and thought it is about time they focused on the remaining 98 per cent. With the advent of Covid, the savings proposition took a front seat. According to RBI data, India’s savings came down to 12%-15% by 2020. With so many salary cuts, so they thought of helping people to replenish their savings. In fact, there is no one talking about savings to a driver, a maid, a kirana shop owner, or a construction worker. Siply thought of taking technology to a whole new level to engage with the blue-collared and low-income segment. They saw the opportunity as more of an upliftment of the society.

These are the insights they got from this sector:

  • About 70% of the people they surveyed did not have a formal savings mechanism. This is because, about 65% of them said they don’t even have regular cashflows.
  • About 47% of the respondents said that they needed flexibility in savings, and their savings should be on-demand.
  • Almost 55% of the respondents said that they wanted to be able to save more to manage an emergency situation like Covid. People also wanted to save their surpluses to meet their short-term and long-term objectives.

It is significant to note that these people had the knowledge about chit funds for about a decade!

This helped them design the solution – Siply.

Founded in July 2020 by Sousthav Chakrabarty, Anil Bhat, and Nitin Mittal, Siply is a fintech startup that claims to be catering to 40 crore underserved masses, making them financially independent. This micro-savings app provides frictionless savings with the help of a vernacular approach, digital onboarding, instant withdrawal, and a wide range of investments.

When Siply was launched, they wanted to offer everyone the ability to have a Rs.100 recurring deposit.

They approached the doors of all banks asking for userbase, and explaining their initiative to help the needy, but were refused. The market was not ready to accept common people. But Siply firmly believed that if anything is explained to this low-income segment in terms they can understand, they are extremely open to new suggestions and ideas.

The first thing they went about doing with Siply was, they basically made it available to everyone, even those not having a bank account, because within the application, they had the functionality to open an account. It enabled saving at a micro value, even for Re.1. They completely altered the frequency of savings, since their target market need to be able to save more when the going is good. When the earnings drop, savings can be paused, redeemed up to that point of time. The amount can also be changed practically on a daily basis as needed. All of these savings could be aligned to a goal duration.

Even for an amount of as low as Rs.10, you could start buying gold everyday! Tiny fractions of grams of gold keep accumulating in your account on a daily basis.

The company did an offline pilot with about 250 people from this particular segment. Siply went live just in August 2020, and since then, they have been doing online pilot with a couple of companies.

Kirana store owner introduced to SiplyAuto driver benefiting from Siply

They also got an early interest from logistics companies, garment manufacturers.

The app is also deployed in some larger labor-intensive companies to reach out to larger number of employees. Siply also initiated conversations with wallet companies to benefit the informal work segment like milk vendors, kirana shop owners, etc.

Their conversations with stakeholders discussed downsides like, this is a market where no one has gone after, nobody will trust you easily, they already have their established methods. Nevertheless, most of the VC community was excited.

Fast forward from there, Siply has successfully managed to build a sustainable and profitable model around this segment and is currently creating income opportunities among the underserved 40 Crore Indians.

Winner of the YCC 2020 Future Stars Startup Competition, Siply is also working on enabling micro-savings for users of other platforms through a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model.

The fintech startup has also signed MOUs with Bighaat, Pickmywork, Gig4CE, and Xoxoday, and is in talks with other large institutional partners as well.

Siply has recently raised $1 million in a seed round led by Inflection Point Ventures, one of India’s active angel network.

“Since IPV and its members mainly comprise of CXOs and business owners, we hope to leverage this network to drive the adoption of Siply’s micro-savings proposition in the companies, where IPV members are decision-makers. This should expedite our user acquisition plans,” said Founder and CEO Sousthav Chakrabarty.

The company will use the funds for team expansion, scaling up its technology platform, and conducting initial pilots with its partners.

Siply’s story has shown that together, we can transform how India saves.

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