Bipin Preet Singh (left) and Upasana Taku, co-founders, MobiKwik. “This ‘MobiKwik going nowhere’ talk is all baseless,” says Singh
Image: Madhu Kapparath
For MobiKwik, it’s hard being No 2 for two reasons. While it was under pressure to topple the incumbent, Paytm, the task became even more onerous as the company was backed by Alibaba, and has always been flush with funds. Battle-scarred Bipin Preet Singh, who co-founded MobiKwik along with wife Upasana Taku in 2009, though, asserts he is a survivor.
From cutting cash burn from ₹20 crore a month last year to ₹5-6 crore now, to launching loan business ‘Boost’, MobiKwik has almost doubled its revenue for the fiscal ended March 2018 to ₹85 crore from ₹44 crore last fiscal.
The losses for the corresponding period have also come down to ₹132 crore from ₹150 crore.
In an interview with Forbes India
, Singh claims that MobiKwik is transforming from a wallet player into financial service provider. Dispelling all talks about the uncertainty surrounding the future of the company, triggered by a spate of high-level exits over the last few months and a slow pace of growth, he contends that the company has found its mojo in the credit business. Edited excerpts:Q. People have raised questions about the future of MobiKwik of late.
We are not shutting down or exiting. Yes, there have been a few senior-level exits, but it’s better to hire a 100 percent motivated individual with fewer years of experience than a stalwart who is motivated only 30 percent. It was purely a case of bad hiring and we learnt from our mistake. We have almost doubled our revenue this fiscal, drastically brought down burn rate and are cutting losses. In fact, every month we are adding 3 million new users. We already have more than 100 million users and 3 million merchants. And now we have rolled out the credit business, which is doing wonders for us. So this ‘MobiKwik going nowhere’ talk is all baseless. Q. But you had a high burn rate last year.
Last year was a crazy period as we, along with our competitors, burnt a lot of money. Also some new players entered the segment, which heated up competition. Since March this year, things have settled down and the level of competition has gone down significantly.
Q. What’s happening with the wallet business?
Thanks to our credit venture, which we rolled out in February, our wallet [business] has got a new lease of life. Since February, we have given loans to 1 lakh users. This is the fastest growth by any lending company. While the average ticket size is around ₹35,000, in five months we have disbursed ₹300 crore in loans in association with our lending partners. By next March, we plan to have a loan book of ₹1,500 crore.Q. But doesn’t it bother you that the lending business is getting over-crowded?
I am not surprised to see multiple players entering the business. For all the payment companies, the path towards profitability lies via credit. There’s no other financial services [business] that will help you make money the way credit does. We can build a company like Bajaj Finance over the next few years. In fact, we intend to go public in two to three years.
(This story appears in the 26 October, 2018 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)