Life is not a template and neither is mine. Like several who have worked as journalists, I am a generalist in my over two decade experience across print, global news wires and dotcom firms. But there has been one underlying theme in each phase; life gave me the chance to observe and tell a story -- from early days tracking a securities scam to terror attacks and some of India's most significant court trials. Besides writing, I have jumped fences to become an entrepreneur, as an investment advisor -- and also taught the finer aspects of business journalism to young minds. At Forbes India, I also keep an eye on some of its proprietary specials like the Rich list, GenNext and Celebrity lists. An alumnus of Xavier Institute of Communications and H.R College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, I have worked for organisations such as Agence France-Presse, Business Standard, The Financial Express and The Times of India prior to this.
Private lender HDFC Bank has identified five startups whose services it plans to offer to its customers, in its bid to further boost its digital banking operations. The five companies operate in the sectors of artificial intelligence, marketing, quality assurance and payment solutions.
These were chosen from a shortlist of 30, after receiving 105 applications, at the launch of its Digital Innovation Summit earlier this month.
HDFC Bank’s Digital Banking country head Nitin Chugh said: “We are not just encouraging but also embracing disruptive innovation in the fintech space. The engagement with these companies gives the bank access to latest technologies and products to further enhance customer experience.”
A plethora of startups have mushroomed in India and other Asian economies, disrupting some segments of financial services, from payments and insurance to SME lending and crowd funding, in recent years.
The five startups chosen are:
Senseforth Technologies: A Bengaluru-based startup which addresses customer queries and resolves issues using an artificial intelligence platform, across mobiles and websites, in English
S2Pay (Net Vigil Software): Mumbai-based mobile wallet firm whose main differentiation is that the user need not be connected to the internet; payment works on a QR 24-digit code, with the PIN as a signature
Tagnpin: Gurgaon-based marketing company which helps banks to improve personalised interaction with customers, on mobile and the internet
Bugclipper Technologies: A Mumbai-based firm which helps boost testing and fixing mobile application bugs
Tapits Technologies (FingPay): An Indore-based payments solution firm using biometric authentication in retail markets, to make them cashless and can be done without using mobiles
These five firms will get a chance to deploy their products with HDFC Bank customers, but after completing a technical, security and compliance test. The nature of the partnership between these firms and the bank – relating to a licence agreement or hosting – were being discussed.
HDFC Bank introduced internet banking in 1999 and SMS-based banking a year after that. Mobile banking started at the bank in 2012 and in 2015, HDFC Bank launched its banking application for the Apple Watch in 2015. HDFC Bank has also launched a mobile app called Chillr, which allowed customers to transfer funds instantly to any contact in their phone book.
As of December 31, 2015, HDFC Bank had 4,281 branches and 11,843 ATMs across 2,505 cities.