Akshay Mehrotra – Simplifying Lending!

Akshay Mehrotra |EarlySalary
Akshay Mehrotra | Co-founder & CEO | EarlySalary

The below excerpt is an exclusive interview with Akshay MehrotraCo-founder & CEO of EarlySalary.
IS: Brief us about you and your journey since the beginning of your career.
Mr. Akshay: After completing my Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Symbiosis Pune, I started my own Start-up venture EarlySalary, a Fintech Start-Up which uses new age technology for lending funds. I have 16 years of experience in strategic planning and marketing and have worked with brands like Future Retail Ltd, PolicyBazaar.com, Big Bazaar and Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Co. Ltd. I was also conferred as one of the Most Talented CMO of the year award in 2013 – 2014 in the retail space, by CMO Asia.
IS: How do you describe yourself in one/two word? Who has been your guide, source of inspiration, support?
Mr. Akshay: Determined and Self-motivated
IS: What do you like most about your job? State us about your passions, mission, and goals. What acts as a motivation tool for you?
Mr. Akshay: As the Chief Executive Officer at EarlySalary, I oversee the implementation of the company’s product strategy and focus towards building EarlySalary as a Financial Institution. I believe my unwavering passion for customer service and attention to detail, is one of my biggest strengths. Our TG of young working professionals is the fasted growing segment in the country and hence we would like to build EarlySalary as a market leader in this category.
IS: Kindly describe in brief about your company and its services/products.
Mr. Akshay: Headquartered in Pune, EarlySalary is a salary advance mobile application that enables users to borrow money for urgent cash requirements before they get their monthly wages. This Fintech Company uses new age technology for lending funds. The company aims to deliver a revolutionary new business model which is set to change the lending market in India. EarlySalary was founded with a mission to offer consumers the convenience of availing loans at a short notice with minimum legal formalities involved. The service is available as a Mobile App that offers small bridge loans to working professional who are short on cash and need funds till their salary gets credited at the start of next month. Users can just download the mobile application and login using their Facebook account with some basic details and apply for a loan. Within minutes, the user will be notified whether his/her loan request has been approved or not. Once the documents are approved through the mobile app, the money gets transferred to the loan seekers account within minutes.
IS: State us your major achievements and your company’s achievements under your leadership.
Mr. Akshay: The inception of EarlySalary took place when we realised there is a large credit underserved population in India. Easily accessible financial assistance was non-existent for young professionals and blue or grey collar workers in the country. We set up EarlySalary to initially provide short-term financial solutions to help our users combat the month – end cash crunch. The company began operations in 2016 and now, EarlySalary is India’s largest consumer lending application for salaried professionals having disbursed over INR 1350 crores so far. We are also the ‘financial wellness’ partner for more than 300 companies. We have also introduced a free credit score feature for our users to make it easier for them to check their credit score and take steps towards improving their financial health. EarlySalary has won numerous awards and has been touted as one of the Must – Have applications on a millennials phone. 
IS: State us about the most memorable and remarkable moments of your life.
Mr. Akshay: EarlySalary was launched in Feb 2016 and within 3 years of the launch of mobile app, the company has disbursed 9L loans amounting to Rs.1, 550 Crores. The mobile application has 9 million downloads disbursing 80,000 loans, amounting to INR 140 CR per month. Moreover, nearly 400+ corporates and over 1 million employees have partnered with the Financial Wellness Offering & Salary Advances of EarlySalary which help the users to create a financial cushion in times of need.
IS: Kindly tell us about the challenges you took and the risk associated with it and how did you overcome them?
Mr. Akshay: Learning a new business model and then to disrupt it with new technology was a huge challenge. Having to learn something new is a big leap, especially when you are a seasoned professional. EarlySalary is my dream project. In the last three and a half years we have gone through phases where funding cycles were critical, and we came out with flying colours with marquee investors like Eight Roads (Fidelity) Ventures and Chirate (IDG) Ventures participating in the funding rounds. Today we have raised not only $ 23Million in Equity but also raised more than $50Million in debt to build growth our business and today have disbursed over Rs.1500Cr.
Growth cannot happen without building a strong team; at EarlySalary we have been able to build a strong team of nearly 250 people comprising of data scientist, core technology development, and risk & underwriting, collections, product and marketing which allow us to grow business in a high automated manner. Large customer acceptance is critical to any early stage business, today we have over 9Million app downloads, disbursed over 900,000 loans and tied-up with over 400+ large corporates to help kick start hyper growth.
IS: Share your point of view on the current scenario of the industry and its future.
Mr. Akshay: With internet penetration, technology in the financial space is catching up in India. Right from shopping to financial transactions, everything is gradually going digital now. The long and cumbersome process of getting loans from banks has been cut short with just few clicks made using smartphones. Today, the Fintech startups have been successfully addressing the under-served micro- and small-business segments for their financial needs which are not met by banks. Fintech is indeed a complex ecosystem but has been rapidly evolving. The overall potential for Fintech in India is very promising. It is imperative for governments, regulators, financial institutions, entrepreneurs, lenders, borrowers, market participants, investors and lending platforms to play a responsible role towards the development of this powerful business model. Currently in India, the personal loan and credit card debt outstanding is close to Rs. 576,600 crore at the end of FY18. Today, only 20% of working young salaried professionals have an access to credit cards. Hence, this creates a huge potential for EarlySalary.com for tapping the remaining youth population of India looking for easy loans.
IS: What would you advise to the budding entrepreneurs?
Mr. Akshay: Focus on building a model which makes business sense not a problem you want to solve.
IS: Please tell us about your future business plans.
Mr. Akshay: Our TG of young working professionals is the fasted growing segment in the country and hence we would like to build EarlySalary as a market leader in this category. And in next 3 years, we aim to build a billion dollar balance sheet.

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