“If you ask anybody, they will say that investing is a good idea. But, ask if they invest and that’s when the ball drops,” says Satyajeet Kunjeer, founder of Pune-based fintech firm Deciml. The problem is particularly acute with young people who are starting out in their careers and have never been taught about money. “While this generation is extremely tech-savvy and transacting digitally, it is very undisciplined about their finances,” adds Kunjeer.
Deciml, which recently raised $1 million in a pre-seed round, brings young people into the investment ecosystem with a simple platform that has no payment gateways and does not require users to change their lifestyles. “Roundup investing has existed in the US for more than a decade but only just entered India. In our case, if a young person buys coffee for Rs 45, the amount that is rounded up and automatically deducted from their account is Rs 50, with the extra Rs 5 getting invested on their behalf. We have automated the entire flow and kept it consistent,” says Kunjeer.
He adds that India has a plethora of investing tools that make the process faster and more convenient but has not been able to solve the problem of financial literacy. “If we open any app, the first screen shows a graph about three or five-year returns of a company. What happens to a person who does not understand the graph? What we do not understand, we begin to fear. This is one of the reasons that investment spread is low in the country,” says Kunjeer.
Deciml targets youth aged between 19 and 26 “but the highest amount of adoption is in the age group of 21-24”. “People fresh out of college, doing their internship or in their first jobs have an average salary of Rs 20,0000. They do not have a significant amount of net worth so it would pinch them if, for instance, we asked them to take out an SIP (systematic investment plan) of Rs 3,000 per month. We changed the conversations. In one case, we asked a person if he was ok with investing Rs 100 a day, the cost of a coffee. He was. We made it psychologically easier to invest,” says Kunjeer. Users can start their investing journey with Re 1 through mutual funds and fixed return funds. Freelancers have been enabled to invest according to their earnings.
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Work on Deciml began in November 2020 and it was launched in October last year, with the following months being spent in making the tech more stable. Since June 1, 2022, following the funding announcement, it has been fully operational and acquired 35,000 users. In the next few months, the company targets two million downloads.
India has the largest youth population in the world — 66 per cent is under 35 years old. “There are 367 million people who are between 18 and 28 years. The entire population of the US is around 330 million,” says Kunjeer.
According to the International Labour Organisation, “The Indian labour force is set to grow by over 8 million per annum over the coming decade, most of which will be driven by youth entering the labour market”. Deciml acquires customers from platforms where they exist, such as social media. “A lot of the selling part is easy as they inherently know that investing is good. What we are doing is telling them how easy it is,” says Kunjeer.