In today’s Internet era, the brands have stepped in a lot closer to the end-customer, now entrepreneurs have started to talk with a public about any questions that they have with reference to the industry, brand, team and more through a real-time and interactive platform like Reddit. In past we have seen people like Deepinder Goyal, Rahul Yadav coming into public and answering the questions asked by public.
Yesterday, Bipin Preet Singh, Founder & CEO, MobiKwik, was seen interacting with the people during his AMA on Reddit.
Founded by Bipin Preet Singh and Upasana Taku in 2009, MobiKwik Wallet enables users to pay in a flash for their mobile recharge and bill payments. It competes with other players like Paytm, Oxigen and Citrus. In April this year, the startup had raised close to $25 Mn in a Series B round led by Tree Line Asia, Cisco Investments, American Express and its existing investor, Sequoia Capital. The wallet, currently has 17k users and about 50,000 merchants.
In his AMA, Bipin was seen pretty active in responding to the queries posted by people. However, there were many complaints posted by frustrated customers post the Reddit AMA which went unanswered by Bipin:
Here is the complete AMA:
Question: Apart from the fact that the App is very light there seems to be nothing redeeming about Mobikwik, the APP UI/UX seems to be exactly the same or in some case worse than Paytm and Freecharge why would you sacrifice focus to be a me too!
Bipin: MobiKwik is the only true wallet app IMHO – you can’t do anything without a wallet experience which is very fast. Recharge or Bill Pay is very fast which is the whole idea. You can do any payment within app without using your phone keyboard ! We are bringing the same experience to other apps – try booking a movie ticket on PVR – you do it within its app and no redirects !
Question: What is your take on most of the Indian startups being just an implementation or blatant copy of already successful companies. Without even trying to innovate or refine the ideas and trying to provide a technically superior product to the customers. Everyday there is another mobile wallet & recharge app,another e-commerce site or yet new song app just like the one before them.
Bipin: I don’t think MobiKwik or even mobile wallets like MobiKwik are there anywhere else in the world. In fact, unlike other verticals, we have no peers anywhere else in the world. This includes Paypal. I face this question every time – are you an Uber of something ? No.
I can’t answer for others – one advantage of copying proven models is that capital is easily available.
Question: What is your distant goal(5 years) as an e-wallet?
Bipin: 1.Replace cash at significant scale
2.Provide you better faster banking on your phone
Question: How are you managing privacy with Mobikwik? I’ve been wary of using mobile payments cos I don’t want to hand over access to all my private stuff. Is that an issue that I need to be concerned about?
Question: Mobikwik claims: MobiKwik offers payment by credit card, debit card, net banking, and even cash pay. However, Payment by Cash is NOT available. It may lose credibility by such false statements.
Bipin: We have a cashpay service where you can deposit cash into your nearest ICICI bank branch and it shows up instantly in your wallet. You don’t need to have a bank account for this.
Our mission to reduce cash and you will soon see more around this.
Question: India’s renowned Investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala believes that Flipkart (and other E-commerce cos.) have a flawed business model and expects this E-com bubble to burst sooner or later. In light of this, how does MobiKwik plan to be financially viable?
Bipin: Our model is more user centric than transaction centric. Each MobiKwik customer does transactions multiple times on the platform and the use cases like food, travel, recharge, bill payments are more sticky than online shopping. So the model is different IMHO – we want to be everywhere you are using money for daily life use cases.
Question: What advice would you like to give to someone who aspires to do his own Tech Startup?
Bipin: 1. Learn to code.
2. Hire someone better for 1.
Question: What is the future of online wallets like MobiKwik? Currently, it is largely bridging a need gap – being the intermediary for small merchants so that they don’t have to invest in 2-factor authentication. But what after RBI reduces stringency in its rules?
Bipin: It is not just a 2FA fix. We are bringing new debit card users into digital txn mix. This is real impact. Remember, India has 250 million smartphone/internet users but only 35-40 million pay online. Only 7 lac SME’s accept electronic payments. This is huge opportunity to convert to electronic and replace cash.
Question: Do you see mobile banking such as SBI as a challenge for wallets?
Bipin: In long term, mobile banking does compete with wallets. However, it is hard for banks to compete with us – biggest ones move very slowly and we are seeing adoption faster than smaller ones. We are changing our product as we speak, and tech is our strength – we do everything including client, design, product, infra, security inhouse. And this makes a big difference.
Question: MobiKwik was launched earlier then Paytm but lately paytm has become more popular than MobiKwik, How do you plan to change this
Bipin: We aim to be better and focused on this business – shouldn’t the better become more popular ?
Question: In your opinion who is best positioned to win the wallet wars and become PayPal of India or Do you expect multiple players to exist at the same time ?
Bipin:I think at least 2 players will be there.
Question: What is the best thing about your journey with mobikwik so far?
Bipin:The journey has been fantastic lots of ups and downs – but I like this – hustling every day. Also payments/financial services is an opportunity to have significant impact for large number of people – that motivates me above everything else. The kind of new stuff we are working on will change the way people view payments/fintech/banking.
Question: What separates you from other e-wallets?
Bipin: Our focus. We have no other business and a proven model with significant scale on consumer and merchant side and plenty of innovation. We will make it work, howsoever long it takes, and whatever we have to do on product/tech/adoption side to see it happen.
Question: Why have you discontinued telephone helpline numbers which is the fastest mean of solving the issues??
Bipin: We have a very comprehensive FAQ and help section in our apps. We try to follow a TAT for replies within the app. Do check it out. Phone support is also there but not toll free – its too expensive at current scale. If you see a wrong number, do send it to me on email – will get it sorted.
Question: Haven’t used your wallet till now becoz of privacy issues. How secure? Do u share details to any 3rd party?
Bipin: We are fully secure and don’t share any details with any third party. We are not an ecommerce platform and don’t plan to become one. We think consumer payments + banking is a big challenging opportunity. Right now, its more about changing consumer behavior – maybe cashbacks help you overcome your initial fear ?
Question: What do you think of PayTM’s move to e-commerce?
Bipin: No comments – their strategy.
Question: Which new innovations and startups in the mobile payments space are you betting on?
Bipin: I’m betting on MobiKwik ! Keep tuned in !
Question: What are you planning to do with the $25 Mn you raised in Series B?
Bipin: Build a strong team and invest in innovation. Some branding as well.
Question: One can easily look at the android app code find your API calls and figure out what is happening in your app. Security through obscurity is not security. The purpose of obfuscation should be to prevent people from stealing code. It’s not a security mechanism. At best, it can make it a little more difficult. When doing a security audit of your application, you should assume people know what’s happening in your application.
Bipin: We pro-guard our apps religiously. Security is something critical when it comes to handling money. If you find a hack, do report to me on my email.