After launching SmartUp, a dedicated banking solution for startups in March 2016, HDFC Bank has extended its SmartUp Zones initiative to Bengaluru. As the name suggests, SmartUp Zones are dedicated banking zones within a specific area inside the branch which deals with the activities and interests of startups.
SmartUp banking solution along with the SmartUp Zones initiatives reflect the bank’s objective to harness the potential of the startups and fintech ecosystem using a multi-prolonged approach.
Commenting on the launch of SmartUp Zones, Arun Mediratta, Branch Banking Head, HDFC Bank said, “At HDFC Bank, we believe that startups need partners, who will be with them right from the start of their entrepreneurial journey, creating solutions that evolve as the company grows. With this in mind, we are working towards creating a complete ecosystem to nurture the spirit of innovation and enterprise in the startup space that will spur job creation and bring economic benefits to the country.”
As part of the bank’s strategy, the zones will be established in nine branches across Bengaluru in order to broaden their reach and cater to all startups located in Karnataka.
This includes areas such as Koramangala, M G Road, J P Nagar, Whitefield – ITPL Road, Marathahalli Junction, Indira Nagar CMH Road, BTM Layout, Jayanagar – RVS Paradise, Koramangala – II and HSR Layout.
What’s InStore For Startups At HDFC SmartUp Zones In Bengaluru?
The dedicated SmartUp Zones will cater to all business needs of startup via a highly trained professional banking staff and will offer customised banking and advisory solutions to entrepreneurs. In order to make the provisions more effective for scaling up business operations, the bank enables its customers to access the advanced SmartUp portal. This in turn helps them to tap into the knowledge and expertise of a robust network of startups, while also offering allied services in the process.
The key benefits of the SmartUp current account includes:
- Payment solutions along with advisory and forex services
- Waiver of Average Monthly Balance for the first six months and extendable upto 12 months
- Salary Account for employees by waiving the minimum number of employees criterion.
- PayZapp for Business, a payment and collection solution.
- Dedicated Relationship Manager, recommendation of a Chartered Accountant for Tax, Regulatory and Compliance issues.
- Opportunity to showcase products on SmartBuy (HDFC Bank’s exclusive offers platform) to 37 Mn HDFC customers.
As claimed by HDFC Bank, the SmartUp portal has already been highly appreciated by startups across Bengaluru as over 35% of all existing startup accounts were opened in 2016 alone.
HDFC SmartUp Zones: The Road Ahead
Further, SmartUp Zones will be launched within 65 branches in 30 cities across India, over the coming years including tier II and tier II cities that are gradually emerging as startup hubs.
As part of the extension of support to startups, the bank has also announced the launch of industry Academia where it will work the incubation and entrepreneurship cells at IIT Bombay, IIT Roorkee and IIM Ahmedabad to mentor startups at the institutions. In addition, the bank also intends to collaborate with educational institutions for its Academia programme in India.
Post the roll out of Startup India movement in January 2015, the Indian banking community has taken several measures to be a part of the rising Indian startup community. Similar to HDFC Bank last year, the State Bank of India also launched its first exclusive startup bank branch in Bengaluru – SBI InCube, which is a specialised branch that deals with the banking needs of startups. Also, there are banks like YES Bank and Kotak Mahindra, which are helping the early stage startups in scaling up.
HDFC Bank is among the leading private banks in India and initiatives such as SmartUp are certainly the need of hour, especially in tier II and tier III cities. How well Bengaluru-based entrepreneurs will be able to take advantage of this opportunity and whether HDFC Bank will be able to meet the expectations of the GenX community of startups in the city will be worth watching.