In a bid to boost the fintech ecosystem in India, the Reserve Bank Of India (RBI) formally launched the account aggregator system last year, which will bring all the disparate financial data of an individual to one platform. Account aggregator or AA is said to be the final piece of the digital banking and economy puzzle. With a focus on security, data privacy and allowing ease of access of fintech data, the digital platform allows individuals and small businesses to not only securely transfer data after their consent but also have visibility and control over the use of that data.
Since its announcement, not only has the account aggregator framework seen wide-range adoption but also earned appreciation from notaries from the Indian startup ecosystem. Through various workshops, the pilot organisation has been working to accelerate the adoption of account aggregator framework as well as build awareness on the new technology and support its implementation and integration.
Recently, Sahamati, a collective for the account aggregator ecosystem, partnered with Mumbai Fintech Hub (MFH) for the launch of the first edition of the Uday-Sahamati Case Study Competition. With the theme for the case study being ‘Account Aggregators’, the competition invited budding and aspiring entrepreneurs from PAN India to come up with innovative use cases around it.
What Is The Uday Case Study Competition?
Companies and fintech startups that qualify as financial information users (FIU) can build several use cases in the AA ecosystem. While there are conventional use cases — such as lending tech, wealth management, personal finance management apps, and more — the MFH competition was about finding new players that are innovating on products and services which were not originally considered before.
Particularly focussing on engineering and MBA students, the competition aimed at identifying practical use cases of the AA framework for the financial services ecosystem. Beginning on May 29 2020, the competition went on for four weeks to conclude on June 29 2020.
The launch of the event was with a virtual workshop to familiarise the participating students with the AA and API framework, and the key details of the competition. Post which the competition followed the following process:
- Idea Submission: After registration, the interested students, in a group of 1-3, submitted a short summary of their ideas
- Idea Shortlisting: Post the submission, a panel of experts shortlisted the top 10 ideas basis the degree of innovation, practical application and impact on the future of financial services
- Idea Detailing: Once shortlisted the selected students were asked to develop their ideas into detailed plans. For the same, the students received mentorship from the AA ecosystem partners and financial services industry experts
- Winner Recognition: With the help of the mentors, the students gave a presentation of their detailed plans. Post the evaluation of presentation the winner and runner up were announced
The top 10 finalists of the competition presented their final presentations to the panellists on June 25 and 26, 2020. Among the panellists and mentors in the competition, were notaries such as:
- Amit Saraf, vice president, Reliance Jio
- BG Mahesh, cofounder and CEO, Sahamati
- Deepak P., chief manager, startup engagement and investments, ICICI Bank
- Gopal Shivapuja, associate director, client success, Oracle America
- Hitesh Sachdev, head, startup engagement and investments, ICICI Bank
- Kantharaju HG, head of operations, Perfios-AA
- Karan Javaji, specialist, digital financial infrastructure
- NR Sudarshan, vice president, CAMS
- Venky Varadarajan, product and delivery head, Yodlee FinSoft
Amongst the use-cases presented by the top 10 teams were those such as financial emergency management for masses, fraud investigation, tax and audit services using AA data, AA for financial data for the insurance industry and more.
The runner up for the competition was Team Nivesh of Delhi University and IIM Calcutta, comprising Aditya Garg, Anansh Gupta and Onkar Garg as team members. The use case presented by the team was ‘leveraging AA network to offer hassle-free, transaction-based trade credit insurance to Indian MSMEs’.
And emerging as the winner for the competition was Team Phoenix of K J Somaiya College of Engineering, Mumbai, comprising Neha Kesarkar and Abhinav Kshirsagar as team members. The use case presented by the team was ‘leveraging AA framework to bridge the financing gap between small/marginal farmers and formal lending institutions’.
Commenting on the completion of the competition and its success, Suniti Nanda, fintech officer, Govt. of Maharashtra said, “We planned the Uday-Sahamati Case Study Competition to provide an opportunity for young minds to get exposure to fintech concepts and use their creativity to contribute to the Account Aggregator framework that Sahamati is driving. It was heartening to see such enthusiastic participation and the emergence of practical, innovative ideas that can have a potential impact on the reach of the financial services sector.”
Adding to that Sahamati’s Mahesh said, “The account aggregator framework is fairly new, yet it was very encouraging to see the participation from young and entrepreneurial minds. The use cases were very relevant for increasing the financial inclusion in India. The participants have given a lot of ideas for Sahamati to work upon.”