Deciml is a micro-investing app which targets users in the 21-27 years age group
The investment tech startup has closed a $1 Mn pre-seed round which also saw participation from Unacademy cofounder Gaurav Munjal, Ritesh Malik, among others
Deciml aims to add at least 1% more young investors to India’s investment ecosystem: Founder Satyajeet Kunjeer
Despite a large number of new startups emerging in the country to make investing convenient for the masses, the number of Indians investing, through any mode, remains low.
There are two reasons behind the low participation numbers – overall perception towards savings and investment, and low financial literacy. Overall, the financial literacy rate of adults in India stands around 27%, a survey report by neobank Streak revealed.
The emergence of YouTube channels and websites producing content around financial guidance, along with an increase in the number of financial influencers, has made it easier for digital savvy consumers to understand the basics of investment and savings. Despite this, around 64% of young Indians are still unsure about whom to trust when it comes to investing in financial instruments, a Dinero study said.
Besides, the lack of big savings prevents many Indians from investing, especially the ones who are at their first or second jobs.
The power of compounding is the basic principle of savings or investments. With this motto, Satyajeet Kunjeer built the micro-investing and micro-savings startup Deciml in November 2020 to inculcate financial discipline among young Indians in the 21-27 years age group.
After a journey of one-and-a-half years of being bootstrapped, the Pune-based fintech startup recently raised $1 Mn in a pre-seed round from strategic investors including venture capital firms like Unnati Labs, Agility Ventures, and MyAsia VC.
Angel investors such as — Gaurav Munjal, cofounder and CEO of Unacademy; Ritesh Malik, founder of Innov8 (acquired by OYO); Mukund Jha, CTO of Dunzo; and Raunak Munot, cofounder of Bombay Shaving Company also participated in this round of funding.
The fintech startup has also onboarded creators such as Bhuvan Bam, Ranveer Allahbadia, Raj Shamani, Suhani Shah, Praful Billore, Varun Thakur, Viraj Sheth and Rohit Raj as investors.
How Does Deciml Operate?
The people in the 21 to 27 age group are tech-savvy and transact digitally, however, they lack the discipline required for money management, Kunjeer told Inc42 during an interaction. This stems from the idea that investment is associated with retirement and high income, he added.
“You can start investing very small at a very early age. Investment is more of a factor of how long you are doing it, rather than how much. If youngsters start saving from their first job, it can accumulate into a very large corpus down the road,” he said.
With his formal education in finance, Kunjeer set up the fintech startup during the Covid years. However, this is not the first entrepreneurial venture of the Deciml founder. He cofounded agritech startup Grospire in 2017. During his tenure, he helped to bring INR 7 Cr sales to the company. However, after around 2 years, he left the startup which is still being run by his cofounders.
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“With growing aspirations and consumption, we wanted to create a super convenient way to get more young adults into the investment habit, without compromising on their aspirational lifestyles. We’re deeply passionate about solving this problem and uplifting India’s investment penetration from the current low of 3.5%,” he said.
With Deciml, Kunjeer aims to add at least 1% more young investors to India’s investment ecosystem.
The investment tech startup provides three investment options to its users – investing through rounding up, daily investment, and one-time investment. For the round-up investment, the app reads the SMS sent by the bank after each transaction and initiates a second investment automatically. For instance, if a user pays INR 45 for a coffee, the app automatically debits the nearest roundoff amount, INR 5, for investment in mutual funds or fixed-income assets.
For daily investment, the user can set an amount as per their choice, and that amount will be deducted daily from the bank account for a month. In the case of one-time investment, users can directly invest any amount as per their choice.
“Once users download the app and register, we integrate it with their UPI. We don’t need any integration with other vendors. Users also can use any digital payment method,” he explained.
The app went live on Google Play Store in October 2021 and has 18,000 users. Until now, around INR 35 Lakh has been invested through the app, Kunjeer said. With the official launch happening today, Deciml wants to onboard at least 5 Lakh investors over the next 12-15 months.
The Way Ahead For Deciml
The startup would focus on team expansion and marketing with the funds raised. “We have built on the product side. Now, we are looking at strengthening the team and non-linear growth in terms of customer acquisition,” he said.
Talking about the rationale behind having creators on board, he said the startup would focus on influencer marketing as a part of its overall marketing initiatives.
Currently, the fintech startup is operating with a small team of nine members. It wants to scale up the team to 25 members by the end of this year.
Deciml primarily competes against the likes of Niyo and Jar in India’s $9.2 Bn investment tech market. Backed by investors such as Accel and Lightrock, Niyo also offers a micro investing tool to put spare change to use for millennials who want to save and invest in mutual funds in small amounts. It rounds up all spending made with NiyoX account to the next INR 10, 50, or 100 as per user choice and saves the spare change. Once the accumulated corpus becomes INR 100, it is invested in a mutual fund scheme. Tiger Global-backed Jar, on the other hand, lets users invest in digital gold.
The investment tech startups in the country have seen a lot of interest from the investors, raising $1.2 Bn till date. Of this, $1 Bn has been raised since January 2020.
While India is home to the largest youth population of the world, the young Indians have been facing many crises. The pandemic came as the biggest blow for them as it accelerated the unemployment rate in the country.
As the impact of the pandemic started receding and people started going back to their normal lives, the economy started recovering with many new job opportunities in the market. However, the Ukraine-Russia war and the rise in inflation have emerged as the new challenges.
While India provides huge opportunities in terms of Deciml’s target market, there are also a lot of challenges. The success of the startup in navigating this treacherous path will decide its future.