Tarush Bhalla Mint, New Delhi
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Tarush Bhalla reports, "The venture is in stealth mode and will focus on financial products for women in both metros and smaller cities. "
Shinjini Kumar, Paytm Payments Bank's first chief executive, Aditi Sholapurkar, a member of its founding team, along with Chaitra Chidanand, co-founder of fintech startup Simpl, are gearing up to launch Salt, a financial services venture for women.
The venture is in stealth mode and will focus on financial products for women in both metros and smaller cities. Salt will look at expanding the scope and easing the use of financial services for women by adopting a community-based approach. It will partner with other financial institutions and look at offline distribution in Tier 2 and 3 cities.
The co-founders of the Bengaluru-headquartered firm formally came together in September last year and are aiming to launch its app in May.
Salt took shape after the co-founders extensively studied the financial services space for women, identified the loopholes, and realized that even working women continue to feel the pressure of not being able to control their finances, they said. "Financial services have historically taken a reductionist approach, reducing everything to a colour and putting the symbolism of a woman on debit cards to promote these products to them.
At Salt, we are taking the approach of listening from real women and taking those insights to contextualise and build products. The conversation also helps women connect dots and see money in a new perspective," Sholapurkar said. A recent report from Microsave Consulting titled 'The real story of women's financial inclusion in India' states that 23% of Indian women still do not have access to formal financial services. Of the 77% who do, 44% are dormant customers, due to lack of motivation, convenience, and regular income flow.
"Through the venture, we want to promote the idea that money and life choices can work together. Often women have to give up life choices because certain things are not available to them. We want to ensure that money isn't that factor and they can make better life choices, through their money," said Kumar, who has previously worked with Reserve Bank of India, Bank of America, and CitiGroup.
"Women are more prudent customers and would not buy anything just because it is marketed that way," said Chidanand, who left the board of Simpl to research for the new startup.
The target audience for Salt is the middle to upper income segment of women, across all age groups, including both working professionals as well as homemakers and entrepreneurs.
Currently, Salt has around seven employees across design and engineering functions and plans to ramp it up to 50 next year.
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