7 years back on this day, 05 June 2015, we incorporated Finwizard Technology, the legal entity that runs Fisdom. The brand Fisdom was born a few months later in 2016.
It was only seven years ago but it seems like a couple of decades. Investing was a pain in the back then. It took anywhere between a few days to a couple of weeks just to complete the KYC. The difficulty of sieving through the jargon around financial products made it even more painful. Most investment companies had someone visit the customer with a bunch of papers and a pen to help them invest. These were the days of demonetization and long before the UPI revolution. The usage of apps for financial transactions was limited to e-commerce.
So, from day one, we had only one objective – to make investing simple, accessible, and trustworthy.
There has been a sea change in the investing landscape now. Aadhaar KYC has made it simpler and faster to open an investment account – it takes just 2 minutes now. Payment systems are so much more efficient and we have several 100s of millions of users who are comfortable with digital transactions (the credit goes to e-commerce).
Customers, these days, are well aware and are smarter, thanks to widely available user-generated content on finance and investing. Cheaper mobile data rates have made this possible. Covid further removed access barriers. The older customers who were earlier averse to using mobile apps for financial transactions had to adapt as physical access to banks was restricted during this period. Also, thanks to UPI, customers based out of Tier 3, 4, or 5 towns are now comfortable with using mobile apps to carry out financial transactions. Together, these factors have created a boom in investments. The upsurge in the number of Demat accounts and mutual fund folios is evidence.
While a lot changed, many things have remained the same. Investing is still seen as a complex activity, everything is jargon-filled, misselling is rampant, and personalization at scale is absent. We at Fisdom continue to remain stoked about solving these challenges for our customers.
Here is an example of our customer – Priyanka Ghatge, 29 is a shopkeeper in a tier 2 town, completely new to the investment world. She works hard every day to support her family financially and wants to have a second source of income to support her family better. She wants to have a second source of income to support her family better but she does not have any knowledge of investments and as a result, she does not feel confident about her decisions. Priyanka needs guidance to understand investing and an intuitive product that allows her to be more confident about her decisions.
Back in 2016, we started with just one product – mutual funds. But we have several firsts to our name. We were the first company in India to completely digitize account opening and KYC process – something which subsequently became the industry standard. Fisdom was also the first company in India to introduce the use of a payment gateway to process mutual fund transactions on the BSE platform. We were also the first to make Pension funds(NPS) completely digital. A goal-based investment platform was another first. Over the next 3 years, we added insurance, digital gold, tax filing, and recently stock broking. We also expanded into the mass-affluent and affluent segment of customers by adding a private wealth business.
Our biggest achievement by far has been convincing large banks to work with us to help their customers access investment solutions right within their mobile banking apps and in the branches. Today, we work deeply with 15 national and regional banks where we run their wealth-tech business. With the Fisdom SDK integrated into the banks’ mobile and internet banking apps; we are present in nearly 50 million phones in India. We serve only one million customers out of those 50 million as of today. We have just begun. Most of the iceberg is still under the surface waiting to be explored.
The journey has not been easy either – the first bank took 24 months to sign up; the second bank took another 18. Today, we get inbound requests to be the wealth partner for some of the most well-known banks in the country.
As we celebrate our 7th year, our tribe of nearly 500 Fisdomites is even more passionate about our objectives than we were on day one. Seeing our customers achieve their dreams through investments keeps us excited and wanting to do more. There is a wealth of possibilities. Come join us.
The author is the Co-founder & CEO of Fisdom