Flexmoney’s digital credit platform enables lenders to offer mass-market, ‘sachet-sized’ digital point of sale BNPL credit to its customers. We speak to Yezdi Lashkari, CEO of Flexmoney in a bid to get to know their inner workings with AI, and how AI is shaping the future of consumer lending
Your venture Flexmoney enables users to avail bite-sized loans on ecommerce platforms. What are the trends you have seen or insights you have gathered vis-a-vis the use of AI by such platforms?
AI in financial services and BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later_is being used in a number of parts of the credit lifecycle – for underwriting customers, detecting fraud patterns, predicting delinquency and default behavior, and as a potential for upsells and cross-sells. Flexmoney is a BNPL and commerce infrastructure which enables banks and NBFCs to offer mass market instant digital credit to customers across any merchant point of sale. We use AI/ML for identity and KYC verification in our origination engine as well as undertake real-time fraud detection based on purchase patterns across our network.
You have seen the course of digital payments in India from evolution to maturity from closed quarters. How do you see it graduating to the next level?
Consumer preferences are shifting away from rigid, cumbersome, silo’d legacy banking products such as personal loans, credit cards, consumer finance desks at merchants, to a single, flexible, digital credit line useable everywhere for consumption finance, whether it is ordering food or groceries via BNPL, buying a new mobile phone, or booking a vacation getaway via EMI.
We believe the future of consumer credit will be digital, mobile, cardless, and user-centric where the financing will be embedded in the commerce journey for the consumer and the consumer will be in control. In addition, user behavior is shifting – consumption finance is moving away from larger ticket bank loans (INR 2L+) to ‘sachet-sized’ credit purchases (< INR 25,000). Flexmoney’s digital credit platform enables lenders to offer mass-market, ‘sachet-sized’ digital point of sale BNPL credit to its customers.
How, in your opinion, are consumer lending firms such as yours leveraging technology to provide credit? What are the risks involved and challenges faced by Flexmoney’s way of offering loans ‘buy now, pay later’?
Until now, Credit Cards were the only instrument of credit consumption. Banks have found it un-viable to expand the reach of credit cards beyond the top 3% of Indian population. Consumer lending firms are using technology to expand the reach of credit and increase customer access through technology integrations and partnerships.
Flexmoney’s, InstaCredTM, India’s First Full-Lifecycle BNPLCredit Network Platform enables trusted Banks and NBFCs to easily offer branded, sachet-sized, cardless, digital credit lines to their customers. Our seamless and secure user experience identifies the user via their registered mobile number and authorizes the credit purchase in real-time via our checkout integrated UX. No card or card number is required.
Unlike most fintech BNPL lenders, we are a B2B2C fintech infrastructure company. Our mission is to enable mass-market digital credit for the consumption ecosystem including banks, NBFCs, merchants and brands.
What are some of the existing gaps in the digital credit market and how do you intend to address them as a leading market player?
The disruption from e-commerce, EMI and BNPL checkout finance, and the customer shift to mobile-first payments and banking has created an ecosystem-wide market gap for a mass-market digital purchase credit product. Traditional banks & NBFCs have been unable to address this opportunity with their legacy offerings of credit cards and loans. Flexmoney is building the next-generation credit infrastructure to address this market gap for the ecosystem. We aim to scale our credit network footprint to many more lenders and merchants, as well as launch additional products and consolidate our position as the leading digital credit and BNPL infrastructure in India with the vision to simplify and democratize consumer credit.
How competitive is the space you work in and how do you plan to stay ahead of the curve?
Unlike most fintech BNPL lenders, we are not a direct-to-consumer lender ourselves. We are a B2B2C fintech infrastructure company. Our digital credit network platform enables trusted banks & NBFCs to offer a best-in-class, branded digital credit and BNPL product to the market. In that sense, we are somewhat unique as an enabling BNPL infrastructure and distribution network for the ecosystem
What is the brand which comes to people's mind when they think about purchasing consumer electronics- is it Reliance Digital Retail Ltd.? Has Xiaomi Technology finally positioned itself as a premium brand? What is common between multi-brand electronic retailers and the people who visit them? What is consumer mindset of someone who wants to purchase consumer electronics and what other places these people go to and what are their brand affinities like?
Sherlock AI (powered by Infinite Analytics) looks into all the people who visited consumer electronics stores in the month of October and connects the dots. Take a 3 minute journey and understand consumer mindset of electronics buyers analytically!
Did you know that jewelry stores’ visitation went up by 125% during the Dhanteras weekend? Sherlock AI analyzed all consumers who visited jewelry stores pan-India and revealed that though typical weekend footfall surges in Jewelry shops is around 16%, the Dhanteras weekend contributed to a whopping 125% surge! WHOA!
Indians have always preferred gold as an asset class and an investment vehicle. With Dhanteras being among the most auspicious occasions to buy gold, Indians did indeed flock to the ‘market’ to buy gold.
It’s most obvious in the digital media space, from click buys to personalized web experiences. For marketing, the AI journey has just kick-started, while in the tech sector it has been applied for a while now. We are still at an early stage where inroads are being made into AI content via chatbots and even some explanatory content creation but what will make anyone jump up and embrace it is when we will start seeing a lot of mainstream content being created by AI.
Prior to joining Infinite Analytics, Richard served as the CFO of CrowdFlower, COO and CFO of Phoenix Technologies, as a member of the board of directors and chairman of the Audit Committee at Intellisync, and previously as CFO and executive vice president strategy and corporate development at Charles Schwab.
Pravin Gandhi has over 50 years of entrepreneurial operational and investing experience in the IT industry in India. He was a founding partner of the first early stage fund India - INFINITY. Subsequently a founding partner in Seedfund I & II. With over 18 years of investing experience, he is extensively well networked in investment and entrepreneurial scene and is an active early stage angel investor in tech & impact space. Pravin holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Cornell University, and serves on the board of several private corporations in India. He is on the board of SINE, IIT Mumbai Incubator.
Puru has his Masters in Engineering and Management from MIT. Prior to MIT, he worked with Fidelity Investments building electronic trading products and high volume market data processing applications. He has completed his BE from VJTI, Mumbai.
Deb Roy is Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT where he directs the MIT Center for Constructive Communication, and a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. He leads research in applied machine learning and human-machine interaction with applications in designing systems for learning and constructive dialogue, and for mapping and analyzing large scale media ecosystems. Deb is also co-founder and Chair of Cortico, a nonprofit social technology company that develops and operates the Local Voices Network to surface underheard voices and bridge divides.
Roy served as Executive Director of the MIT Media Lab from 2019-2021. He was co-founder and CEO of Bluefin Labs, a media analytics company that analyzed the interactions between television and social media at scale. Bluefin was acquired by Twitter in 2013, Twitter’s largest acquisition of the time. From 2013-2017 Roy served as Twitter’s Chief Media Scientist.
Erik Brynjolfsson is the Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Professor and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI (HAI), and Director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab. He also is the Ralph Landau Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), Professor by Courtesy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Department of Economics, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).
Akash co-founded IA while studying for his MBA from MIT. Prior to MIT Sloan, he co-founded Zoonga. Before this, Akash was an engineer with Oracle in Silicon Valley. He has completed his M.S from University of Cincinnati and B.E from the College of Engineering, Pune.