Open, the neobank backed by Google and Tiger Global, plans to onboard about 10 million small businesses over three years to solve a range of challenges SMEs to manage their business finances using technology.
Open, in cooperation with banks, offers a business account that helps SMEs automate and effectively manage their finances. The company, which works with the 14 largest Indian banks, intends to onboard around 250 banks worldwide that would use its platform and technology. It plans to expand its operations globally to markets such as Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
“We founded Open five years ago primarily to solve the challenges that small businesses face in business banking as there are many inefficiencies in the existing processes,” said Anish Achuthan, co-founder and CEO of Open, in an interview. “Today, many large banks across the country are using our solution to launch their own neobanks.”
For example, the company’s BankingStack solution enables banks and financial institutions to adopt digital banking services. It is used in more than 15 banks in India and 2 banks in Southeast Asia. In this way, banks can complement their own digital banking offerings and offer their customers a first-class experience.
“We enable traditional banks to offer their customers better banking experiences,” said Achuthan.
Open competes with players like Razorpay and UK fintech companies like Revolut and Tide.
Open recently became India’s 100th unicorn after raising $100 million led by Temasek, Google and SBI Investments. It now serves more than 2.3 million SMEs and processes $30 billion worth of transactions annually. The platform brings 100,000 new SMEs and startups on board every month.
The platform enables businesses to collect payments, make transparent payments and streamline spend management. Other processes include compliance management, automatic reconciliation and categorization of income and expenses, and thus the automation of accounting.
“We currently manage $2 billion worth of deposits on our platform. We aim to increase that to around $7 billion by next year,” Achuthan said.
Open was founded in 2017 by multiple fintech entrepreneurs Anish Achuthan and Mabel Chacko along with Ajeesh Achuthan and Deena Jacob in 2017.
As a natural progression, Open now also uses the SME credit space. The platform is preparing to launch three new products aimed at boosting SME capital needs on top of its existing SME credit card offerings. New products include Open Flo – a revenue-based financing product for e-commerce businesses, Open Settl – an early settlement loan offering and Open Capital – a working capital loan offering for SMEs.
Open intends to disburse $1 billion in loans over the next 12 months through the new suite of products on the platform.
For this, Open and IIFL Finance Ltd. formed a joint venture to create a neo-bank that would serve the banking and lending needs of micro and small enterprises (MSMEs). It will offer an alternative experience to traditional banking. This includes providing a simple interface for banking and seamless integration with accounting, finance and payroll.
Achuthan said SME lending is the need of the hour as small businesses largely lack access to solid capital resources. A recent IFC report indicates that SMEs have a tiny 6-7% credit share and face a nearly $1.1 trillion credit gap.
The company recently received the green light from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for its new cross-border payments product. This comes after Open completed the testing phase of the second cohort under RBI’s regulatory sandbox structure on cross-border payments. Open is one of 4 companies to have completed the testing phase of RBI’s regulatory sandbox.
Open also developed “Zwitch”, an integrated no-code financial platform. This enables companies of all industries to create personalized financial products and services that fit into the customer journey.
“Reader. Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Certified beer ninja. Devoted web maven. Subtly charming twitter scholar.”