Neha has taken upon several roles throughout her career, which spans several years. Her determination and vigor to grasp ideas have been the penultimate reason behind her success. She has always been driven towards the finance and economics sector after completing her MBA in finance and marketing. Her key skills include competitive analysis, product development, strategy, and sales operations.
She started her career as a management trainee in mother dairy and soon gained ample expertise, which boosted her to several management roles. However, after some time, the idea of launching her own company started to loom over her. This is where she mulled the idea of starting i2ifunding, India’s leading platform offers Peer to Peer lending. Within 2 months of their operations, they have more than 200 registrations. They have already approved/disbursed 16 loans out of 40 applications received. They are growing multi-fold and raising the bar of excellence by few notches with each passing day.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
Peer-to-Peer lending means when an individual borrows from another individual for a stipulated time and at a particular interest rate. At i2i, we offer the digitization of P2P, i.e. an online marketplace for unsecured loans where a borrower posts his loan requirement and an investor funds the loan project. The personal loan can be used for multiple purposes, which include the purchase of consumer durable, debt consolidation (i.e. repayment of credit card debt etc.), medical expenses, education expenses, cash cycle optimization etc.
The entire credit process is transparent, quick and easy. Apart from providing end-to-end services, i2i diligently evaluates the credit risk of each of the loan projects post, which it assigns risk category and recommends an interest rate for that project (a borrower can borrow at an interest rate, which is higher than or equal to this rate). This helps the borrowers as well as the investors to have a benchmark while finalizing the interest rate. In the process, the investors get an opportunity to earn higher ‘risk-adjusted returns’ while the borrowers get an opportunity to get funded at the lowest cost possible as per their risk profile and market-based demand.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
When I got my first job, I started receiving calls from banks to avail loans and/or credit card. In addition, I could always see a pre-approved personal loan blinking on my net banking dashboard. This made me believe, it is the easiest thing to take a loan in India. It was only when I started working for a bank in priority sector lending that I realized the dearth of credit facility in our country. There to my surprise, I witnessed people taking a loan from private lenders at as high as 5% per month, which was humongous. There were many people who had the talent to do better in life but due to lack of credit facility, they were prone to fall prey in hands of moneylenders. That is when I felt a need of alternate finance to non-banked individuals and strengthening RBI’s agenda of financial inclusion.
What is your life mantra?
To provide inexpensive means of a credit to genuine borrowers and help them realize their dreams so that they do not have to hold back due to lack of credit facilities.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
In India, the Peer-to-Peer lending has been in occurrence from decades in offline mode. However, to bring the same in an organized manner was quite a challenge. In addition, investors believe that P2P is an alternate form of investment, which provides high returns for moderate risks, is quite a task. Some of the investors are still wary of this emerging investment option as it is an unsecured personal loan. However, a key point to note is that P2P loans are debt products backed by a legally enforceable loan agreement and postdated cheque from the borrowers. A defaulting borrower can easily be taken to court for recovery of dues. On the other hand, there are no similar provisions in case of loss suffered in mutual funds, the stock market or any other market linked products, which are perceived to be safe!
P2P has slowly but surely opened a new venue for people to utilize their savings to earn a higher income.
How did you overcome those challenges?
We are proud to introduce Principal Protection Fund; which is to safeguard biggest concerns of retail investors by providing a guarantee on principal amount lent depending on the risk category of the loan at a nominal fee. In addition, our Proprietary Credit Score Model calculates not just the financial health of a borrower but also one’s intention to repay the loan, which helps in mitigating the default. Together this ensures that only quality loans are posted on the platform.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
So far, we are managing our business on our own. However, as we grow, we will need funds to for market and product expansion.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
Luckily, so far we have not faced any such problem. Even though we are into fintech space, which is considered a dry and ruthless domain, we understand the importance of people. Together we work to achieve greater goals in life.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Success is a subset of many qualities. I strongly believe that an individual must have a forward-looking approach with an unwavering passion for constantly learning from mistakes.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
i2ifunding is trying its best to harness the potential of digital media, to reach out to people in a cost effective manner.
Share any one habit, which you think, makes you more productive.
I strongly believe one must do what one enjoys! Enjoy work…this gives you inner satisfaction which makes the goal attainable and the path more interesting!
Share any one habit, which you wish to change in yourself.
I would prefer to be a realistic optimist than just an optimist. Being an extrovert, I believe in nothing is impossible but then I realize no matter what I do I cannot perfectly put toothpaste back in the tube!
Answer in less than 50 words
• One tip to success:
There is no shortcut to success. Persistent hard work and ability to learn from mistakes can move mountains.
• One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Isn’t its human to make mistakes? Learn from your mistakes, try not to repeat them, be good and do well.
• One most important lesson that you have learned till now:
Especially when you are a startup, one thing which hits your bottom line is ‘nothing comes for free’. You may realize being on the job was so much cheaper!
What are your plans for next 3 years?
We plan to become one-stop financial solution platform in coming times. Currently, we offer vanilla EMI based product but as we grow, we intend to expand our product portfolio by introducing structured products and wealth management services to our customers. This will cater to both short and long-term credit demand. We also plan to partner with institutional investors and help them reach underserved but credit worthy population, which they could not do earlier.
In addition, we will expand to rest of India and aim to become India’s most trusted P2P platform.
If you get a chance to start your career, again what would you do differently this time?
This time, right after my education I will start with i2ifunding and help people to meet their credit requirements. This will also bring greater economic strength to our nation as a whole.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
Anywhere with friends and family is a good stress buster.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
To make your tomorrow good, make your today “The Best”!