Manan Dixit, Co-Founder & CEO, UmojaPay has completed his BE in Electronics & Power from St. Vincent Pallotti College of Engineering, Nagpur. Manan has further worked in IT Companies including Tech Mahindra, Amdocs in various technical domains.
|Manan Dixit, Co-Founder & CEO, UmojaPay
Now, at the age of 31, Manan has successfully established Jambopay Express Private Limited, that operates under the Brand Name of UmojaPay. The company’s vision of serving the unbanked and underbanked population of India through digitizing the Financial Inclusion Space and providing Low Cost Digital Payment Acceptance Products for the retailers in these region has been spreading roots and is poised to grow manifold as the Government pushes to make the society less cash depended.
“Entrepreneurship is an amazing and exciting journey but you need to have a thick skin to be in the game for a long run. I recommend every budding/young entrepreneur to read Thick Face & Black Heart by Chin Ning Chu at least once to understand the tricks of the trade and always remember – If It Has to Be, Its Only Upto Me!!!”– Manan Dixit, Co-Founder & CEO, UmojaPay
In the meantime, Manan likes reading fiction, nonfiction, and motivational books, and traveling to new places.
In an exclusive email interaction with The Motiverge; Manan Dixit, Co-Founder & CEO, UmojaPay tells more about the venture and future plans.
1. Tell us more about UmojaPay. When was it established?
UmojaPay is connecting Bharat (Rural & Semi Urban Population) with India (Digital Economy) through its offline kiosks and online payment app & financial service solutions. We started building the Platform in mid-2014 and launched in Feb 2015 with our Pilot in a village named Sihada near Khandwa (M.P.).
2. What was the biggest turning point in your life that changed your mind to become an entrepreneur?
I come from small town (Khandwa, M.P.) and saw that people in this type of regions are still lacking the access to Digital Economy be it e-commerce transactions, Payments, Financial Services or Store Digitization. These people don’t get the access and exposure of such services. All they see is an Ad on the TV about the service but when it comes to accessing them from their home is a difficult journey. Hence, I discussed this problem prevailing in rural and semi urbane India with my Co-Founder (Ariff Manji) and embarked on narrowing this gap by building digital products & providing access to such services at low/no cost solutions.
3. How big is your team?
We are team of 12 people comprising of IT, Operations, and Sales.
The team at UmojaPay
4. How UmojaPay is creating a unique online payment gateway to enable digital transactions, especially for the unbanked segment of India? How does it work?
India has a vast unbanked population, and most of which stay in the rural areas. Currently, the estimated unbanked population of India is 40%. Most of these areas are so remote that the banking system cannot reach there. Therefore they do not have the access towards digital payments and financial services neither offline nor online. Banks, wallets, and fintech companies have major focus upto Tier 2 & 3 cities. In rural or tier 4 cities their penetration is nil or low and operational viability is difficult for them. We are reaching this unbanked segment through our retailer and PoS network which are enabling this segment to make digital transactions like bill payments, remittance facilities and mobile wallet, value added services (VAS) like recharges, ticket bookings, etc through our app UmojaPay.
There is lack of basic infrastructure in such rural or remote areas like power, network, and keeping this in mind we have brought in India’s First Solar Powered Manned Kiosk which can be installed in rural areas to provide financial inclusion services. We have installed more than 20 such kiosks in M.P. that is providing various kinds of financial services to people who are not familiar with technology and banking operations. Secondly, we are narrowing the gap of Micro Digital Payment space by providing single platform for the Merchants to accept payments, digitalise their operations & provide VAS services using Bharat QR Code. Our strength lies in offline play through offerings such as point-of-sale terminals, about to launch, micro ATMs that allow users to carry out banking transactions.
5. How has been the journey so far?
We did a Pilot in a small village near Khandwa (M.P.) named Sihada having population of around 10,000. We learnt that people in this region wish to use digital solutions for transactions but due to lack of literacy and knowledge, they could not adopt these new technologies. However, with our solutions, POS retailers will be empowered to create awareness of digital platforms and enable people in rural areas to understand and adopt these new technologies.
6. What are the business opportunities in your sector, especially in the APAC region?
There is huge gap in Financial Inclusion & Micro Digital Payment Space in Developing Countries in APAC region wherein Government & companies are trying to work together to fulfill the gap and cater to the need of the masses. As at the end of the day, fintech as a domain has to be connected to the masses for it to see its actual impact on the economy of the country.
7. According to you, what is the importance of building a right business model for startup success?
Business model for any startup plays a very crucial role in the growth of the company and has to be worked on properly. As an entrepreneur one need to choose the model according to the belief of one’s idea and its execution, according to the potential of the product and the assets one have to make it all happen. Choose what is better for the startup and don’t be afraid to change direction if it doesn’t feel right. You are the best judge to decide what’s best for your startup.
8. What are the challenges faced in your journey as an entrepreneur?
Back when we started people still liked to trade in cash and were circumspect of why they should use such a platform from an unknown and unheard of company. On top of it, they were averse to technology and felt it’s only meant for riches and cities. Even before the first sale could be made the team had been dealt the first blow. Not to be bogged down by the tepid response, the team took to the task rather courageously and got down to the field to educate people about how their solution was superior to dealing in cash. At the same time, they pursued and stuck a couple of important deals which got on-board some high-demand services to the platform. Slowly the perception started to change and people became much more accepting.
9. What are your future plans?
We have been working only in the State of Madhya Pradesh as of now. We are now looking to expand our reach to 10 States in coming 24 months with a Network of 20000+ touch points in these regions.
10. What keeps you going?
As I come from small town where traditional banking is only available and poor internet connectivity exist, I understand the pain points of such population which forms the majority of India. Hence we foresee that in this Fintech segment somebody needs to enter with committed to bridge the gap between Bharat & India.
11. What are your messages for budding entrepreneurs/young generation?
Entrepreneurship is an amazing and exciting journey but you need to have a thick skin to be in the game for a long run. I recommend every budding/young entrepreneur to read Thick Face & Black Heart by Chin Ning Chu at least once to understand the tricks of the trade and always remember – If It Has to Be, Its Only Upto Me!!!