Our aim is to become the smart money app for India: Akash Gupta, Mobikwik

The Vice-President of Marketing at Mobikwik said that they are focused on brand building and wish to hit 150 million users, the biggest number of merchants who can accept payments by Mobikwik and change the way they handle money by 2018

e4m by Dolly Mahayan
Updated: Sep 6, 2017 9:35 AM

Mobile wallets have seen a major growth in their user base post demonetisation. In conversation with e4m, Akash Gupta, Vice-President, Marketing at Mobikwik shared his growth plans, securing customer data and marketing strategy. Excerpts:


This year, you announced an investment of Rs. 300 crore to increase the user base by three fold. How's the progress till now? 


This investment has helped. It has been possible because of partnerships with Bajaj and BSNL. These investments have given a lot of confidence to wallet as a system, as a product and plus to Mobikwik, because we been there in the country making people digital. Big Organisations like BSNL, who have 100 million users and are the only Indian telecom run by government, have given the mandate to us to make their mobile wallet. These investments have given us a good strategic shift for the next 12-18 months. 


Recently Mobikwik created BSNL mobile wallet. What was the idea behind this?


Many telecom companies tried their own wallet of financial services for users to pay their bills or recharge online but we have not seen telecoms capture their user base completely. The reason is because we are the disruptors in this domain. Our tie-up with BSNL is interesting because we both entered the partnership on a single thought on how to give users an app which gets their job done. We have given all 100 million users of BSNL, a wallet App powered by Mobikwik. So, everything that is happening on Mobikwik is now available to a BSNL user in a similar app. 


How many mobile wallet subscribers do you have? Any changes in the number post demonetization?


Prior to demonetisation we had 38-40 million users, post demonetisation we have grown to 60 million users. So, the entire 20 million have been added in the last six to eight months. We took lot of steps and spent energy to build the 40 million base but this 20 million has happened quite rapidly. The numbers continue to grow. There has been a lot of confidence in users as well as in merchants to adopt Mobikwik and whether it is a big shop or small retailer everyone wants a digital wallet.


What marketing strategy does Mobikwik follow to increase user base?


Our strategies differ from others in the domain. We have tried to be smart about it and when it comes to brand building, we have not gone crazy like our competition by spending crores in building a brand. We have done interesting partnerships and gone to places where we think we should be present in terms of brand building exercises. We will continue to do more whether it is a tie-up with different movies or working on big marketing campaign to inform the user base. We also have a smart and powerful tool loved by users called the ‘Super-Cash.’ It gives users a place to earn cash back and stick to Mobikwik as a royalty engine. 


With a growing user base and recent cyber-attacks we need to look at the security point of view. What are your strengths in that area?


Our communications and user feedback tells us that we are one of the most secured wallets in the country. We are taking many steps to ensure that we are a much more secure wallet. Customer safety is important for us and we have taken a strategic and conscious call to inform users about keeping their OTPs safe, frequently changing passwords, not sharing their IP address and more. We are actively creating awareness through banners, social media communication, blog post, mailers and SMS for users. Apart from this, we have a strong technology and server team which monitors everything. Till now, Mobikwik team has not faced any security fraud or cyber-attack.


What percentage share of your wallet business comes from recharge, bill payments and money transfers?


About two years back the percentage used to be skewed towards recharge. Earlier, mobile bill payments and recharges used to be major contributors to the revenue and now we get the majority of revenue from merchant transactions. The recharge and bill payment category contributes about 40 per cent of MobiKwik's business. Over last year, we are active on almost all big offline stores besides being online. Now Mobikwik is in Bata stores, Big Bazaar, Central Store and will be at Croma and Vijay Sales soon. We will focus on daily activities as well like milk, petrol, etc.


You applied for a Payment bank license. How is it different from a regular market?


We are not pursuing the bank route for growth. MobiKwik aims to provide banking services to its users, without being a bank. We aim to become the smart money app for India and provide loans and investments through collaboration with banks and NBFCs. Recently, Bajaj Finserv has partnered with MobiKwik to launch India's first credit wallet. 


A lot of consolidation is happening in the online market space. Axis Bank recently acquired Freecharge, whereas Payu acquired Citrus. Are you looking for or open to such ideas?


No, we are not doing that. We are building strategic partnerships than getting acquired. We want to generate ample competition in the market and be a strong financial player. About a year back, there were so many wallets and now there are only few. Our focus is it to be strong and consistent. I am sure we will have more competition but our goal is not just survival but becoming the best in the domain. In Mobiwik, there is a better control on sensitivity and growth as compared to other platforms.


Patym has grown its user base quite rapidly. What are the strategies to deal with competition? 


We know our competitors very well. Our aim is to make India cashless and that is our core strategy, path and milestone. Competitors help you and there’s no use in fighting over user base and money. We know our product is strong and that we would command customer loyalty once they use Mobikwik. They will not want to use anything else. The idea is to stay in the marathon, be consistent, give our best and improve the product so that the user doesn’t go to the competition. 


Hence, we respect our competitors, we fight well but not to the point of replicating our competitors in every way. 


What are your plans for 2018?


Every year is very interesting for us. Our plan is to establish Mobikwik as a smart money app for users. We want to become the one stop shop for all financial services and we are investing a lot in that area to reach the goal. The focus is to hit 150 million users, the biggest number of merchants who can accept payments by Mobikwik and change the way they handle money.

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