This mobile-first savings and investment platform reaches out to its audience through nine languages, with 55% of its users coming from beyond the top 30 cities in India
SQRRL is a platform aimed at helping young Indians save their money while keeping things simple. “With Sqrrl, it’s not about putting away large chunks of your salary, but rather small sums with just a couple of clicks,” says the founder and chief dreamer, Samant Sikka. “The current generation has grown up faster than any other, purchasing product after product at an expeditious pace. However, an extremely competitive ecosystem like this has its own drawbacks. Due to young Indians spending and consuming more and more every day, a huge chasm between the saving and spending pattern has been created,” he says.
The Sqrrl co-founders—Samant Sikka, Sanjeev Sharma and Dhananjay Singh— saw this gap and envisioned creating a platform to redevelop the trend of saving. In addition to promoting savings, they also wanted to educate people about investing in pooled investment vehicles like mutual funds, rather than buying direct equities which are not just more volatile but also suffer from disadvantages for small retail investors like lack of diversification, set-up costs, onboarding friction, transaction costs, etc.
Launched in 2017, Sqrrl was a first-of -its-kind app that focused on tapping the new market— millennials— and imbibing in them the importance of financial savings through a new financial product. “The platform is a mobile-first savings and investment platform focussed towards millennials and Gen-Z,” says Sikka.
“The last four years have seen multiple regulatory changes, technology trends and business cycles. The team and the platform have been at the forefront of taking these challenges into their stride and making the proposition to customers better,” he says, adding, “Migration from various plans and schemes, changes in Aadhaar-based eKYC and e-mandate, etc., to name a few.”
Today, the Sqrrl app is easily accessible across Indian households and has over four lakh downloads with users from more than 600 towns and cities. Around 55% of its users come from beyond top 30 cities. The fintech startup boasts of being India’s first vernacular app with an audience from nine languages and raised $1 million in its first round of funding from Equanimity Venture Fund.
“Since the start, the team’s focus has been to drive young investors to choose on the basis of their life goals instead of the market trends,” says Sikka. “The platform has been able to build out and offer some unique products and features allowing users to invest as little as Rs 1 with regular and automated savings plans. The average AUM (Assets under Management) per user now stands at Rs 6,535.
After overcoming the many challenges, the Sqrrl team has extended the platform to other mutual fund players in the market looking for more consumer-friendly alternatives. Recently, the company partnered with ICICI Bank to power goal-based investments for their new millennial focused banking platform Mine. This partnership marks its first step into the B2B space.
While Sqrrl’s partnership with ICICI Bank has gone live, there are many other partnerships with leading banks and NBFCs that are currently under way. According to Sikka, these partnerships will help in bringing easy saving and investment options to millions of new customers in addition to raising revenue channels for further enhancing the products and offerings.