Want to redesign the financial experience of youngsters: Rajan Bajaj, Founder, Slice | Interview

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Published: November 28, 2019 1:11:25 AM

Issued in partnership with Rupay, the slice card can be used across 5 million merchants in India, online and offline. The average age of our customer is 22. Slice card is a zero fee card with no hidden charges.

RAJAN BAJAJ, Founder & CEO, SliceRAJAN BAJAJ, Founder & CEO, Slice

Founded by Rajan Bajaj in 2016, slice is a fintech startup that offers payment solutions exclusively for youngsters. It has designed a first of its kind, payment card – slice card that comes with a preapproved credit line. The card is particularly meant for young professionals who have just started their careers, those working in startups or independent professionals such as gig workers, freelancers, small business owners, and also graduate students who are about to start work, the founder & CEO tells Sudhir Chowdhary in an interview. Excerpts:

What motivated you to start slice?
I graduated from IIT Kharagpur in 2014 and started working with Flipkart in the product team for a year. When my first startup, Mesh, did not work out I started talking to many of my friends around the problems they face in their day-to-day lives to figure out the next idea. One of them mentioned that he is never really sure if his credit card bill is correct and was thinking of cancelling it. I spoke to a few more friends, who did not use a credit card and realised that they found the product complicated and were apprehensive that they would end up paying extra charges involuntary. I figured if we could make a financial product that’s much simpler for youngsters to understand and have access to, they would find it useful and hence, started working on what is today slice.

Slice is exclusively focused on youngsters. Our flagship product – slice card, is a payments card that comes with a preapproved credit line. The card is meant for young professionals such as startup employees, gig workers, freelancers and small business owners. Slice card can be used for paying bills, spend on lifestyle purchases like fashion, travel, stay and entertainment.

How does the slice card work?
Issued in partnership with Rupay, the slice card can be used across 5 million merchants in India, online and offline. The average age of our customer is 22. Slice card is a zero fee card with no hidden charges. The card is interlinked with our interactive app that provides regular data on the expenses, insights on where a customer spent the most in a month and regular repayment reminders. Slice app provides real-time updates on the transactions done on the slice card. You can easily use the card for your payments during the month and pay back the next month without any extra cost or convert the spends into EMIs. It simplifies managing of expenses for youngsters and gives them more freedom to pursue their aspirations.

How has slice fared in the market?
We have around 200,000 customers and 500,000 customers who are on the waitlist. We launched the physical card in May, and crossed 1 million transactions in 5 months; 60% of the transactions are done offline and the rest 40% is online. Our customers are now doing 8-10 transactions in a month. We are present in 16 cities including Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai. We recently entered tier 2 markets such as Jaipur, Manipal, Coimbatore, Mysore, Ahmedabad, Vizag, etc. We have users coming in from 600-700 cities. We are growing at a rate of 15% each month.

How much funds has slice raised till date? Who are the key investors?
We are backed by leading VCs in India and outside such as Blume Ventures, Tracxn Labs, China’s Finup, Japan’s Das Capital, and Russia’s Simile. In 2018, we had a Series A funding round that led by China-based FinUp Finance Technology Group. And in 2017, we raised $2 million led by Japan-based Das Capital, Simile Ventures from Russia.

What are your future plans?
We are targeting 2 million customers in the next two years. Currently, we are present in 16 cities, aiming to be in 24 cities in the next two years. We want our customers to get the best value for their money by partnering with various merchants they are transacting with, so many of those partnerships are in the pipeline.

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