BENGALURU: Student loans are hard to get, therefore young adults and their guardians end up borrowing from unorganised sector at prohibitive interest rates.To address this need in personal finance, Madhusudan Ekambaram, an engineering graduate from NITK Surathkal, and his friend Wan Hong decided to start ‘KrazyBee’. This non-banking finance company, which started operations in Bengaluru in May 2017 and later expanded to Mysuru, lends to students and their parents to finance educational needs and business enterprises.
Graduate and post-graduate students can also borrow to shop for varied things, from canteen meals, text books and tuition fee to two-wheeler, clothes and air-tickets. They can then pay this back in installments. Madhusudhan says, “We try to make borrowing process hassle-free, but at the same time we ensure responsible lending… we are very careful about the individuals and communities to which we open this option to”.
Campus Managers, or student interns, are key to KrazyBee’s growth. They promote and run the startup’s schemes in their respective colleges. If they prove motivated enough, they are promoted to community leads, where they handle operations in multiple colleges in and around their campus.Selected students are trained in fintech and e-commerce, and the best campus managers are given a stipend of Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 per month. This Campus Manager Internship programme is done as a tie-up with close to 800 colleges across 11 cities.
Mysuru is a tier-2 city close to Bengaluru, a tier-1 metropolis. We started in Bengaluru because the founding team is from that city and we wanted to see how our model fares in another demographic, and therefore came to Mysuru.
How did you raise funds?
While approaching VC firms and investors with our idea, we touched base with the promoters of Fenqile, the largest micro-lending platform in Asia.
What were the challenges faced in the initial days?
Getting a driven core team with the right mix of youth and experience and significant domain understanding was a challenge. Then, finding the right set of investors and ensuring compliance has been another challenge.
What is the revenue stream?
We charge a nominal interest from students and guardians, and an affiliate commission from our e-commerce partners.
To reach young adults across India and setting up a platform with automated decision-making process, to drastically reduce the decision-making time from hours to minutes and minutes to seconds.
Advice to start-up aspirants
Focus on execution. Anyone can come up with a good idea. Execution is the key.
(KrazyBee’s Mysuru branch is located at Vijayanagar 2nd Stage. Applicants can also avail the loan through its app, available on Play store.)