Ankit Mehra- The CEO of Gyandhan talked about solving financial constraints in education via their platform with The Global Hues.
Gyandhan is an education financing marketplace started back in 2015. The company operations began in 2016. Since then, there’s no looking back. The company recently received an NBFC license. Gyandhan is planning to start lending on its own. The company has to date helped 3000 students get loans with more than six lakh students having inquired about loan options from the platform. Gyandhan’s core service is providing loans for studies abroad and in India. The company inaugurated its domestic segment last year and is constantly looking forward.
“As a marketplace, we’ve figured that there are certain services the customer needs right from admission counseling to student loans to figuring out remittance services or Visa Services during their higher education journey. We are offering these core services through a marketplace model in partnership with different players. The key is to understand and adapt to the changing customer needs,” explained Ankit.
Ankit believes that some primary factors such as “A customer first focus”, and “providing a plethora of options to choose from” differentiates Gyandhan from other companies. “We are constantly trying to figure out student’s requirements and making changes to simplify the existing process and develop new products,” said Ankit. “We work closely with our partners i.e. Banks and NBFCs to focus on this journey,” he added. Depending on the student profile Gyandhan provides the best suitable option amongst private sector banks, public sector banks, and International lenders.
Impacts of covid 19
The immediate impact of Covid-19 on every sector was definitely negative, drying up both demand and availability of capital in certain cases. The complete shutdown of businesses led to an observable fall in growth. The lockdown closed all the possibilities of moving out of India. However, the shifting dynamics to hybrid mode of working models was a ray of positivity. “We shifted our online application process to cater to that changing dynamics. And recently, we have seen a significant rebound in the volumes which prompted our entry in the domestic markets,” said Ankit.
The overall impact of Covid-19 on business was a combination of negative at first but positive later. Gyandhan started their domestic operations in response to the edtech boom and the demand for financing in this segment. The company noticed Certain broad changes in the BFSI segment in the pandemic. Some exams like NDA were deferred to a later date. The unemployment rates spiked leading to low repayment capacity for the BFSI sector. This was a huge opportunity for the new age fintechs.
“If I try to look at the positive from what was a really terrible event, it was the fact that it really led to an acceleration of adoption of technology in the traditional BFSI space” said Ankit. Even though FinTech is rising and banks are becoming technically savvy, the rate of adoption accelerated in the face of the pandemic at a faster pace. A lot of players had to adjust and accept changes.
Challenges faced by the BFSI companies and advice to overcome them
Ankit believes the adoption of technology remains a big challenge for companies. The bureaucracy at the bigger incumbents combined with legacy systems makes it challenging to adopt a new option. On the other hand, this Challenge is also responsible for the rise of FinTech companies because they’re making the things that weren’t possible earlier, possible now. Implementing the same tech strategies would be essential and effective. Just hiring employees won’t work.
“Companies need to think at the foundational level like experts while providing any service to the clients keeping customer demographics, and the customer needs in mind,” said Ankit. I think banks and non-banks have been relatively slow to understand the evolving needs of the customer, evolving needs of the market, and coming up with products that will meet those requirements,” he further added.
View on the uptake of Emerging Technology
Technology such as data analytics is creating huge impacts on the BFSI sector. A lot of technology has been there for a long time. The abundance of data and trying to get an understanding of the right signal has become more critical now. The winners and losers will be separated by their ability to synthesize all the data in terms of administering the right product to the Indian consumer.
There is a lot of opportunity and scope in the blockchain space. It’s in a nascent stage, and specifically in the Indian context, more so because of the regulations and other things. But when talking about decentralized finance, there are a lot of opportunities and interesting ideas.
“When it comes to blockchain, I don’t know if there are any successful models right now, specifically in India. But there are a lot of interesting ideas floating around and eventually some of these will fundamentally change the financial services landscape ,” explained Ankit.
Vision and Future Prospects
“My vision is really to equalize and expand access to higher education,” said Ankit.
In the next five years, we are aspiring to originate loans for almost a million students. In terms of company, Gyandhan wants to be a trusted financial partner for young teens, be it in the form of education loans or something else in the future. They aim to figure out what the journey is perceiving and how to deliver the best product at the right time in their journey. The priority is education. However, in the future, they want to add other services to their company.
Words of Wisdom
- Everyone should watch out for the key technology trends in the next few years.
- Use the upcoming Technology in conjunction with traditional techniques.
Awards and milestones
- Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 winners in the FinTech category.
- 830cr in loans and helped 3000 students.
- 0 delinquencies as of date.
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