Impact Hustlers - Entrepreneurs with Social Impact

Crushing Loan Sharks - Chitresh Sharma of Refyne

June 20, 2021 Maiko Schaffrath Episode 72
Impact Hustlers - Entrepreneurs with Social Impact
Crushing Loan Sharks - Chitresh Sharma of Refyne
Show Notes Transcript
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Maiko Schaffrath:

You are listening to Impact Hustlers and I am your host, Maiko Schaffrath. I have made it my mission to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs to solve some of the world's biggest social and environmental problems. And for this reason, I am speaking to some of the best entrepreneurs out there who are solving problems such as food waste, climate change, poverty and homelessness. My goal is that Impact Hustlers will inspire you either by starting an impact business yourself, by joining the team of one, or by taking a small step, whatever that may be, towards being part of the solution to the world's biggest problems.

Maiko:

I'm really delighted to have an old friend from my wire at times. He was one of the passionate and enthusiastic entrepreneurs so it's really good to have you back meet you again and have you on impact Hostler stitchers.

Chitresh:

Thank you so much, Marco. And I love to say the same, one of the nicest person and the most humble people I've seen. So I'm delighted to get a chance to speak into you once again. And hopefully we'll keep in contact and we grab a beer when we there.

Maiko:

Let's do that. I'd love to give everybody a bit of an introduction of your entrepreneur journey. I think you're really a pure bred entrepreneur from people that I've met. You started your first business when you were 19, I believe. Tell us about that first business and then how it evolved, how you continued your entrepreneurial journey throughout the years until now starting refine.

Chitresh:

I think you put it in a nice way, but in short people who are unemployable, they have to start very quickly to do their own. So that's really what happened to me in 19 while doing university, I had a lot of friends. You don't learn. Figuring out coding and so on. I just happened to connect the dots and get them working on an ID or source company. So we used to do website and digital marketing, not so relevant and scaled as it is today. And we were doing with a lot of hospitality sector and ended up bragging one of the government projects in the UK. And during my journey with masters, I scaled the company and the company has been going for 10 years. So we are a simple, it outsource company that will take. In the UK and our chose back in the Indian team. So I was my first company and while doing my master my designation become the next company where we will, working on a different project. And one thing led to another and swipe. He was born, swipey was one of the leading gospel loyalty forms. We were catering to 2000 plus brands across the country. We had 1.3 million users. And it became one of the fastest growing customer loyalty form. I led the company as the CEO and founder for seven odd years. I one of the dream was to come back India because there was never the plan to be in the UK. One thing led to another, I really see that seven years as a great learning lessons. The company has grown as become stronger and it's been still be going and I'm delighted to still be a co-owner of the company. While I get into my third.

Maiko:

Amazing. We'll get into a refined very shortly, but we'll swipe, you actually started out as a loyalty card for nightclubs. Is that right? Is that the

Chitresh:

You're absolutely right. Yeah. I'm surprised you remember that. That was that it used to be the time we used to know the bars and nightclubs. Hey, will you take us here?

Maiko:

Got it. And I think your approach as an entrepreneur has always been not necessary, barely having perfection from day one, but getting started, making sure that you validate the problem you get going. How did you approach that at swipey and then we'll talk about refining the second as well. How did you approach getting started in early days?

Chitresh:

Yeah, I definitely agree that I think that has been the DNA integrated and mentor to me from my early mentors, that growth and early adoption and early sales in, in, in real pounds. And. And a dollar is more important than trying to have a very polished strategy. If you have something really polished, you're already too late in the market. So I think velocity has been one of the key things. If you have an idea, go out there, get it, people show it to people and the people are ready to pay your dog. You got something, right? That's the perspective I took at Swabian and that worked out really well early years when, so I B grew really rapidly in just the first one and a half years. We had closed out for seed funding from the likes of local globe close to 2 million pounds. And that led to us, catering to 2000 brands, making one of the fastest SME loyalty program, not so much for nightclubs. It, we found that this kind of product works out for us. Wider industry. So we started to, with our tag along long live local we wanted to bring the technology used by the big boys, like self Sainsbury, Tesco to the, more local businesses, give them the power of marketing and CRM and give them a chance to fight back and, understand their customer better. And I think if we are delayed, dwelling too much time on, trying to Polish the aid. It would have been too late. So I think, yes, we did go through a few pivot from a hardware position business to a completely cloud mobile only app. So it has been a, quite a journey from growing up hardware business so rapidly and then, pivoting to a mobile app. So it was quite interesting.

Maiko:

Let's move on to refine and how you actually started tell us about yeah, your early days we've refined. What problem does refine solve and how did you start out with refine?

Chitresh:

Fantastic. I think we're still in the early days. So anything I say is a video of you on anyways, right? I think the beauty about refineries. So when I came to India I actually, Peter is a good friend from wage stream. I really was very humble and it's quite inspiring to see how they've grown the business. And when I was trying to figure out 27 ideas for India, it's just. Felt that EWA was the best, on-demand pay was the best idea suited for a country like India, for loads of different reasons. Country like India is huge, right. In terms of population and at is credit staff because lack of credit scoring which has pushed in past three years, people getting into a lot of, debt traps, because of lack of other credit products which also constitute because of the lack of credit scores, the mass, which is the majority of the people who have low credit score or no credit score, they're not the focus of the premium banks and they land with microfinances and payday lenders and loan sharks. And what I found in India is. In order for the masses to access that. And they have to pretty much sell their soul. We have seen interest being charged as, as high as 300, 400%. And we really think that there was a big gap in the market where people could use their own salary to resolve most of the mid-month crisis. We serve it like a thousand people and found that 86% of people who have taken micro-finance. Could have resolved their mid month crisis by just having the salary they had worked for, but because they didn't have that, they were forced to take more money than they needed for a much longer period of time. And the thing that worried me the most is none of them really understand the consequences of a trade. They didn't even know what the processing cost meant. And that was because of lack of postal bank budget. You know how to do personal budgeting and what personal finance really means. It's never taught in the schools or universities of colleges is something that you learn over a period of time. And that's how the refine was born. We did a lot of tolerance as we spoke to a lot of HR has a lot of MD CFOs of the world to really understand the gap, companies which are thousand plus employee. It's really hard for them to change the structure that has been going for, five or seven decades, your people are paid end of the month. 30 days somewhere, there are as bad as 45 days. And it's very hard to turn the ship. Even though the intentions are like that, even though the company wants to help them, it's really hard because they're working gambling. And cash flow is put in a particular way and the technology stack has been putting away. So it's really hard for them to turn the ship and allow people to access their owning anytime. And it's weird and funny at the same way. Ironically, I would say that we are in 21st century where we, again collect cab at the press of a button and we can call for food at the press of a button. But we still have to wait for our wages and salary till 30 days or 45 days. So there has to be some sort of a disruption filling a gap and that's how to find was born. And we believe one thing very strongly at heart that FinTech can we really define in one word and it's called trust. Great. And the trust factor in a country like India, what we found is much more with an employee than even a bank. People tend to trust their employees even more than the bank. So it made a lot of sense to go through the employer, to the employee, to get initial validation and belief by the employees. And that's how, refine was born, which is again a B to C business.

Maiko:

Got it. Let's focus on the specifics in India. You already mentioned Peter profits, business wage stream. And Peter was actually on impact hustlers, I think in one of the first few episodes that must've been. Seven eight, something like that. Make sure to link it in the show notes. And I think there were probably about six, seven people in the business at the time when I interviewed Peter and I think no must be hundreds, I think. Obviously they are battle cry has always been to destroy the payday loans industry. And the UK, a lot of people probably still know one guy which went bankrupt. Thankfully. And I guess the Pado payday loans industry is a real issue in the UK. And you just mentioned in India, it's very similar, but let's focus a little bit more on the problem specifically in India. Having lift both in the UK and India, how do you think it's different or more severe? Why is India such an interesting market for this versus anywhere else in the world?

Chitresh:

I think the closest similarity we have is just the model where the challenges are at different level. Though. Peter is a better looking founder than me. I'll give him

Maiko:

that.

Chitresh:

But but. What breeder has created is very inspiring. The team has created something really amazing out there in the UK, and that's a lot of validation, and from an Indian market, I think Indian market is a lot different than a market like UK or a market like us. Just because of the access. Credit data on people, right? UK, you cannot be someone who cannot be found on, Experian or Equifax, right? You are likely going to no matter which whether you're a daily wager or a salary person, doesn't matter which category you will have the basic credit scoring in place, but in when you come to it, You're surprised, where majority of people are still very new to credit. And when you're so new to credit, it really hard for the premium banks, the banks, which are pretty much, it feels like the banks are for the class above. We're at the prime class and for the majority, they are in the hands of, again, as I said, money, then doesn't launch out. So I think there is a greater problem here to solve. It's not just. About giving them access to own wages and that's it, right? There's a bigger problem with helping people understand what personal budgeting means. What really personal finances mean means? What does income and expense means that India as a country is norm to see humongous growth on consumption side. However, the income has not grown. Same growth levels as their consumption. And clearly people are spending more than they're making. There was days when, our parents will make a hundred dollars, they'll save it. Then spend two. And the people are spending 150 to 180 to ban. This is bound to push them into a debt trap, because with the MBFC, the micro-financing and the payday lending model. The credit is accessible to them too. I would say a lot majority, but they don't understand the cost of that credit. And to a point there has been hundreds of cases of people going in mental depression, suicidal cases, where, people had to pay six times or, or I've seen people being charged 500 plus percent interest on the amount they have taken. Clearly the regulators are starting to see that, and there are going to be more regulated part and they're typing things up, but this wave is very new in India, right? It's only past three years that the market has seen that flush of cash coming from these lenders because they all see this as a big market. They understand the default rate is high 15, 18%, but the return of investment and capital, they are getting is much higher for them to be. So it's almost. You are penalizing the ones who are the good behavior for the bad behavior. So it's very broken model. And it's, if you actually try to figure out what is the core of that it's lack of data. It's lack of people, earning data. It's lack of people, spending data is basically lack of credit scoring, right? And that is one big challenge in India where I think EWS is a pathway. It's never been a destination. Why. As you rightly said, UK regime is about kill the payday lenders and loan shark. And so on. In our case, we have to do that. Plus make sure people are getting educated of personal finances and create some sort of a backup. Scoring, like when they interact with us, we want to make sure we are using their data, obviously with all the consent and follow all the protocols, but using the data for helping them create a better score of these individual, which will then allow them to access and get into the financial system and access better financial products, such as insurance, positive debt, micro investments, saving, which is unknown.

Maiko:

Got it. So you're almost a bit of a credit reference agency in disguise, or at least collecting some of the data to be able to offer other financial products in the future. Is that right?

Chitresh:

Yeah. I think EWI is a pathway, right? So when we partner with the employers, we are getting these employees to access the owning. We have we have, we are continuously monitoring how they're doing with regularity of work data that matters, how I behaved three years back. With a bang doesn't shouldn't tell me what I'll be doing in the next two years. It's how I behave, where the income is generated and that's my place of work. So it's how people are re regular how the income trends are regular rate and how that has been working. And soon will allow people to start spending through our app, which is very different to other players as in the EWI industry. But that gives us more data on people to be. The only, and only for them never to, for anything else, but help them get a better scoring. You could call it a way to create another scoring but it's too soon to comment on how that will shape up. Will it be a platform base which will allow people to access other PLA or will we also be. Benching in the, investing into getting them better prices and tailored, products, financial products. But I think we are on that pathway, right? It's to get people educated, give them access to our name, help them understand that your income should be about savings too. And your spending should be below the income level and you need to just manage your personal finances better. So it's simplifying right. How they see their money, how they save their money, how they spend their money. So I think it's all. Boston money, personal finances, but simplifying it in a way that they can understand. I think that is very critical in a market like India, that you need to understand the TG here, the profile, people are just getting ready for the digital. Initiative. So I think it's going to be a perfect time. It just couldn't be a perfect time. The mobile data, the most smartphones the access of educational information is consumed in far bigger numbers than it would have been ever in India before. So I think it's a perfect time to have a product like this in the market. No.

Maiko:

Do you see that workers in specific sectors or specific companies across certain sectors more interested in than others? Are there specific sectors that you're starting with right now or focused on?

Chitresh:

You're absolutely right. I didn't this opera doc is going to be able to be built the masses, the people who are making under 75,000 rupees, which is close to I think 750 pounds per month. It gets bigger and better and more accessible and more interesting as it numbers keeps going down. Because these people just are not on the financial radar they're they just have no data on them. They just are unaware of what's good for them, or what's bad for them. And what does even finance means? So it's getting to those people and to give you some insight, People in constructions, it people in pro production houses, it's hospitality sector, it's, airlines, it's, hotels and restaurants and food industry, FMCG distribution. I think the list keeps going on. So I think a simplified to explain is wherever there is a little. We'd have people housing, plus it seems to be a good fit because there's bound to be a lot of people under that, income bracket. India is so huge and India is very different shape and forms in different states and cities. But you're going to find this, these employees in humongous numbers across the country. So definitely a challenge to reach and make sure that everyone understands the importance of personal finance and personal.

Maiko:

Got it. No, I just forgot what I wanted to ask.

Chitresh:

Too much information from my side.

Maiko:

No, I had two questions at the same time and then I got lost. So Iowa, what What I wanted to ask is let's start with yeah, let's start with the kind of business model side of things. I move to the next question. So I'll start again. I'll cut that out, obviously. So my next question would be zooming a little bit in, on your business model and that space I've seen like various iterations of business models, where sometimes companies Charge a small fee to people withdrawing the salary. Sometimes companies charged a company that they sell to and essentially your partner, right with employers to give their employees access to their salaries. But I think also at the same time, it doesn't actually require the employer to pay out the salary physically early. So there is some sort of credit lines. That's you're helping them arrange tell us how this all works and how you actually make money at the end of the day.

Chitresh:

fantastic. I, it seems like you've done enough work on this, that you you are ready to pitch this idea to us now. So you seem to have known this well, you're absolutely right. It's a very simplified, more web. You partner with the employers. And we have an agreement in place which allows us because the employers buy into it so heavily that they promote the product as our financial wellbeing product, which is what we are and it allows employees. And it's very simple. The employee gets access to refine app promoted by the employer and then by our launch team, and these employees then are simply able to sign up to the app and actually tangibly see. Yeah, real time salary on daily basis. And depending on whatever percentage the employer has said, depending on the seniority of the employee, the restrictions are set pre automated, and it keeps the beauties. It improves over time as you stay with the company longer. So it's almost like a great motivational tool too. So on an average, we give 40, 40% access to their own salary. So if I worked for 10 days and my salary is 300 hundred, $300, I can access, 10 days, what have, dollars 40% of that instantly from the app. And the biggest differentiator is that it is done in less than two minutes. It's instant, right? When you need your own salary, there's no bureaucracy. There's no paperwork. There's no waiting time. Is all done digitally and hits your bank account in less than two minutes. So you can choose between roller door or the bank account. And our backend will transfer the money instantly. And that money is auto deducted at the time of payroll reconciliation towards the end of the month. And and we find we, we follow a simple approach that, and the first month we launched slightly manual process. By the third month we are fully automated with the employer. So there's simply no manual work or no take changes or no change in payroll as required. However, in-between the month, as you rightly said, it's funded by us, which we get back on time with the employees partnership.

Maiko:

Got it.

Chitresh:

Okay. Yeah. On the revenue side, just to answer your question, we like ourselves to be. We want one of the big challenges we have is for the market to understand that we are not a credit business. We are not another credit business. We are not a personal loan business rather, so I think the biggest challenge in India, because. My personal finances gold loan sharks, payday lenders have done so much damage and so much brainwashing that it's really important for us, for them to understand it's a new category. Salary APM, where your balances goes up as you work every day, right? Is people do understand that you're not going to be charging here, am I? You don't have to pay this in EMR. You're not going to be charged any interest. You're not going to be charged any processing fee. It's completely stress free. It's all digital, no paperwork. All your charges are simple transaction for you, but just lab based which can be as low as 19 cents. And depending on the transactions lab, if you're taking a hundred. $20, $30, a particular transaction fee, which is very nominal in nature. So I think that has allowed us to get a very good traction in the market where users find it very simple. They know what they're going for. They know what the charge is going to be, and they know when the money is going to hit the market. It's trying to keep it as simple as possible for the.

Maiko:

Got it. And we spoke about it. It's still relatively early days, but you actually have quite a bit of traction already your life with a bunch of customers. Tell us, how long have you been working on this? Where are you at right now? And also tell us about your funding round that you're actually in the process of closing right now.

Chitresh:

Absolutely. No. I think one thing we have super delighted and excited how welcoming the market has been. So we launched this in December, 2020, and it's. Just four to five months. And in four to five months, we've already seen signing up over hundreds of businesses that give us access to 300,000 plus employees. Last month alone, we launched 15,000. The next two months I've seen launching of another 30,000. So we have already signed up these businesses at 300,000 is going to be live in the next six months. There are a few. Contracts which are in the final stage, which give us access to 2 million employees and we are very excited about it. And I'm sure soon it'll be out in media which gives us access to a much wider pool in a very short period of time. And we are delighted that brands like cars, 24 rebel food. some of the amazing brands known across the sector is using us. And one thing that has been very cool is that we have a very diversified portfolio. So it's not cornered with. Set door, right? It's very diversified across ward call from BPOs to hospitals, to, hotels, to restaurants, to, so many other different types of businesses, which has really give us a very good understanding of different models and geographically too. One thing we are very proud is that most of the company. Focus on tier one. And then think about tier two. We have a very distributed flow of growth and tier one and tier two cities and tier two cities are usually the ones that have huge manufacturing sector clients and so on. So we made sure that we are geographically distributed. So we are hoping to be at a half a million by end of this year. And we have a clear sight on it, and we are super excited that. Be a game changer for for 500,000 people's life. And they'll be able to hopefully understand postal finances even better. So

Maiko:

investors in as well to support that mission now.

Chitresh:

Yes. So we're delighted to partner with some amazing and very supportive investors and people who know this industry inside out. So we are closed our seed funding in December last year with a lead investor being QD venture, which as is also investors in surveyed street. They are probably the most prominent. They need Ws space. They've invested in four different markets, which helps us a lot because we can cross check and learn a lot from their experience. And that. is really handy. From founder to other founder, if you can find an investor who knows this space, it's usually super helpful. And there've been anything done. Crazy helpful. Very operationally helpful. Same with other investors, XYZ Rossville Binney Dan Jones XYZ, Gabrielle, very hands-on and masters. And we had no plans to do another hunting. So it's soon going to be out in the media, but in just four months, I think the growth has been amazing. Theme. I think that the core reason for our success secret sauce is culture and team. I think those are the two biggest secret sauce, which is not so secret, people fail to value it. And we are just been very focused on that. And we have, we are just closing a 16 million series a led by DSD and RTP. So those are the two new brands that we'll be joining. And I think we are pretty ready with the rocket ship with these amazing investors who have done this before. There's already enough hell. So I think capital is not the worry. The worry is how can we make sure the product is delivered in the fashion that people understand it and continue to scale at the speed we are at. If not beyond that.

Maiko:

Amazing. I thought I saw a white stream moving fast, but you seem to be racing them for sure. That's great.

Chitresh:

Is a race. Enjoy it.

Maiko:

absolutely. Let's focus on some of those, the lessons learned throughout your journey, and it doesn't have to be only focused on refined, but throughout your different ventures, you've been involved with we have early stage social entrepreneurs listening to those people that care about solving social and environmental problems. And they may be at a level where they're looking at different ideas and about to start a business. So somebody like you that's already started multiple business can really give some valuable advice. What would you say has been one of the biggest lessons learned in your entrepreneurial journey and maybe also painful lesson? Anything that didn't come easily to you, you had to learn over time.

Chitresh:

Absolutely. Firstly I'm honored and delighted that people have that kind of profile soon to be founder already, or at least its founder will be listening to this. So thank you so much, Michael. I think this is very important for the ecosystem and the fact that people are thinking about starting up no matter which social cause you are associated or, trying to build something is brilliant. So kudos to you. Whoever is watching and listening. If you've done that you're already doing amazing, right? I think in my three different pods, Joanie, I have had loads of lessons and I think you'll need several days podcasts to come, but I'll try to point out the bigger learnings. I think every day is a great learning. Like when you try to do something your own, you just. Hands-on in every aspect of the business. So you get the knowledge of marketing, you get knowledge of logistics, operations, technology, and so on, right? Enforced venture in idea, suicide, learn, making money was easy, but getting sustainable getting extreme growth and creating a product that is, used again and again, that stuff in the second business I learned velocity is key and growing fast is great. But growing fast doesn't guarantee success. What guarantees success is sustainable growth, right? And I started to understand what sustainable growth meant, sustainable growth is while it's all about the numbers, making sense, the operationals and the back end front and all the numbers, making sense top line bottom line. But more importantly, if you choose to go with the route of a lawsuit where you find a product market fit quickly and you grow rapidly, you have to take care of the car. The one thing that's going to take a hit when you grow at a Lightspeed is culture, right? And culture is what forms, everything that we do in the business. And that has been my biggest learning. And I failed multiple time from moving so fast in hiring 16 people sales team, thinking that hiring a sales team is enough to get from one growth air station to grow B station. And it's a lot of training. It's a lot of, hands-on training people, understanding the framework. We will, that doesn't happen when you're out of velocity. You don't take it. You don't have time or you somehow, being an early founder and hands-on heart. I don't mind talking about it. You do the mistake or not prioritizing that, right? Because for you the next month, sales number is more important than next month. User numbers are more important and you deprioritize, having these alignment charts, alignment, exercising, culture rituals, and they take a backseat and you forget that they are the engines of. That is what is going to add sustainability to growth. And that is the one biggest learning I can say, guys. Whoever's watching me, you're going to hear a lot about culture, especially as Michael, you've done hundreds of postcards. It's a very loosely used on these days in the industry. Everyone's talking about it in a very loose term, but question is what does culture means? And I think our head of marketing Pushkin defines it the best way. Culture is how and what you do when no one's watching. And that's very deep, right? You need to create a culture which is blamed for you. You allow people to fail. You'd allow them to fail fast and you learn from mistakes. And it's a very self evolving piece. And for whatever we have achieved in four or five months, looks like a great achievement for a company, but really it took me 10 years. To come to achieve what we achieve in four months. It's what I learned and what I failed in 10 years of my journey, what I managed to achieve in the last and more importantly, it's the team that made it achieved, right? It's art focused on the culture. It's hiring the smartest people, being very stringent. You'll delay your processes, hiring processes. It's Okay. You want to make sure you're hiring the people for a longer period of time, allowing them a platform to progress, do things in the way they want. And they think is the right, because it makes no sense hiring a partner and then telling them what to do. They should, and it's easily said than done. You've got to have it. Patience and investment and, making sure you understand, and basically it has to be all about alignment. We believe to understand what they're working for and you back connect, setting annualized goals and amazing big, huge numbers and quarterly numbers. Great. But how do you back engineer that, and that is done by the wider team, right? That's where it happens.

Maiko:

zoom into that for a second. I think that's really valuable advice. On the point on culture, I think one point that's probably interesting. To look at us. It's probably too late worrying about culture once you're already on this fast growth journey, because you're probably not going to have the time to get it right. While growing that fast. Did you really sit down early days and really spend a lot of time and attention on getting the culture right first before, like saying, okay, now we're going to grow like crazy. That. Yeah, that would be my question. Is that one approach to take or how do you, and maybe give us some examples, like some concrete examples on how you maintain a great culture? What does it actually mean?

Chitresh:

Absolutely. That's a very good question thought. So when we started refining the two things, we were very short of doing total research. It took us almost a year to come to a conclusion that this is a hypothesis validate, move on, validate, move on till you have enough sample size to prove that there's a product market fit in a way you will never know till you reach out. Optimum level, which may take a year or two, your maybe several years in business, but having those set predefined goals are very critical. And you've got to be honest to yourself, right? That is very critical. And the second thing is culture. When I say culture, as I said, it's loosely used on, but we acted on it from day one. One of the reason why, for example, a head of marketing or a few key people joined us at V where we had an idea behind the napkin is because we have. Culture handbook before even the deck, right? We were very clear how this company function because it's a very operational, heavy business early on, right? Until you get automation in place, you can't automate things without knowing how it will work on a day to day basis. So you need to get in a way you need to get your hands dirty till you can start coming clean, right? Because you'll automate based on your learning. Key things which is again, a big piece on our culture, that alignment, right? So we have a very simplified OPR frameworks in the company. So we have a very clear, okay. Ours and realize, okay, I said quarterly or gas at every vertical heads. They're almost like mini CEOs. And we have this many CEOs meeting across every week every Saturday we come across. So it's your analyze. Okay. As your quarterly OKR and that is broken into each team spirit. So when you have a such a high speed, it might feel like, Hey, if I spend too much time in documenting these things, creating sprint, creating Trello, that's a lot of work. But in hindsight, those are your booster. Clarity and alignment. Other two critical friends you need on your site where you're moving at this speed, because it's so easy for so many projects to fall under the crack for so many peoples not knowing because you're hiring so fast. And it's so easy for people to forget. What the main goal is in day to day race. So it's very critical for people to be aligned to why they're doing what they're doing today. That is the key question we ask ourselves every stand up, if you can answer. You need to speak up, right? So those frameworks, annualized quarterly broken into each team sprint to article and having leadership every Saturday to prioritize and deprioritize is very critical. It's a framework which might take some time, but it's actually not so much time than you would think. There are hundreds of videos and they're amazing. on this. They're amazing founders video. Who's talk about it again and again. And I wish I knew this 10 years back. I honestly wish I knew this 10 years back and that has allowed us to keep a very strong grip. I think at any point of time, we have six to seven projects working monthly QI projects, it might sound a lot, but it allows us to keep a grip, allows us to understand the timeline wide has been privatized deprioritized because things are getting logged in and it just becomes a habit once. And it, in A way it needs to be. Forced coming from the founders, by example, and then the leadership by an example. So it's again, part of call of duty and we make sure that people understand that critical role for them.

Maiko:

A lot of OTRs, you talked about OTRs, I've seen are very kind of hard goals. Maybe some of the things that are in the investor decks and in the expectations of investors, in terms of increasing sales, building, product, shipping things, do you have OTRs around culture or would you recommend, is that measurable as well? To almost put that on the same level as outcomes like sales and product development, stuff like that.

Chitresh:

I think two level answer to that. So firstly, we've been blessed to have people who understand the situation because they are so experienced at this and nasty so they can benchmark a speed. So luckily we don't have that kind of pressure because if people are benchmarking and understand our situation like today, what we see in the market is extraordinary. No one would have ever planned for it. A company, which is so early on, started from work from home and still working work going on for so many clients says something about that framework, right? That we have 50 people in so many different locations, panics. But our works are being done on time. We are like last quarter, we hit 450%. Top of all our OTRs, is because that is marketed that way to everyone. So it doesn't skip anyone's mind regarding the culture. You're absolutely right. We actually have a framework for culture. We believe culture needs. Culture is not so culture is broken into rituals, right? It's actually the rituals that needs to be followed. As a ritual, as in with the tenacity and the strictness that it cannot be missed. So for example, giving an example, we have this insane ritual and amazing. We love it that every new member who comes in early on when we were starting reifying we had the first team member. So he came and joined and no one. Like we will work moving at a speed at that time that no one, actually someone like we missed to send them a welcome email and he sent a welcome email to himself. And it was so well done. We like this is going to be a ritual. This is a way. And since then every 15 member of our team has sent them themselves a welcome email to remind them for the mission they joined this. So any day you feel low or you ask yourself why this happen? You can go back to that. It's such a small thing, but it happens at every, and it's sent to everyone right. In the company and it just brings a smile and you're super aligned and you know about the person. So it solves a few things, it helps you go back to why you chose it second. It allows you to give a quick brief intro to everyone in the company. So everyone knows without even showing up in the first day. And it's just a very casualized break of too, a second ritual is we have weekly shout outs, right? So we have. Clear six pillars of culture, call of duty, empathy, focusing on most of the things that we say day to day being respectful. It's an easy, simple word, but just the way you speak to each other makes a big difference. So these six pillars, if anyone even closely related to whatever they have done, we have a shout out channel. The busiest channel on our slack is a shout-out channel. Like anyone can tag anyone at any point of time for anybody. And I think these are the rituals that makes you different. These are the ritual that makes you feel you're being recognized. Your work is being recognized. Therefore, the reporting is moving the bigger ship forward. I think that is the critical piece. And almost, it's such a thing that people forget in a country like India, where growth DNA, as you rightly say is so critical. That feels like this can wait, but the moment you let it. Sure decided your destiny. I think so. It's very critical. So if someone can learn, I would strongly recommend, think about your people strategy. Think about having the smartest people around you and bring, and I think CEOs and founders job is alignment and delegation and helping leaders prioritize and deep breath.

Maiko:

Such a good summary. I've got one more question for you and you already outlined some of the speed of which you're actually at which you're working at, which is just impressive to hear. So it may be difficult to answer that question because I'm going to ask you for 10 years timeline, which I think is probably hard to imagine given the speed that you're working at already within a few months. But if you think about 10 years from now how does the world look like if refined succeeds, if you're making the mission happen that you're working on.

Chitresh:

This is definitely one of the better questions I've heard about instead of talking about vision, that's really well framed. I think in 10 years, if we are able to help the masses get into. The finance system with some scoring, which represent how they are as individuals and how they are at work and give them access to other financial product. If a worker from a factory who makes, $300 a month of two $50 a month can access healthcare. Can access, saving and understand micro investments and, segregating that in the everyday expenses in a way that they can understand. I think we have done the job, right? And that's why Neil banks type pieces and hypothesis game, right? We're going to be the new era banks where we are going to personalize everything to you. In our case, we don't need to be a bank. We don't want to call us as a bank, but if we can help these people in 10 years, if they can open it up, They can see how the expense have been for every day, how they've saved their money, what have they spent, where they can save better and make sure small piece of their saving pot is growing. I think we have achieved it. I think it's fair to say we have achieved it. I think that is where we like to go. And it is for the people who are still to understand what for personal finances.

Maiko:

Love it. Thank you very much for joining me today. It's inspiring to hear your work on this new mission now, and I'm sure we're going to catch up in the future on Desi again and wish you all the best for refine for the next months and years and decades. So thank you very much.

Chitresh:

Thank you so much, Michael really appreciate having you certainly having me here really appreciate your time and some really amazing question. Always a pleasure and honor to be speaking to you and look forward to catching up, hopefully in India, this time with you.

Maiko:

Yeah, I'll try to come by at some point. Thank you so much, guys.

Chitresh:

Thanks Michael.