1) Immensely Underserved Self-Employed Market
The Indian dream has grown leaps and bounds over the past decade. We’ve gone from obscurity, to the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world, all while attaining an impressive slew of milestones which have added wings to Indians nationwide.
While the unicorns, and IPOs garner all the attention, it would be criminal to overlook the contribution of self-employed people, and other such operators in this unprecedented success story.
Self-employed folks constitute about 76% of the entire Indian workforce, and also create numerous jobs in the country.
However, while the contribution of this sector is indeed noteworthy, it is still severely impeded by a lack of access to credit.
It is due to this gulf that people in this space often find themselves lacking vital resources that can help them elevate their businesses.
The biggest reason for this gap is information asymmetry. Banks, and other lending organisations hesitate to extend credit to self-employed symmetry because they usually lack detailed credit histories. Thus, when they find themselves unable to gauge the credit-worthiness of self-employed people, they refuse them much needed credit.
Aspire seeks to resolve this once and for all.
They offer people in this segment, virtual credit cards which can be used to avail rolling-credit. Card holders can scan them via UPI anywhere to make payments, which are converted to 4 EMIs with bill due at the beginning of each month.
Therefore, what Aspire offers self-employed folks is an easy access to credit, and an opportunity to build a credit history. This is so far unprecedented. If we are to empower grass-root entrepreneurs, we need more people like Aspire, who are willing to build for Bharat.
2) Unprecedented adoption of UPI
It wouldn’t be hyperbolic to state that UPI is the backbone of the Indian digital economy. Over the past 6 years, it has grown tremendously, and witnessed a peerless pace of adoption.
While making payments prior to the technology was a cumbersome process, UPI has allowed people to access a vast multitude of banking options all through individual mobile applications.
It is a huge testament to UPI’s utility, that it has not just revolutionised peer-to-peer transactions, but also peer-to-merchant transactions.
While UPI is obviously the dominant mode of payment amongst individuals, it is also the most preferred mechanism for merchant transactions (P2M).
Digital merchant payments will see 7x growth in the next five years from $0.3–0.4 trillion currently to reach $2.5- 2.7 trillion by 2026.
Merchants prefer UPI because it allows them to escape the crippling problem of delayed payments in the economy. As per some estimates, the amount stuck as delayed payments are about 10.7 Lakh crores.
Therefore, due to the sheer comfort, it offers to the users, UPI has become synonymous with payments.
This is why Aspire has sought to allow its users to access credit using UPI. The tremendous acceptance of UPI allows the team to penetrate deep into the market, and benefit people at every level.
3) Demonstrably Experienced Team
Aspire is building a very technically demanding product. Such an offering demands a team with exceptional skills, and the determination to change the lives of millions of people across the country.
Tushar, and Manoj are perfect as founders to take on this gargantuan task.
Due to the considerable experience they’ve been able to attain in this space while working at esteemed companies like Axio, HSBC and Capital One, they are acutely aware of all the deficiencies that exist in this space, and how to best eliminate them to optimise growth. They’ve also scaled such products in those tenures.
They are familiar with building both credit, and card based products which serves them well as they seek to curate their offerings, and find the perfect cure for all self-employed folks’ credit woes.
While they are peerlessly competent operators in the space, their leadership capabilities are a true sight to behold.
They have approached every hurdle with a very lucid perspective, and a clear first principle outlook. This has allowed them to serve their customers well, keep their team hungry and motivated, and successfully guide the company through the terrains of the industry.
4) Sustainable Business Model
Aspire is one of the earliest movers in the market. The founders have been working on this problem since 2020. They’ve experimented persistently since then to build a product which solves the biggest issues in the market.
This combined with the team’s efficiency has allowed them to build a really lucrative proposition.
They are solving for MDR by charging a subscription fee from users. Further, the retailer does not have to imbibe any new behaviour to facilitate the process. The user, on the other hand, would just have to pay a small subscription fee to access the credit services.
This easy model has allowed them to achieve spectacular traction in a relatively short period.
They’ve amassed over 500K downloads on Play Store. While such a swift acquisition cycle is excellent, their 70% M1 retention rate also augers well for the future.
Further, the firm has also been able to maintain a positive LTV/CAC ratio. This is specifically notable because the firm is solving for higher margins. It is these factors that allow the firm to be able to achieve amongst the most stellar unit economics in the space.
Thus, Aspire’s model is gaining widespread validation from the market, and that only reaffirms our faith in the team, and their ability to scale this venture.
Despite the fact that a vast majority of India identifies themselves as self-employed, they still find themselves grappling with an absolute lack of credit solutions. This is primarily because of a lack of credit history. Aspire bypasses all these restrictions, and extends to the self-employed, the services that they deserve with the aid of UPI.
Payments were quite cumbersome earlier. However, the sheer ease that UPI has injected into the system is refreshing. This is why the sheer velocity of adoption we’re witnessing for UPI is unparalleled. Merchants are also extensively using UPI, making it a preferred mode of transacting.
To build a product so revolutionary, and comprehensive, we need a team that is not only technically well-versed, but also determined to alter an entire industry forever. That is precisely the backbone of Aspire, and their success.
Speaking of success, the kind of traction and customer love Aspire’s received in such a short period of time is impeccable. It builds confidence in the team’s capability to create a sustainable business model that could define an entire sector.
We at Eximius Ventures are very proud to associate with Aspire, and wish them all the best.