Jitendra Gupta is a former investment banker and a serial fintech entrepreneur. He founded one of the first Indian digital payments solutions companies, Citrus, in 2010. Six years later, it was acquired by Naspers-owned PayU, which Gupta joined as managing director for India. While at PayU, Gupta spearheaded its alternate lending business, Lazypay, which introduced the “buy now, pay later” concept in India in 2017. Two years after that, he left PayU to build a neobank, Jupiter.
Gupta launched his neobanking platform in June 2021 on an invite-only basis. It now has more than 250,000 users. The two-year-old company—which through partnerships with banks gives users new ways to open accounts, apply for debit cards, and perform expenditure analysis—currently sees 5,000 to 6,000 new users signing up each day.
As Jupiter gets ready to add lending to its portfolio of services, Gupta expects the neobank to reach nearly 2 million users by December 2022, he told KrASIA, adding that the FOMO whipped up by the invite-only approach is working in its favor.
The following interview has been edited and consolidated for brevity and clarity.
KrASIA (Kr): How does Jupiter differentiate itself in a crowded banking market?
Jitendra Gupta (JG): Every bank claims to provide hundreds of services on mobile. But consumers use banking apps for a few basic things like checking their balance, making transfers, managing credit cards, and applying for loans. Since these banks provide menu-based services that are not very intuitive, consumers are often lost and need to figure out how and where to find a service.
India has around 50 major banks. Other than the top five, the rest are neither realizing the needs of digital consumers, nor have the ability to hire talent that can build the digital experience for consumers.
However, today, consumers live in a world where they have reviews, ratings, and recommendations. They are beginning to shift toward better experiences. They want a smarter way of banking rather than feature-driven banking. We want to capitalize on this consumer behavior shift. Currently, 80% of our customers belong to the top five banks. Right now, they use Jupiter as an additional account. But the activity is high, so there is no reason why customers won’t use Jupiter as their primary accounts. Banks will rather partner with us than lose customers.
Kr: Which fintech trends stood out in India in 2021?
JG: The stockbroking and wealth tech companies like Zerodha, Groww, Upstox, and Dhan, which were nowhere until last year, achieved a significant scale in 2021.
The second breakout trend is cryptocurrencies becoming mainstream. Until mid-2020, people weren’t paying so much attention to them.
Third, digital payments companies like Razorpay, Billdesk, and Cashfree have gained massive scale in the last 12–18 months. This year even more so, because there are now many online D2C brands, leading to the growth of online payments. This space is now doubling annually.
Kr: What does Paytm’s disastrous IPO mean for the Indian fintech ecosystem?
JG: Paytm is known for being too thinly spread. After existing for over ten years, it has to show profits. Its weak market debut doesn’t come as a surprise. There will be some pressure on valuations (of fintech firms eyeing IPOs) because Paytm’s listing has led to a reality check. These companies will be under more pressure to perform. Going public won’t be as easy as it has been. But I don’t think it will change investors’ views on India’s massive fintech opportunity, because that is not defined by Paytm. The capital inflow will continue in the sector.
Kr: What’s your outlook for India’s neobanking market?
JG: It is still early days for neobanks. Altogether, between the top two or three players, there are roughly 1 million customers, which is not much. But the growth rates are phenomenal for all the companies. I expect 2022 to be a breakout year for neobanking. The market is so big, but the traction is still so small. Ultimately, we are competing against 40–45 inefficient banks.
The fintech wave in India has been driven by a young set of consumers who are savvy and well-read. They do not have fixed expectations about how they should bank or consume products. They want to use the best products and have the best experiences.