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Three FinTech startups speak about the challenges they face while trying to establish sustainable business and their expectations from incubators during the journey.

Even in the face of adversity and one of the biggest humanitarian challenges, the Indian startup ecosystems are flourishing. Within that larger landscape, Indian FinTech growth has indexed more than US$2 billion in capital infusion as per the last recorded data in May 2021 by KPMG’s ‘Pulse of FinTech H1’21’ report.


Read more: {Startup watch: YPay} Financial inclusion for Indian teens via smart card while parents keep an eye


While capital has definitely not been a challenge, the way the capital is deployed, and the business model structures have shown cracks. FinTech being a complex sector, startups face several challenges before they can make a reliable name in the market.

The Tech Panda interviewed three startups incubated at Afthonia Lab about the challenges they meet while going through the uphill task of succeeding as a FinTech startup. Also, what are their expectations from incubators? How can incubators particularly help FinTech startups in a post-pandemic landscape?

Value Propositions

As a FinTech company, navigating the scope of value propositions, business models and regulations is a major challenge, says Kunal Ahirwar, Co-founder and CEO of Earnvestt.

Kunal Ahirwar

Not only customers but all the stakeholders of a startup evaluate the difference a company is creating in their respective lives. But with growing competition, somewhere or the other, there’s a competitor providing the same service. Hence, it becomes important for an early stage entrepreneur to showcase the capabilities with the best price and quality

“Not only customers but all the stakeholders of a startup evaluate the difference a company is creating in their respective lives. But with growing competition, somewhere or the other, there’s a competitor providing the same service. Hence, it becomes important for an early stage entrepreneur to showcase the capabilities with the best price and quality,” he explains.

Compliances & Regulations

With increasing frauds in the FinTech world, the regulatory landscape is an evolving field, and it becomes increasingly important for startups to navigate the laws and regulations.

“There is a big list of formalities that FinTech startups need to fulfil before they even start operations,” says Ahirwar.

It is not very easy to enter the Indian market and perform due to the restrictive regulatory framework designed to prevent frauds, says Hozefa Muchhala, Founder and CEO of Ginger Root Code Factory.

Hozefa Muchhala

Being a highly regulated dynamic industry, it is necessary to understand and identify the regulations that are applicable and how to execute them accurately. There are huge penalties in case of defaults/non-compliance, which is where this becomes a crucial non-core part of the company

“It acts as a huge barrier for new entrants. They need to fulfil a lot of formalities before starting operations. There is a requirement for full-fledged regulatory frameworks that can contain the risks. To mitigate the potential risks, there is a need to formulate policies,” he adds.

“Being a highly regulated dynamic industry, it is necessary to understand and identify the regulations that are applicable and how to execute them accurately. There are huge penalties in case of defaults/non-compliance, which is where this becomes a crucial non-core part of the company,” says Darsh Golechha, Founder of Monech.

Traditional Finance

Muchhala says that it’s also a tough job to change the conservative approach of merchants and users who deal with daily transactions in cash.

“Majority of the aged people have been doing these transactions in cash for a long time and it’s hard to suddenly change their old habits and introduce them to new avenues at this age,” he says.

Expectations from Incubators 

An ideal incubator offers a program that depends on a startup’s distinctive needs and provides a stable framework for the startup to build its businesses within, making it ready for the next inflection point in the journey.

Here is what FinTech startups would like to see in an incubator program.

Unbiased Mentorship

While incubators assist FinTechs in various ways, Ahirwar says their motive should be unbiased.

“The incubator is expected to provide mentorship which is unbiased and doesn’t come with any vested interests. Simply help startups to transform written ideas and propositions into revenue generating businesses,” he says.

Networking Platform

It is rightly said, ‘Your network is your net worth.’

“Who other than an early stage startups can understand this better?” asks Muchhala.

“A well-established network helps startups discuss and brainstorm ideas, go to the right marketplace and provide access to PE/VC community, which eventually helps raise funds and grow dynamically,” he says.

The FinTech industry, like major fast paced, mega industries, runs with people at the top making decisions when it comes to FinTech products sale/acceptance/onboarding.

Darsh Golechha

Fintech is a partnership industry when it comes to data, APIs, etc. getting the tech integrations with the right companies, finding the right ones, connecting with them in lines of our product, integrating them and the entire process is time consuming which is a crucial component to building good companies

“Democratising the way to connect to the right decision makers in companies/institutions, will go a long way in reducing time in terms of reducing conversations, fasten product adoption, increase seamlessness, lead to faster business, industry growth,” says Golechha.

“Fintech is a partnership industry when it comes to data, APIs, etc. getting the tech integrations with the right companies, finding the right ones, connecting with them in lines of our product, integrating them and the entire process is time consuming which is a crucial component to building good companies,” he adds.

A Test Environment

A tech environment to test product with a controlled set of customers, both B2B and B2C, can help, says Golechha. This can include useful to test crucial aspects with feedback like UI/UX, Data security, Scalability, Business model, marketing strategy, compliance etc.


Read more: {Fintech watch: Recko} Empowering finance decisions of fast-growing Internet businesses without a single line of code


“A monthly/bi-monthly meet, wherein a set of incubator-network corporate heads come to have a look at the startups/products with the potential to mutually benefit both parties,” he says.

Brainstorming Discussions & Culture Building

Talking about ideas will go a long way, says Golechha. He gives an example of having brainstorming sessions focused on one business area (three to four per week).

“A one hour sales session: Go to market with sub agenda: “Approaches that can be developed with focused approach on how to position the product, messaging along with design, etc.” he explains.


Read more: {Incubator: Afthonia Lab} Helping FinTech startups expand in India & the globe + Advice for aspiring FinTech startups


Real-time discussions on information on latest technologies in the international space, developments in international markets in terms of products/technology to build knowledge will also help, he adds.

“External sessions to instigate conversations around future tech, focused towards specific segments in fintech, where founders are participants,” he suggests.

Culture building in organisations and help towards team building is also important. Identifying the right companies that can help the startup hire fast, wherein, the initial two-three hires can be free.

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