This financial app is re-inventing how women manage their finances, a push towards financial inclusion.
While urban Indian women have earned equality in virtually every front, financial independence often becomes a joint account with a male member of the family. The time has come to stake women’s claim where it matters the most, finances.
Basis, a financial services app and community-based platform for women, is an Indian financial products and services platform designed for women. It has the aim of re-imagining, re-thinking, and re-engineering how women look at and manage their finances.
The Tech Panda spoke to Hena Mehta, CEO and Co-founder of Basis, about its vision for financial independence for women.
Financial services as an industry have defaulted to men. However, women need financial services more than men due to more extended retirement periods, the gender pay gap, higher healthcare costs and risks, higher personal care costs, and chequered income patterns due to events such as a career break
“Financial services as an industry have defaulted to men. However, women need financial services more than men due to more extended retirement periods, the gender pay gap, higher healthcare costs and risks, higher personal care costs, and chequered income patterns due to events such as a career break,” she explains.
“Nine out of 10 women will have to manage their money on their own at some point in their lives. We knew that community and education-driven products would help solve the massive gender money gap,” she adds.
What They Do
Basis boasts a community of more than 1,00,000 women on a mission to learn, discuss and transact. It is a SEBI registered investment advisory that provides financial coaching from qualified financial advisors, customised recommendations on insurances, mutual funds and more; free bite-sized, interactive personal finance courses and premium content designed for Indian women.
“To build a relevant platform in the years to come, it is crucial to address all aspects of a woman’s financial situation, and it all begins with providing the correct information. Therefore, every feature on Basis is built based on a deep understanding of women’s economic behaviour,” says Mehta.
She explains that its features include the Knowledge Boosters, which help with jargon-free, contextual information to not get lost in the pool of information available on finance on the Internet today.
Also, the Advisory Section provides instruments and guidance to manage money better, from suggesting mutual funds based on the user’s financial goals to insightful calculators that estimate corpuses for career breaks.
An Engaged Community, which she calls ‘the soul of Basis offerings’, is a supportive space wherein women an voice their queries and share the knowledge they gained.
“We recently introduced personalised user journeys in the app to offer guided paths to enable our community to reach their goals,” she says.
Origin & Inspiration
Basis was born of a personal financial incident that Mehta faced in 2016, when after receiving the good news of getting into one of the world’s top business schools, Wharton, she realised that she had no means of financing.
“Basically, this was a huge financial event that I had failed to plan for. I didn’t want to take on a huge education loan because that would destroy my dreams of starting a company post my MBA. Seriously, why didn’t I make use of the 7+ years of working and earning a decent amount of money to plan my investments to hit this major life goal?” she recalls with frustration.
We’re independent. We’re earning money. We’re choosing to get married – or not. But for some reason, our financial lives take a backseat
Post returning to India after her MBA, she delved into this space.
“Why don’t more women take charge of their money? I realised I was far from alone in these challenges. Interacting with over 500 women across urban metros told me that nine out of 10 women were in the same boat,” she says.
“We’re independent. We’re earning money. We’re choosing to get married – or not. But for some reason, our financial lives take a backseat. I saw a massive gap, and an opportunity to solve a large problem. I teamed up with my childhood friend, and Co-founder Dipika Jaikishan – a financial planning expert – and Basis was born,” she reminisces.
The Basis USP
Basis claims to be the first platform in the country to build women-focused financial services, with a community and education driven approach.
We have deeply understood women’s behaviours, attitudes and motivations behind money and financial decisions, and have designed our platform from scratch keeping the urban Indian woman at the centre of it all
“We are essentially creating a new category within financial services and are targeting the single largest underserved vertical in the space. We have deeply understood women’s behaviours, attitudes and motivations behind money and financial decisions, and have designed our platform from scratch keeping the urban Indian woman at the centre of it all,” Mehta explains.
“When was the last time gender-specific needs were taken into account while you were thinking about insurance, investments or your loans?” she pointedly asks.
The Basis app recently crossed one lakh app installs and is starting to see a larger share of new user acquisitions via organic growth. The active user base on Basis also increased 215% in the last quarter. Its Play Store rating is a market-leading 4.9.