A hard-bound fat notebook generally bright red with the symbol of ‘Swastik on its first page has been the recordkeeper of the monthly credits of the neighbourhood’s Kirana shop. But what seemed to be cumbersome for the local shopkeepers was the task of tallying through those small bills or slips of paper, that have a higher chance of getting misplaced and prone to human errors. Any mismatch found while settling the outstanding will lead to a sour customer experience.
There is a visible gap here, where the larger corporates could afford automated account management platforms there was none for the local shopkeepers, which made them stick into the same old notebook format of managing accounts for several years. Where digitisation is burgeoning into every sector, three IIT graduates thought to bridge this gap by introducing a digital ledger app for small business owners that digitises their transactions and documents payment and freeing them from the ordeal of maintaining manual accounting books.
How is OkCredit Disrupting the ‘Bahi Khata’ Management
OkCredit, founded in 2017, is the brainchild of three IIT graduates Gaurav Kumar, Harsh Pokharna, and Aditya Prasad. Realising that most of the small business owners are shy of using new technology and but at the same time there is a deluge in the smartphones, their product OK Credit runs on a basic smartphone that equips the small business owners and their customers with an uncomplicated and secured way of maintaining credit and debit records of their business on an account basis. For ease of usage and relatability, OkCredit supports 13 different regional languages on its platform and has a voice note feature for the users to record the transactions. OkCredit brings efficiency in business by quick settling of balance amounts by allowing the local shopkeepers or Kirana store owners to view its monthly breakdown of credit purchases through a web page link that displays the breakdown. Instead of manual reminders for settling, it can send reminders through WhatsApp and SMS.
It is cumbersome for the local shopkeepers to tally through those small bills or slips of paper, that have a higher chance of getting misplaced and are prone to human errors.
OkCredit : Other than Managing the Accounts
Other than being a digital account management platform it has various features – OkStaff and OkShop. For local or mid-sized retail shops there is more than two staff working but OkStaff is a one-stop staff management solution where the shop owners within the comfort of a click can manage staff salary and attendance and can send free alerts through WhatsApp or SMS. The app supports 10 Indian local languages. The workshop feature allows the local shopkeepers to have their digital shop by displaying their products and offers.
Ok Credit’s Success and Funding
The pandemic has proved to be beneficial for OkCredit as it played a big role in reviving the small and medium businesses by aiding them to get back their outstanding amounts. In 2020, Ok Credit captured around 0.5 percent of the total GDP i.e. a transaction worth $ 40 billion. It currently has 2.4 crore registered users and 5.5 lakh users are recording transactions everyday. In 2020, the app has witnessed more than 800 million transactions with usage found most in merchants belonging to the age group of 31-40 yrs and 10 percent of the users in 40-50 yrs are adopting the app due to local languages available. Business verticals such as Kirana stores, mobile recharge shops, electronics, apparel, medical stores, and eatery shops form a major chunk of the customers. OkCredit has so far raised funding of $84 million from investors such as Y Combinator, LightSpeed India Partners, and Tiger Global.
What is in it for MSMEs and Startups?
Small and medium businesses form the bedrock of the Indian economy, as according to CII (Confederation Indian Industries ) this sector employs around 120 million people and contributes 30 percent in Indian GDP. The local businesses and shopkeepers are realising that pivoting operations to digital will bring efficiency, better inventory management and a doubling of revenues. There is an aspirational change among the local Kirana owners as they want to equally compete with the e-commerce giants. Hence, the future seems bright for the startups who want to bring different digital solutions to solve the business problems faced by their neighbouring local shopkeepers.