Recently, we interacted with Mr. Manish Khera, Founder, and CEO of Happy – a neo-lending platform for MSMEs, recognized as one of the 2019 Inclusive Fintech 50 in the world by Visa and IFC and has won two national awards by Times Now & ET Now – Best AI Startup of the Year & the most innovative startup of the year respectively.
Here are the interview highlights:
1. Brief about Happy and its offerings.
Happy- India’s fastest growing digital lending platform offering small & short-term business loans to MSMEs in India using alternate data. HAPPY is a API-based digital lending platform, aims to reach 1 million customers by the end of 2023, with at least 40% of them being new to credit, thus inching closer to its vision of bringing the credit invisible micro-MSMEs into the formal credit ecosystem and accelerating the nation’s inclusive growth agenda.
Founded in 2016, the company has partnered with multiple merchant aggregators (POS vendors, BC network, E-commerce platforms & more) to enable their merchants with instant loans. They are in house funded with 21 million dollars.
Happy offers a range of financial services to MSMEs, aimed at addressing their specific needs and supporting their growth. Some of the key financial services provided by Happy include:
Digital Lending: Happy facilitates access to credit for MSMEs through its lending platform. It collaborates with various technology aggregators and lenders to streamline the lending process and provide quick and convenient financing options.
Working Capital Loans: Happy offers working capital loans to MSMEs, helping them manage their day-to-day operations and meet their short-term financial requirements. These loans can be used for inventory management, purchasing raw materials, paying suppliers, and covering other working capital needs.
Business Expansion Loans: Happy provides business expansion loans to MSMEs looking to scale up their operations or enter new markets. These loans can be utilized for investing in new equipment, expanding production capacity, launching new products or services, and undertaking marketing initiatives.
Overall, Happy aims to empower MSMEs with comprehensive financial solutions that enhance their financial stability, enable growth, and mitigate risks associated with running a business.
2. What are the unique features of Happy that have set it apart from other digital lending players in the market?
The factors that sets Happy apart from other digital lending players in the market are its unique features:
a) Seamless Application Process: Happy provides a user-friendly and streamlined application process. Customers can apply for loans online, eliminating the need for lengthy paperwork and physical visits to the lender’s office.
b) Quick Approval and Disbursement: Happy leverages advanced technology and data analytics to expedite the loan approval process. Customers receive quick decisions on their loan applications, often within minutes, and funds are disbursed promptly, enabling them to address their financial requirements without delay.
c) Flexible Repayment Options: Happy understands the varying needs and capacities of borrowers. It offers flexible repayment options, including tenure customization and automatic repayment through bank account linkages. This allows customers to manage their loan repayments conveniently.
d) Personalized Interest Rates: Happy utilizes its proprietary credit scoring models, analyzing various data points to assess the creditworthiness of applicants. Based on this evaluation, customers receive personalized interest rates, ensuring fair and competitive pricing.
3. How does Happy help medium and small businesses to retain and grow their business?
Happy plays a crucial role in helping medium and small businesses retain and grow their operations:
a) Access to Quick Funds: Happy understands the importance of timely capital for businesses. By providing swift access to funds, Happy enables businesses to address their working capital needs, manage cash flow gaps, and seize growth opportunities without delays.
b) Simplified Borrowing Process: Happy’s digital lending platform simplifies the borrowing experience for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It eliminates the need for extensive paperwork and traditional loan processes, saving time and effort for business owners.
c) Customized Financing Solutions: Happy offers tailored financing solutions designed specifically for the unique needs of SMEs. Whether it’s purchasing new equipment, expanding the business, or managing seasonal demands, Happy provides flexible loan products to meet diverse requirements.
d) Financial Inclusion: Happy focuses on promoting financial inclusion by catering to underserved businesses that may have limited access to traditional banking channels. It enables these enterprises to overcome financial barriers and thrive in a competitive marketplace.
4. What is the impact of technology on the platform and how does it improve your services?
Technology plays a pivotal role in Happy’s platform and service enhancements:
a) Data-Driven Decision Making: Happy leverages technology and data analytics to make accurate and efficient credit decisions. By analyzing various data points such as financial history, business performance, and industry trends, Happy assesses the creditworthiness of applicants more effectively, leading to faster loan approvals.
b) Enhanced Customer Experience: Technology empowers Happy to provide a seamless and user-friendly interface for customers. The digital platform ensures easy application submission, real-time updates on loan status, and secure document uploads, improving overall customer experience and satisfaction.
c) Efficient Loan Processing: Technology enables automated loan processing, reducing manual intervention and speeding up the entire loan lifecycle. This efficiency translates into quicker loan disbursals, ensuring that customers receive the funds they need promptly.
d) Fraud Prevention and Security: Happy utilizes advanced technology solutions to mitigate fraud risks and ensure the security of customer data. Robust encryption protocols, secure data storage, and ongoing monitoring systems safeguard customer information, fostering trust and confidence in the platform.
5. What are the plans for Happy moving ahead?
Moving ahead, Happy has several plans to enhance its services and expand its reach:
a) Geographic Expansion: Happy aims to expand its operations to new markets and geographies, reaching a wider customer base. By extending its footprint, Happy can cater to the financing needs of businesses and individuals in previously untapped regions.
b) Product Diversification: Happy intends to introduce new financial products and services to address evolving customer needs. This could include offerings such as insurance solutions, investment opportunities, and specialized lending products tailored to specific industries.
c) Partnerships and Collaborations: Happy seeks to collaborate with strategic partners, including financial institutions, technology providers, and industry associations, to leverage synergies and enhance its product offerings. These partnerships can facilitate access to new customer segments and complementary services.
d) Continuous Technological Advancements: Happy will continue investing in technology to enhance its platform’s capabilities. This includes leveraging artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics to further streamline loan processing, improve credit decision-making, and enhance overall customer experience.
e) Customer Education and Support: Happy recognizes the importance of financial literacy and aims to educate and empower its customers. It plans to provide resources, workshops, and personalized guidance to help individuals and businesses make informed financial decisions and optimize their borrowing experience.
By implementing these plans, Happy aims to solidify its position as a market leader in the digital lending space and further contribute to the financial growth and success of its customers.