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Negativity made me try harder: Sashank Rishyasringa, Capital Float

"I was also told that the MSME sector is a traditional sector and mostly carry their business offline."

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Feb 20, 2018, 09.07 AM IST
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"Negativity made me take up this business more as a challenge to prove others wrong."
"Negativity made me take up this business more as a challenge to prove others wrong."
After returning from Stanford University, having completed my management degree, I was looking at various business opportunities across ecommerce, digital lending, transportation and others. But one thing that I consistently got as a feedback from bankers and prospective investors was that there was no way two Stanford graduates would be able to crack an online first lending business in India.

The usual sense that we got was them going like ‘tumse na ho payega’ (you would not be able to do it). I was also told that the MSME sector is a traditional sector and mostly carry their business offline, hence collecting data from these entities for an online-only lending model would be a huge challenge.

Such negativity made me take up this business more as a challenge to prove others wrong and I knew if there was universal scepticism then the prize to prove everyone wrong would be really big.

Thereby not only did I enter into a lending business but kept it completely online. Further, even within lending, I chose to enter the MSME space though consumer lending looked easier. Within the lending business also I could have gone for a marketplace or a lead generation model, but then I entered into balance sheet lending. Even within the SME, in spite of having a better model to underwrite loans in the range of Rs 10 to Rs 30 lakh, I chose to also target the Rs 1 lakh loans for kirana shops, which is even more difficult to underwrite.

So, today, if I can count Ribbit Capital, which is one of the most prominent fintech investors globally, as one of the shareholders of the company, I believe it is largely due to the fact that as a motto of the company I have always said that we should pick market dislocations that are deep and hard because if you can crack those, then you have a huge head start against competition.

(As told to Pratik Bhakta)
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