It is said that heartbreak teaches a lot and this is not true only in books and films; It is also the story of Prakash Kumar.
Prakash, 27, was in his final year of engineering at IIIT-Allahabad in 2015, when he broke his heart. He was not able to concentrate on anything and during that time he had no desire to find a job. He decided to take some time off and moved to his hometown Patna.
The break earned him a payment, banking and discount app for students and youth Khilzeb Inspired to start.
This payment app based on BHIM UPI allows users to send and receive money, recharge and merchants to pay and send directly to their bank accounts through their UPI ID or QR code.
Prakash says, “Ola Cabs recently launched its service in Patna. I booked Ola for my house from the railway station. I reached home and money was deducted from Ola Money. The entire payment experience was so smooth and seamless, that I started wondering why it couldn’t happen everywhere? It seemed more attractive because I was completely ignorant of the developments in digital payments around the world during that time. ”
But this problem got him thinking. He began researching various payment systems around the world and thought of creating something similar that focused on the student community.
He then came forward as co-founders along with his friends and classmates, Aman Verma, Sudhanshu Gaur and Wilson Birua. He started working on Khalijeb in January 2015 and registered a bootstrapped startup in March 2016.
Start after college
Prakash says, “As novices, outside of college we failed in many things and made a lot of mistakes. But, we pondered and the idea kept evolving. We launched the app in October 2018 on the Play Store. ”
Operations were initially started in Allahabad, but soon the co-founders moved to Bengaluru, as it was easy to gain talent and market access there.
Prakash suggests that the payment space is exceptionally competitive. Many payment platforms have a modest amount of capital to spend on customer acquisition and marketing.
He said, “The challenges for a new player are huge. Trust is an important factor for customers when it comes to payment apps. Google, Paytm, PhonePe, and others score higher than an unknown name like us due to their brand image and years of innovative hard work. In the presence of such technology and payment giants, it is also very difficult to give a modest name. ”
“We had some challenges which were product-market friendly as well as creating a solid policy-making strategy, building trust among consumers, acquiring new customers, hiring, bootstrapping, fund raising etc. She was.
The Khalijeb app works as a full-blown UPI PSP app and is operated by Kotak Mahindra Bank. Under the Target segment, the app is looking at students and youth aged 15–29.
After signing up you need a UPI ID or a mobile number to transfer money from your bank account to someone else’s bank account, whether it’s a friend or a merchant. The application does away with the need to share account numbers, IFSC, and other details. Users can initiate a request and request money from friends and family directly in their bank account.
One of the main focus areas of Khalijeb is its membership-based discount program that allows users to receive exclusive benefits from brands and merchants across categories.
Says Prakash, “This app is working across India with some youth-focused brands offering special discounts to young Indians below 29 years. We are adding new brands every other day. We have 350+ restaurants and salons in Bengaluru offering special discounts on Khalijeb. ”
Aman says that a person under 29 years of age must register for a discount program membership by uploading their ID. “Verification takes place within minutes. It is a one-time process. ”
Focus on students
The payment startup has launched a ‘Verify by Khalizeb’ B2B product, which helps students identify customers and run discount campaigns for them. “It’s API / SDK-based and can be easily integrated into a brand’s app or website within minutes,” says Aman.
He said that the team is currently offering free membership of one month on referring Khaljeb to a friend.
With the next update, the youth can purchase a three-month discount program membership for Rs 49. Members will receive an offer code and can follow the steps outlined to receive benefits.
Brands that offer exclusive benefits to young Indians include Gaana, Storytel, Cult.Fit, Testbook, etc.
Market and model
Khalijeb claims that it has a userbase of 37,000 students and has transactions of over Rs 1.4 lakh.
Sudhanshu says that they make money through transactions, readymade coupons, discount program membership fees, listing fees from merchants and brands, sponsored advertisements and banners for brands and merchants, and charging the brand for student verification APIs.
“Brands and merchants provide us with 4–12 percent on commission sales generated through us. For the Student Verification API we charge a setup fee and small flat fee as per ID verification. We are offering three months of student verification services free to early stage startups. ”
The payment space in India is growing rapidly.
A PwC report said that the country would contribute close to 2.2 percent of the world’s digital payments by 2023. Several innovations such as Bharat QR, Mobile Wallet and UPI have ensured that the public closely watches digital payments.
The region is dominated by giants such as Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay and even WhatsApp. However, Khalijeb has chosen to focus on students and has a discounted model, which assumes that is “differential”.
The team is witnessing over 3 lakh downloads and over 2.8 lakh signups, which is close to Rs 35,000 per day transaction and plans to achieve a value of Rs 3.5 to 4 crore in transaction value by the end of next year.
It aims to open more than 10,000 digital savings accounts, bringing together 30+ brands for the student verification API product, and commissioning 300+ brands for the rebate program.
Wilson says, “Our immediate goal is to raise seed funds to expand the team and create new products.” Facilities to track, manage and split spending in the next six to eight months which we plan to introduce; A digital savings bank account; And a micro-savings product targeted at all youth, etc. ”