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iTrust.in is an independent financial supermarket and financial advisor focusing on the mass-affluent market and unlike several other startups in this space, it uses a hybrid online and offline model.
iTrust’s mission statement says it all:
“To help Indian families get rich.”
iTrust helps consumers with advice on buying financial products, managing finances etc; and offers advice and services in:
One can use the website to compare financial products like personal loans, insurance etc.
Before we review the product, lets look at the market opportunity;
Typical Problem Faced by Indian Consumers
Customers are confused with too many products flooding the market and intimidated by the jargon used in the financial services industry.
- High search costs in getting information and deals
- Weak or low bargaining power when buying from large companies
- Constant worry about making the wrong decision
The majority of consumers have no clue about the product and what they are being pushed into. Problem is only rising in severity as new products are introduced every day, and the general wealth levels are rising in society, so a lot more personal wealth needs to be managed.
Size of the Problem
Personal financial services is still a young industry in India. Almost all Indians have basic needs of buying a house, getting their family protected, investing enough to pay for their kids’ education/wedding, and planning for their retirement. Yet, these are the very areas that most Indian consumers face a challenge in understanding.
There are over 20 million Indians who fall into the target market for personal financial services.
iTrust is a financial intermediary that helps customers overcome high search costs in buying financial products and mitigate the lack of a bargaining power by providing customers with industry leading expertise and negotiating capabilities with the product manufacturers.
Apart from focusing on all aspects of personal finance whether its loans, buying assets, investing in funds or getting a tax return or a will made, iTrust’s significant difference is the authority they are building in their space.
- 8 month TV show on Zee Business last year, “Money Guru Special”
- Weekly contributors to Economic Times, Indian Express and other personal finance magazines
- Content on iTrust.in on a weekly basis on practical solutions to problems that customers face
I have covered RateKhoj and Ecompare earlier, but what makes iTrust an interesting startup is their focus on offline channels.
The company has also built a proprietary Financial Planning Engine to create customized financial plans, uniquely suited for a customers’ special needs and risk profile.
Currently, iTrust is based in NCR, but has plans to open offices in the 28 Indian cities. Although the start-up is about a year old, its has built a team of over 125 people, including a 15 person technology team. Its currently offering its services to 32 MNCs in the NCR area with an employee base of over 25,000 middle class families.
The founders of iTrust are Dhruv Agarwala and Kartik Varma (who writes golden posts @ pluGGd.in), classmates from Harvard Business School.
Couple of Feedbacks
- The entire form filling process is tedious, boring (everything related to finance is!) and most importantly, one gets just a set of text after submitting all the details. Think of an interesting way (take a pick from glassdoor) and create interesting qns (wizard will work) that keeps the user pluggd to the qns (personalized report at the end of the entire transaction helps a user understand what he/she needs to do).
- Give away free downloadable tools and be seasonal – right now, it’s the time of filing IT returns – so have QnA section where readers can ask questions (this will help a lot from SEO perspective as well)
- The entire comparison flow needs to be interactive – right now, a comparison for house loan needs couple of clicks to get to the actual result.
Somehow, a “trusted” advisor feel isn’t there in the system. A system like this should show up things which one is not really looking for outrightly – for e.g. cheapest loan, offers etc – increases the stickiness of the product.
iTrust was recently profiled in the Financial Times, a leading global business and finance newspaper, as being at the forefront of educating Indian consumers about what to do with their money.
What’s your take on iTrust?