Smart Banking Solutions from HDFC Bank SmartUp Programme
HDFC Bank announced its decision to launch SmartUp Zones last year. Eventually, the implementation started in over 65 branches in 30 cities across India. The chosen branches were all emerging startup hubs. The cities focused on including tier-2 and tier-3. The bank has so far opened 16 such SmartUp zones across five States, including nine in Bangalore. Bank staff was specially trained to offer tailor-made banking and advisory solutions.
SmartUp Zone was inaugurated in one of the bank branches in the specified cities. This again acted as an exclusive area inside the branch to cater the needs of startups. Moreover, this initiative started to encourage entrepreneurship in the whole Indian state.
It started to extend funding support and act as a financial advisor to startups. The initiative was targeted at widely newly incorporated startups and evolved startups, at the seed-funding stage.
When this all started, there were over 1,000 startups based in the Chennai city. HDFC Bank launched its SmartUp zone in its Nungambakkam branch in Chennai. According to George Mathai, the Zonal Head of HDFC Bank-Tamil Nadu, many startups were backed up which was more than a normal current account. Moreover, waivers and concessions were provided for all the account-holders. Therein HDFC Bank minimum balance requirements for one year was only waived. All the entrepreneurs were allowed to use their debit cards and there were no charges for the first year.
Andhra Pradesh Telangana Zone
Similarly, this was started in Gachbowli branch of Hyderabad where the HDFC Bank rolled out SmartUp Zone for startups in Hyderabad. Established then, advisory solutions to the new age entrepreneurs started. As a result, this helped to secure the startups. The launch was a part of HDFC Bank’s plan to open such exclusive zones for startups in the Indian subcontinent. These were started with an aim to encourage startups in fintech, and other areas.Sooner two more SmartUp Zone facilities were established at Hitech City and Silicon Valley branches in the city. Eventually, they planned to roll out similar zones in 15 branches around Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. As per the bank’s estimates, about 1,200 startups were present in the two Telugu states. Of them, 225 startups already had a firm relationship with the bank.
The instances of HDFC SmartUp zone in Chennai and Hyderabad are provided.
First Milestones Achieved to ease StartUps
About 600 accounts were opened. Specially-trained staff was deployed at each of the zones to handle the requirement of startups and their founders. The bank fine-tuned the SmartUp products to include escrow accounts for investors and dematerialized shares for those unlisted companies.
Startups needed reliable partners, who will be with them from the start to the end of their entrepreneurial journey, creating solutions to evolve with the growth of the company. This new initiative was part of a larger effort by HDFC Bank to create an ecosystem to nurture the spirit of innovation and enterprise in the startup space. It helped the bank to extend its support to more startups. The advisor also advice how to skillfully manage funds to avoid Bankruptcy and strenghten the foundation of the startup.
As an evidence, the instances of HDFC SmartUp zone in Chennai and Hyderabad were provided above.