Top-Notch Entrepreneur, Milan Ganatra's View on Fintech Industry [Exclusive Interview]

Jeenal Jain Jeenal Jain
Jun 4, 2021 11 min read
Top-Notch Entrepreneur, Milan Ganatra's View on Fintech Industry [Exclusive Interview]

StartupTalky interviewed Mr. Milan Ganatra, a prominent face in the wealth management community to get his professional opinions and views on the Fintech Industry in India. He brings with him more than two decades of experience in financial services. This serial entrepreneur and investor founded Miles Software, a path-breaking company in the fintech space.

As an individual, Milan Ganatra believes that life is a beautiful journey where it is essential that one constantly grows, gains experiences, and learns new subjects. Milan continues to believe, despite increasing competition, that fintech has enormous potential. With a solution-oriented mind, he is interested in finding like-minded partners with whom he can invest in ventures within the sphere of fintech. A prime example of this is his investment in Financepeer and Finalyca after his exit from Miles Software.

His eagerness to explore urged him to invest and form a disruptive fintech platform - 1Silver Bullet, which provides gateway infrastructure for a range of tech-based avenues such as Edtech, Agritech, Insurance, Traveltech among others. Milan is a member of the Advocacy & Knowledge Management Committee for the Indian Institute of Alternative Investments funds, as well. He also consults several banks  and financial institutions. Known for his dedication to his profession, he is always excited to hear new ideas, invest in new projects, and offer innovative solutions.

Let's see what Mr, Milan Ganatra has got to say on the Indian Fintech Ecosystem in the post ahead!

  1. Motto of 1Silver Bullet and How it works
  2. Top trends in the Indian FinTech Ecosystem
  3. Change in the Fintech Industry of India in the Pre & Post-covid Era
  4. Growing usage & Advancement of Technology in the Fintech space
  5. Role of AI / ML -driven performance analytics in the fintech space
  6. Future of the Fintech Space
  7. Role and Future of Robo Advisory in Investment management
  8. How to be successful in the growing technological advancement in fintech space?
  9. Data Security in Fintech Space: Distinguish a legitimate fintech platform from a fraud
  10. Milan Ganatra's Expectations from Startups prior to Investing
  11. Milan Ganatra's Recent Investments and Future Plans
  12. Contact Mr. Milana Ganatra for Investment, Mentorship & Solutions
  13. Milan Ganatra's Advise to the Budding Fintech Platforms

1. What is the main motto of 1Silver Bullet? How does it work?

With 1Silver Bullet we are trying to democratize the digitization of the financial space. Despite the recent emphasis on digitization, there are still glaring gaps that neither incumbents nor fintech have managed to cross over. With 1Silver Bullet our effort is to lay down the infrastructure and provide a well-thought digitization framework that can help these organisations to transform their legacy systems in a smooth, efficient, and time-bound manner. We lay down the framework and provide them with the tools so that they can focus on their core business.

The most striking trends in the fintech ecosystem are centered around how these new-age companies have disrupted the status quo. They quickly seized the ground from incumbent players by introducing technology to improve and simplify processes. The three topmost fields where we saw fintech companies make their mark are:

  • Payments: Apps like GPay and Paytm are some of the most popular payment apps. They completely revolutionized how people in India make payments today
  • Banking: The success of fintech shows how banks have no choice but to keep up with the pace set by these neo banks. While most of the neo banks have an anchor point, like investment or SME, what they offer is a holistic experience.
  • Investment or brokerage: Groww, Zerodha or Upstox offer a completely different experience to investors, making it more democratic, accessible, and easy-to-use than any other traditional means. They have opened access to users who are tech-savvy willing to explore investment options that otherwise would sound complex. Consequently, they have grown very quickly in a very short period.

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3. What change did you witness in the Fintech Industry of India in the pre & post-covid era?

The COVID crisis is a watershed moment in our history and it has left an undeniable impact on every aspect of our life. The fintech industry is no exception. In general, we have seen that digital platforms found a wider acceptance with the spread of digitization and there is good reason to stay bullish about the future.

A recent report by Matrix Partners and McKinsey & Company shows that fintech across different segments have experienced mild to major disruptions with the lending sector being the most affected. In wealth management and insurance, we have seen some positive moves. The pandemic has also forced some segments to put a hold on their new products with 50% of the neobank delaying product launches. But these disruptions notwithstanding, the outlook is quite optimistic on future growth. This comes from an increasing acceptance of fintech and the wide adoption of technology across sectors. For instance, incumbent institutions like banks are now tying up with fintech to improve their digital presence, boost reach, and create a more efficient delivery of products.

Fintech Industry

4. How can one keep up with the growing usage & advancement of technology in the Fintech space?

What is considered cutting-edge tech today will get obsolete very soon. The only way to keep up is through investing in continuous Research & Development (R&D) and keep upgrading the tech stack. The other equally important aspect is the service. User expectations change with time and with increasing competition. We have to keep improving and innovating. The agility to disrupt yourself is the key mantra for any fintech to survive. It must have the agility to adapt, the will to improve, and the tenacity to keep looking for a way forward.

5. Highlight the role of AI / ML- driven performance analytics in the fintech space

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have transformed the fintech space and will continue to be the drivers in its growth. The evolution of Robo-advisors and its growing impact on wealth management is a perfect example of how these technologies can create a revolution. But there are many other myriad ways in which we use AI/ML to create more efficient and secure services while improving the accuracy of our processes. Something as simple, but critical, like automated customer support, rely on AI/Ml to reduce human intervention, gather data, create a more efficient, and quicker turnaround for the customer. But it’s not just performance analytics, AI/Ml is a game-changer when it comes to predictive analytics.


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6. What do you think is the future of the Fintech space?

Given that India has the highest fintech adoption rate in the world, we can safely predict a bright future for the industry. In Asia, the Indian fintech industry has already pipped China to lead investments with close to $286 mn from 29 deals, against China’s $192.1 mn from 29 deals in Q1 2019.

Despite the COVID-19 slowdown we can expect an annual growth rate of 20.2% till 2023. We may need some course correction in the short term to counter the impact of the pandemic, but in the long term, I see fintech gaining more and more ground as digitization becomes the norm.

7. How effective is the role of Robo Advisory in Investment management? What does the future behold? How will it impact the employment of potential prospects?

Robo-advisors are the most efficient online investment management services that employ mathematical algorithms to offer financial advice with nominal human intervention. The AI helps manage clients' assets in a structured and strategic manner. It also understands and predicts investor behavior. This helps build a comprehensive investor profile giving in-depth and accurate information on the investor liabilities, spending patterns, and likely behavior. While it does everything in an automated fashion, the human interface is crucial to monitor the performance from time to time. We cannot say that it will eliminate human advice.

"Humans and machines will work in harmony in the space of investment advisory"

In terms of its impact on skills in the wealth management industry, we are already seeing a greater demand for technical training to work with Robo advisors. We will need coders, analytic experts, and wealth managers who can work with data, AI, and machine learning.  


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8. From ideation to evolution & ultimate revolution - how can one be successful in this journey with growing technological advancement in the fintech space?

Like any other revolution, success always begins with an idea. But it does not necessarily have to be unique. Some of our most successful businesses today are testament to the fact that it is rarely the first-mover advantage that works. What takes an idea from its germination to a decisive success, is the execution. When it comes to fintech, we first see if the concept simplifies a complex process, if it makes the life of a consumer easy.

Next, we see if it can be scaled up. Then comes the hard work of fine-tuning the initial concept. We have to continuously listen to the customers, understand their pain points. The revolution comes only when we provide the customer with a unique and amazing experience.

"There is no magic and no short-cuts here, just hard work"

9. How safe is the customer data in Fintech space? How do you suggest customers distinguish a legitimate fintech platform from a fraud/illegitimate/unregistered?

The safety of consumer data is the most serious issue facing the fintech industry and it must be addressed urgently if we want to keep our momentum and gain wider acceptance. To avoid falling for a fraudulent fintech, consumers are advised to stay vigilant. Beware of any platform that tries to impose a quick decision, does not carry out standard verification procedures, is unclear on its fee, or does not carry a physical address on the website. At the very least it should have a secure https:// web address.  

But there is undoubtedly a larger and more fundamental problem of safety that we face today, which can make a serious dent in our trustworthiness in the industry as a whole. We need a singular tech-focused regulator that can enforce compliance, not the current fractured structure that stays divided between RBI, SEBI, and IRDA. We must hold fintech responsible in the way we hold banks liable. Until a regulator steps in (as it eventually will), responsible fintech should follow best practices, such as disclosing vulnerabilities, to reassure customers.


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10. With your recent investment in 1Silver Bullet & Finalyca, Are you planning to invest in any more upcoming fintech startups or thinking about a whole new yet another innovative venture?

I am exploring completely new domains. I have recently invested in Halaplay, a part of Nazara Technologies which is a listed Indian gaming and sports media platform. Online gaming is an interesting space to grow and thrive in. A new venture is something I will talk about when I am ready to announce it.

11. How can one potentially connect with you to either present ideas, get innovative solutions/mentorship or investment and stand out from the crowd?

Mr. Milan Ganatra's Email ID: Milan@ganatramail.com


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12. How do you scrutinize the list of startups before making an investment? What do you expect?

When we evaluate a startup for an investment, there are a few factors we are looking for. These centre around the founder, the concept, and the founding theme. The founder’s passion and commitment towards their idea is the first thing we check. Then comes the potential of the concept in terms of its scale. Does it address a generic or exemplary issue? Finally, we come to the founding theme and its clarity. Our focus is on the planning involved, whether it is detail-oriented and quality conscious.


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13. From Miles Software to 1Silver Bullet - Your out-of-the-box ideas & innovations is commendable! What would you advise the budding fintech platforms?

"If you think you have an idea, come out of your comfort zone and pursue it. There is no better time than today to pursue your dream. You may have to go through some struggle but believe in yourself. Be passionate about your idea"

Conclusion

The Indian Fintech ecosystem has seen tremendous growth, even during the pandemic times. Given that India has the highest fintech adoption rate in the world, we can safely predict a bright future for the industry. In Asia, the Indian fintech industry has already pipped China to lead investments with close to $286 Mn from 29 deals, against China’s $192.1 Mn from 29 deals in Q1 2019. Despite the COVID-19 slowdown we can expect an annual growth rate of 20.2% till 2023.

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