Building and funding fintech from scratch: A new series

May 3, 2024

Yep, we’re launching a new series called ‘From Scratch,’ in which we will focus on fintech topics and businesses. We will interview founders, VCs, experts and some non-experts (that would be users!). As we learn more, we will collate our learnings into primers, vignettes and whatever other formats that we believe will help at the time.

Help with what, you ask? And whom? Good questions!

First, let me introduce myself. I’m Hansi. I consult with Rainmatter on producing and hosting video podcasts, apart from creating content for my own brands. Our plan is to make content in all the verticals that Rainmatter invests in:

  • Climate – The Climate Conversations
  • Health – The Other Side
  • Fintech – From Scratch

If you have seen the pilot for The Climate Conversations, or maybe Nikhil Kamath’s recent episode on WTF is Climate Change, you may have noticed that we don’t profess to know the answers about the climate (does anyone?); we are as interested in asking questions about the science and learning about solutions as anyone else.

Health is also a science. And in The Other Side, Dilip explores the science of nutrition and exercise with experts and those who take their health very seriously.

Fintech is another matter.

For starters, the ‘finance’ in fintech is not a science. So we can’t talk to scientists to discover the truth. There is no truth. Only human nature.

Secondly, Rainmatter has invested in many fintech startups, albeit mostly in the wealth-tech space rather than the more headline-grabbing payment and lending segments.

And most importantly, Zerodha is a fintech unicorn itself. So we know a little — ok, a lot — about fintech. Well, at least Nithin Kamath does. But you and I may not.

Full disclosure: I do have some background in finance. Specifically, a CFA charter and decades in the industry. But trust me when I say I feel I know very little about fintech. (It’s not the imposter syndrome that women are supposed to suffer from… let me not digress with a tirade).

I love finance. (Note: I didn’t say money). I picked finance — against my father’s warnings I might add — because I thought it was an interesting, actually fascinating, way to understand the world and human nature. ‘Follow the money’ is a tried and tested method to learn about anything. Finance is like the circulatory system in the human body. Ok, enough with the cliches.

So it’s not the lack of knowledge… it’s more like the burden of knowledge. I, like many veterans, may apply a technology lens to what I know about finance. Today’s fintech founders don’t have any background in finance… I want to say, at least half the time. And that’s what makes it fascinating for me. They are examples of trying to set up businesses assuming they can’t fail. At least some of them. I envy them.

Anyhow, back to fintech. Fintech is a relatively new… way of doing finance? industry? asset class? Take your pick. It’s new-ish. While it’s been built on top of finance, we’re taking creative license to explore the industry. And we are certainly talking to founders who are building startups from scratch. We are starting with the startups that Rainmatter has invested in. But you will hear from other VCs and stakeholders soon enough.

One more thing. Fintech tends to be split into 5 broad categories:

  • Payments
  • Lending
  • Insurance
  • Saving & Investments
  • Infrastructure

Rainmatter has not invested in the largest two – but we will explore these segments in due course.

We will post our conversations as video podcasts and try to capture the summary and take-always in a blog post. Also, we have had a few conversations with fintechs in the past couple of years – we will add those into this playlist to make things neater.

Through these conversations, we hope to understand how India is transforming, how investors can do better, how founders and VCs can build and fund new fintech startups. We hope more founders get inspired to build, more VCs get inspired to fund, and more investors get inspired to invest directly or indirectly in them.

Let’s start from scratch.

Consulting producer, Zerodha

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