The Simpl Story — Part 2

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On Making Money Simple

Innovations, often, have their inception rooted in a personal experience. Addressing seemingly insignificant problems can have a big impact on our quality of life. Some of the most successful companies today, started by addressing latent needs.

The genesis of Simpl also is similar. Chaitra Chidanand and Nitya Sharma, the co-founders of Simpl, went through their own journey of need-discovery. A string of unpleasant experiences with banks and financial institutions, both in India as well as in the U.S.A., having to do with documents, proof of identity and the like left them stunned at the lack of intelligence of the system. Chaitra, as she narrates a particular incident, says, “I was not sure if the customer in me should get angry, or the feminist!”

Chaitra and Nitya decided to combine their experiences and expertise with coinciding intents of doing something about this system. A system due to which millions faced difficulties every day. It would be logical to think, that with all the years of gathering customer data in the financial system, there simply must be easier ways of giving good people a pain-free experience of monetary transactions.

But currently, for the 2% of crooks who will try to cheat the system, everyone else must suffer.

Payments at any point of sale should be simple, quick and smooth. After all, people go to the shop to buy, not to pay.

As corollaries exist, we do like to believe that people are good. And why we like to believe in this inherent goodness is because we survive on trust. We live in a trust-based society. Remember Meera from our previous story, and her beautiful buying experience with the fruit vendor? Such examples are all around us — where in residential societies, for instance, the residents maintain a tab (“khata”) with the society’s grocery store or college students keep tabs with the canteen or stationery shop uncle. In our daily lives we rely on a number of people and the trust that we have accrued ourselves, to get things done. Primarily, that is what makes things work.

If a simple fruit and vegetable vendor is willing to part with some of his produce, laying trust on a complete stranger, and sustain, then, why can’t all our transactions and financial dealings have the same level of trust, respect and painlessness.

Simpl was conceptualized to bridge this gap. Chaitra and Nitya used their experience of having studied community banks, social lending, and having worked in tech and finance, to come up with a solution.

If the financial system was designed for today’s world, what would it be like? A layer of technology built with in-depth study of human behaviour, customer expectations, grievances and deep analysis of the transaction process, can do everything from removing friction in online payments to improving financial inclusion and access. We’re building exactly that, starting with the Simpl payments platform.

It was evident that if we truly wanted to remove all friction in payments, we had to solve all the pain points 100%. So we went to work with clear goals and beliefs:

    • Trust begets trust — If I have been buying things and paying for them on say, a ticket booking app for some time, it’s a given I will continue to do that. Getting to know who can be trusted to honour their promises is half the work, and taking good care of them is the other half. We believe painful customer support interactions come from an attitude of mistrust. We approach people with trust, they treat us back with trust.
    • Using technology as a stronghold for trust and preventing misuse — Simpl is building a high trust network that keeps fraudsters out. The priority being “whatever will help good people have a great experience” above all else. We use advanced data analysis, statistics, machine learning/AI to help us identify the users we can trust and give them the best possible experience. We also use this tech to weed out the few who try to fraud this trust network.
  • Making life simple — To provide a hassle-free, quick and beautiful experience to a user is to provide an even-better-than-cash UX. With a clear focus on problem solving and customer delight rather than customer-luring tactics like pesky cashbacks and coupons, we have created a friction-free experience. Cashbacks may be easy but our goal has been to be thoughtful in our system design, through which we feel we are able to provide what a customer truly values.

Armed with these beliefs and a solution in the form of Simpl, we approached merchants. The first company to come on board was Faasos and then BookMyShow. With e-commerce platforms going through 35–50% transaction failures, there was clearly a demand for Simpl and soon we had 100+ merchants including Zomato, Dunzo, Fresh Menu, Licious, BigBasket and Grofers, and a million+ users enjoying a hassle-free payment experience.

As Chaitra is often heard saying,

“When we eliminate friction, we unlock efficiencies we never even imagined possible”.

By making money simple, we are steadily and surely working towards helping people enjoy the simplest necessity in life — peace of mind.

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