The First Lady Of New Banking

Mabel Chacko, Co-founder & COO, Open Financial Technologies, a neo-banking platform for SMEs and startups, talks to BW Businessworld’s Urvi Shrivastav about her company:

On the fintech sector…
The first wave was led by payments and lending. We are now in the second wave of fintech. There is wider adoption of services that would otherwise not be provided by bank like neo-banking, wealth, insurance, etc. The second wave of fintech also democratised financial services — now smaller businesses and startups also have access to fintech APIs and this is leading to more non-fintech players wanting to embed fintech in their products.

On what makes Open unique
Open is a pioneer in the neo-banking model. In fact, we were the first to launch a neo-banking platform for SMEs in Asia. What makes us unique is that we offer a single platform that consolidates banking with all the tools a business needs to manage their finances, go online, and grow.

On how Open was started
We started Open to cater to the growing needs of small businesses. In my previous stints heading marketing at CitrusPay and PayU, I understood that banking services are broken for small businesses. While banks have dedicated teams catering to the needs of larger enterprises with deeper pockets, the needs of small businesses that have evolving business models are often not catered to and are also very costly. We wanted to solve this through neobanking, as ultimately it was the bank account where all the money inflow and outflow happens. Our idea was to integrate the banking layer with all the tools that a business needs to manage
their finances.

On where she sees herself in five years
We started our journey in mid-2017. In a short span of time we have become the largest neo-banking platform globally with 1 million-plus users and processing over $24 billion in transactions every year. In the next five years, I look forward to building a global digital banking brand from

On the upcoming trends
The biggest upcoming trend in fintech will be embedded finance or non-fintech companies embedding fintech services in their products. The next few years will see practically every company offering fintech services which would grow the fintech economy multifold from what it is today.