OkCredit is the most trusted & loved mobile udhaar bahi khata for owners of micro-businesses who extend credit to their customers. It has 5,000,000+ installs on Playstore driven by word of mouth from delighted users. Aditya Prasad, Harsh Pokharna and I started working on it in April 2017. I wanted to tell the story of how we got started and how co-development with the first user helped us make a high engagement product with virality. I would love to hear back from folks who are excited to join us on our journey to digitize the micro & small business landscape in India.
Food Choice, our grocery store had a large base of customers they would sell to on credit. We spent about a week to hack the first version of OkCredit to enable them to track our dues on mobile. We wanted to make the tracking of our account payables transparent and spend less time while paying the dues monthly.
Back then, they would track the balances using a mix of registers and a box of scribbled bills, which were yet to be paid for. While clearing our monthly dues, we had to wait for 20+ minutes while he would fish out all the unpaid bills, calculate the total and update his bahi khata register after the payment. From a customer’s standpoint, we had no way to verify if the bills we were paying for were really our own purchases in the past.
We convinced the owner to start tracking our dues on OkCredit. He was quite amazed at the experience but still had some concerns around the correctness of the calculations and reliability of the balances over time. We had to set-up a daily PDF mailing system, which he used to print and cross-verify the balances against his Bahi Khata.
We also discovered that the desktop-based PoS that they used already had an option to mark sales made on credit with the buyer details. However, their use was limited to billing and they never used that feature. The staff had low familiarity with mobile technology beyond using WhatsApp and Youtube. We spent a lot of time talking to the owner and his other staff to gather feedback for the improvements needed to make it their default bahi khata. The gathered insights helped us iterate on OkCredit rapidly.
After a few days of trials, he started using it for a few other customers. We had to add a camera feature to help migrate the old udhar khata on to OkCredit. Even now, he had not migrated all his old accounts on to OkCredit. One afternoon, we sat down with the owner to help him add all his customers and their balances on to OkCredit. It took us 2–3 hours to help shift all his old accounts. That day, he also directed the staff to record all credit sales and payments on both OkCredit as well as their traditional Bahi Khata.
After a few days, he told us that his staff preferred using OkCredit. By the end of April, Food Choice had started adding about 100 entries on OkCredit every day. The owner also told us that he had received compliments from other customers for adopting such a smart solution. They appreciated that the business relationship felt more trustworthy as they received real-time alerts for each transaction like a Bank. In the first week of May, he connected us to 3 of his other business connections who followed a similar business practice. This was when we realized for the first time that we were on to something interesting this time around. It has been a phenomenal journey digitizing a small part of their business others in the market never bothered to care about. We are more excited and experienced with the domain now than ever before to make OkCredit into a force that changes the story of how these businesses operate in the new digital era.
OkCredit unlocks the productivity value for businessman by improving their monthly take home with our current offering. Like other Indians, their primary use of mobile and internet were limited to entertainment and communications. We believe that OkCredit will mark the beginning of the age of internet-enabled smartphones being used by masses to get productivity gains. After having on-boarded millions of them, we now know that we have only solved for the tip of the iceberg. These entrepreneurial micro-businesses are experiencing the novelties offered by the e-commerce apps as consumers and want to try those out with their existing customer base. They will leverage the power of the digital economy and would be the early nodes to harness the monetary value out of the information super-highways being built to overcome the infrastructural barriers that have held the Indian economy back for long.
I’ll try to share other exciting stories of our journey from 1 to 5,000,000+ as and when I can steal some time from actually working on taking it from here on to 50,000,000+ Indian businesses and 1,000,000,000+ consumers. In the meantime, write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you can’t wait to join us on our journey!