Nitin Gupta, Founder and CEO of Uni — Launching a Pay-Later Product in India
In this episode, I’m joined by Nitin Gupta, Co-Founder and CEO of Uni, one of the fastest growing Indian pay-later providers.
Nitin and I cover a range of topics, including:
Being a Serial Entrepreneur:
Nitin started his career with Lehman Brothers in London from 2006–2008, and subsequently started his entrepreneurial journey. He was co-founder and CEO of PayU India from 2011–2016, which is now India’s largest payment processor. He left PayU to become CEO of Ola Financial Services. In 2020 Nitin exited Ola to found Uni, a credit card and pay later company. During his time at PayU and Ola, Nitin’s most important lessons learned were all related to people management. As a first-time entrepreneur, he led with first principles thinking, which he has subsequently moved away from. Nitin’s current co-founders are from his days working at PayU and Ola. Nitin is also an active angel investor. He either invests in financial services companies or in founders that he knows well.
The Credit Landscape in India:
Currently, there are 35M Indian citizens holding 60M credit cards with about $150B in annual spend and $10B in revenue. However, this is a tiny fraction of the overall Indian credit market. There are 190M Indians who have taken loans in the past and therefore have a presence on a credit bureau. There are 150M Indians who buy goods online, and therefore have disposable income. The expectation is for the credit card industry to tap into these larger markets, growing 3x in 5 years with an incremental $100B in market cap.
Obtaining a credit card in India was a lot easier prior to the 2008 financial crisis. After the crisis, banks became more conservative and got accustomed to a higher RoA. Banks’ lower risk appetite and higher revenue expectation has slowed credit card expansion in the country. Thankfully, due to the emergence of pay later cards, customers now have an alternative to a credit card that still gives them a similar product.
Uni is Nitin’s fourth attempt at building a credit card business, the first being at PayU and the second two at Ola Financial Services. Nitin believes that existing credit card products are too similar — relying on undifferentiated, vanilla products. Through his past experiences launching credit card products, he realized it is possible to successfully build different credit-led payments products targeting different customer segments and different use cases. The first product to be launched at Uni is called Pay 1/3rd. The product splits transaction payments into 3 parts to be paid over 3 months at no added cost. If customers pay early, they get a 1% reward. Nitin has big plans for the future of Uni, stating:
“Every business model gets disrupted between 5 to 15 years. That’s the nature of ever changing consumer expectations. And the only way to deliver on that is for the business to keep on changing itself…and when you do that what you end up becoming is an institution…For me personally, I want to build Uni into an institution.”
Shortly after this episode was recorded, Uni raised a $70M Series A round led by General Catalyst. Other investors include Lightspeed, Accel, Eight Road Ventures, Elevation Capital, and Arbor Ventures.
Uni’s Founder and CEO, Nitin Gupta is an alumni of IIT Delhi and IIM Ahmedabad. He started his career as a Founder and CEO of Khojguru and then led the PayU India team as Co-Founder and CEO. He built PayU into one of the largest payment gateways in India under his able leadership. At Ola, during his stint of 2.5 years, he headed the Ola Financial Services as CEO and launched Ola Money Postpaid which was valued at $250 million last year. It’s now one of the largest financial services businesses in the country. Currently, at Uni, he has raised $18.5M, while in stealth mode and launched the BNPL product Pay 1/3rd card. Apart from building cutting-edge financial products he also invests in new and upcoming companies in the capacity of an Angel investor.
About the Author:
Anirudh Singh is a second-year MBA Candidate at The Wharton School, where he is part of the Wharton FinTech Podcast team. He has a passion for economic development, venture capital, financial services, and all things FinTech. Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, comments, feedback, and opportunities at email@example.com.
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