Pontaq is a UK-registered venture capital fund with a sectoral focus on fintech, emerging tech (such as IoT, AR/VR, AI, Blockchain) and smartcities.
Since 2015, it has been capitalising on the massive opportunity of innovation exchange between the UK and India, says Mahesh Ramachandran, Partner – India. Started as a five-million pound fund, it is on the verge of attaining the 10 million pound mark. It has invested in 11 companies so far, including three in TN – at money, Max Byte and Kritilabs. In an interview with DTNext, he shares insights on new gen tech ventures and the rationale of investing in such companies. Excerpts:
We are essentially in the broad space of banking, where we see tremendous opportunities. For instance, the neo-banking or tech-enabled banks offer such possibilities. Lending is turning into an interesting space, especially with Chennai having some of the credit scoring companies, including innovative ones like PayPal. Trading remittance, robo advisory and wealth advisory are part of the open banking landscape. From a global perspective, the fintech companies are disrupting the space. They will change the experience of banking given their ability to pull information from multiple banks. This enables a portfolio view, which, in the next few years, will provide a different benefit system to customers. Even if a person has an account with one bank and chooses to apply for loan from another one, the transfer of data from one bank to another bank through the e-way eases up the process. RBI regulation is coming into play in this regard.
Most fintech start-ups are good in technology, possibly good in user interface in terms of presenting solution on their website, but they need to have a ‘go to market’ strategy pitch ready besides knowing the ways of raising funds and having a basic understanding of finances. B2C is a difficult sell and so, B2B2C is a better way of penetrating the market. When it comes to B2B sell itself, training is imperative. This is where the fintech Centre of Excellence ecosystem plays a role wherein mentors are engaged on a regular basis. Onboarding professional mentors must be compensated for their time and energy. A small shareholding or compensation will pave the way for attracting more such mentors, making hand-holding an impactful exercise.
Leveraging advanced tech