“Life is like a roller-coaster for us in the initial years with bouts of pleasure and pain.”

This is how 34-year-old Nitin Vyakaran, Founder-CEO of Hyderabad-based ArthaYantra, a provider of personalised financial advice, sums up his experience as a first generation entrepreneur.

There is a reason for choosing this line of business too for Nitin, who hails from a middle-class family. The alumnus of Indian School of Business (ISB) here once attempted to buy a unit-linked insurance plan but was perplexed by its complexity.

“I simply could see many gaps in understanding how it works. The policy was mis-sold to me. This could be the experience of many not only in insurance but many other aspects of personal finance. I see both need and business propositions in this area,” he said.

Collaborative effort

A collaborative effort with some of his friends and some funding (he prefers not to disclose the amount) made the company functional in 2007 with seven people. Since then, the company has been focussing on providing advice to middle income professionals in handling their personal finance.

However, the question is how to make a mark with viability. “Though anybody rendering personal finance advice from broking agencies to banks could be our competitor, I see niche business here,” Nitin said.

The first e-product of ArthaYantra was ‘TaxYantra’ a paid, online tax-adviser. The ‘good’ response it received motivated Nitin’s team to stay put. In 2008-09, it diversified its product portfolio and subsequently launched Arthos.

Arthos is the first of its kind Web-based personal finance application that provides and end-to-end advice for the individuals.

Based on the proprietary ‘Personal Financial Life Cycle Management’ concept of ArthaYantra, Arthos enable its users to plan, execute and manage their finances as a one-stop shop. “The user-friendly and easy-to-use Arthos enable the individuals unaware of common financial terminology to master the skill of financial planning and take control of their finances,” Nitin claims.

Arthos is now available both as a paid, premium service as well in free online beta version.

As soon as one enters his data, Arthos gives a real-time analysis about income, expenses, net surplus, financial ratios, goal analysis, risk analysis and overall snapshot of your current financial status.

It also asks a special range of questions and suggests answers. For instance, it can also tell you how much you need to save for your daughter’s marriage. How viable is this business? “Operationally, our company should be able to achieve break-even in about a year or so. But we continue to invest further,” he said.

Revenue sources

The paid clientele and the commission on assets managed under its broking licence for mutual funds are the revenue sources for ArthaYantra as of now. By next year, it targets to have over one lakh clients for its offering. It also plans to diversify into insurance broking.

naga.gunturi@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on April 7, 2013)
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