Still a long way to become a Super App: PhonePe co-founder

Yatti Soni Bengaluru | Updated on September 04, 2021

Company has expanded into a majority of verticals encompassing all things money, claims to be accessible at 20 million merchant outlets across 12,000 towns and 4,000 taluks nationally

As the race to become a super app heats up in the India, PhonePe co-founder and CTO Rahul Chari said that the company still has a long way ahead in building such as platform.

Given the multiple offerings and partnerships, PhonePe is often counted as a potential super app for Indian consumers. Super app is defined as an app that has at least two high frequency use-cases or functions.

“I think send (sending money) and spend (merchant transactions) is where we believe that we have made our mark, and we still have a long way to go when it comes to financial services, so we are still a way off,” Chari told BusinessLine.

Build trust

Adding to that, Karthik Raghupathy, Head of Strategy and Investor Relations at PhonePe, noted that the company is feeling good about their journey as consumers are trusting them with send and spend related services.

“We need to build trust to enter financial services. Banks have historically had that trust because people have placed their earnings with them. We are gaining that trust on the back of payments. Now as we move into the financial services space, we are seeing good proof points that we can get there but like Rahul (Chari) said, there’s still a long journey ahead of us,” he said.

Consolidated service

PhonePe has expanded into a majority of verticals encompassing all things money. Users can today send and receive money, recharge mobile, DTH, data cards, pay at stores, make utility payments, buy gold, insurance and make investments. PhonePe also launched its Switch platform in 2018, enabling users to place orders on 600 apps directly from within the PhonePe mobile app. PhonePe claims to be accessible at 20 million merchant outlets across 12,000 towns and 4,000 taluks nationally.

The most frequent use-cases on the app are digital money transfers, bill payments or recharge, and offline transactions at stores. The executives claim that once a new user has done two or more of these three use-cases, they tend to stay with PhonePe and repeat transactions happen in almost 100 per cent cases.

Also see: Proposed e-commerce rules could dampen super app plans of many Indian players

Chari added that PhonePe is focused on building a service where everything about money is easily available to the users on a single platform that they trust and engage with. And the experiences around daily and high frequency use cases are about transactions that are completed in the fastest possible manner.

PhonePe recently got its insurance broking license and an in-principle approval to operate as an account aggregator. Going forward, PhonePe will be focusing more on the financial services space and collaborating more with the BFSI sector across insurance, investments, and lending.

While the company did not comment on the profitability and IPO timelines. Chari noted that the company is quite efficient in growing its user base and has stopped doing cash backs to inspire repeat customer behaviours.

Interactive website

Further, PhonePe has launched an interactive website showing data, insights, and trends on digital payments done through its app — called PhonePe Pulse. PhonePe claims to have a 45 per cent market share in digital payments, and a 300 million user base.

The company sees this as a way to give back to the ecosystem and hopes that government, policy makers, regulatory bodies, media, industry analysts, merchant partners, start-ups, academic institutions and students will benefit with this data.

“It's not all necessarily just noble and altruistic. If any of these collaborations happen, I'm sure there will be people who would want to strike a partnership with PhonePe. There will be new companies that emerge, they can actually then collaborate much more deeply with us, so we will actually benefit both as a business and a product, along with the larger goal of saying we are enabling multiple businesses,” said Chari.

Published on September 03, 2021

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