Money & Banking

HDFC Bank wants to be seen as 'go to' bank for start-ups

K.R.Srivats New Delhi | Updated on January 08, 2018

Plans dedicated 'SmartUp' zones in 65 branches across 30 cities

HDFC Bank wants to become the ''Go To" bank and preferred banker for the start-up community in the country, a top executive of this leading private sector bank has said.

Towards this end, HDFC Bank on Thursday announced the launch of SmartUp zones in its branches across India.

"We have now completely revamped our offering for start-ups. Our aim is to become the go-to bank and preferred banker for the start-up community. Numbers will follow," Smita Bhagat, Senior Executive Vice-President and Head of E-Commerce and Branch Banking, HDFC Bank, told BusinessLine here on Thursday.

She said HDFC Bank, which is engaged with 150 start-ups, wants to "nurture" innovation and collaboration with more start-ups, especially in the interiors of the country where there is an emerging start-up ecosystem.

"Our economy will grow only if you help the start-ups. We want to grow with them. Of course, failures will be there. We should accept failures and try to address their problems".


A SmartUp Zone is an exclusive area inside the branch dedicated to start-ups. In the first phase, SmartUp zones will be launched in over 65 branches in 30 cities, including Tier 2 and 3 cities that are emerging as start-up hubs.

Through these zones, specially trained bank staff would offer tailor-made banking and advisory solutions to entrepreneurs.


Two-and-a-half years back HDFC Bank had started engaging with start-ups. A product called 'Smartup' was launched under which a number of banking products and freebies were offered. Now, it has added a lot of value-added services such as a SmartUp portal, advanced legal advisories, industry-academia, etc.

Through a Smartup portal, start-ups will be able to tap into the knowledge and experience of a complete network of start-ups while simultaneously offering their services to this universe.

Start-ups will also have access to HDFC Bank's SmartBuy platform, which would allow them to market their products to the general public. They would be able to showcase their products to over 40 million HDFC Bank customers.


HDFC Bank is also looking to tackle specific pain points for the start-up community. For instance, the private sector bank is looking to help them demat their unlisted shares so that exits become easy for investors.

"We identified this as a big pain area for start-ups and so are helping them out. Our SmartUp zones will provide start-ups end-to-end solutions. We have also tied up with legal firms for advisory services, which is an important aspect of the start-up offering," she said.

HDFC Bank, which has a 52 per cent market share in the e-commerce space, has now evolved from providing basic banking to offering online banking and value-added services, Smita added.

Published on October 12, 2017

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