Let me start by painting a picture – imagine your friend just shared an image of this amazing road trip they just took to Ladakh on one of your WhatsApp group. You just have to go and experience that place for yourself. You research a bit about the trip and understand that you need to budget ₹30,000 for the trip. Your savings are running low and you are forced to push out your vision of that exotic holiday and convince yourself, that the place cannot be as good as the Instagram filters make it to be – sour grapes, right?
This story could repeat for multiple other situations such as –
- fees for higher studies
- wishing to pay off costly debt
- forever pushing out your investment plans
- wanting to buy gifts for that special someone.
and many other things for which getting a loan isn’t always the possible or the smart choice.
Let me paint another picture, through social media you are connected with your friends, family and coworkers at all times of day. You are aware of the tiniest details of their lives and keep them updated about your lives.
If we club the two together – finance and social – one gets the root of Finlok, a social finance platform that intends to digitise the the core principles of group saving and social capital. Finlok aims to disrupt banking by create a financial services platform as a new model of peer to peer banking. At the heart Finlok draws inspiration from the concept of money pools that for centuries have been popular across the world in the cash economy.
As a social finance application Finlok helps its users save money and access zero/low interest credit by leveraging their social networks. One can download the Finlok app from Google Play and create a saving group and invite their friends and family to join their group. The group activates once the required members join the saving group. Post activation, on each saving period one of the group members receives the pooled funds and can pay off the “group loan” in installments over the next few months.
This process repeats until each member has collected the funds. Most of our readers would be familiar with this basic model as the saving model adopted by at least one of their family members. In present times rising urbanization, nuclear and mobile nature of families have made this amazing model of saving and accessing credit difficult to adopt. With advances in technology Finlok’s founders Tanuj and Atish are looking to leverage the India Stack to leapfrog money pools to digital savings groups operated through Finlok’s Android Application.
When our team interacted with the founders, they highlighted that for someone starting out in their career and living away from the family, saving is very difficult. Even with the best efforts; one is constantly tempted to use savings. Research shows that introducing a group dynamic into a financial model greatly improves the probability of meeting savings targets. Within the group there is a pressure to not let other members down by delayed payments. The founder’s explained that Finlok has digitised much of the social dynamic in the digital experience. The startup is working on analytics to create a profile of its users in order to develop products across credit and investments.
For its user’s Finlok is an amazing tool that allows them to develop a saving discipline and accumulate a lump sum that can be used for further investment or buying costly items. Finlok’s users love the fact that the fund transfers happen directly between members and at no point does Finlok hold the group’s funds. An added benefit for the saving group is being able to stay connected with friends and contribute towards the small joys of each other’s lives.
The startup intends to charge a nominal platform fee to members of the savings group. The fee for the first group is waived off for all users. The startup further will earn a fee on other products offered on the platform; the first being short term credit.
So the next time you plan a trip to Ladakh or a gift to your special someone or want to start investing towards achieving life goals don’t get stressed for money – Just download Finlok from Google Play and bring your group together to save.