Exclusive Interview with Manish Thakkar, Chief Operating Officer, Avanti Finance

by Analytics Insight
February 7, 2022

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As the pandemic has gripped us for two years, digital transformation has blossomed more than ever as people have stayed home all this time and are inclined towards online services. Avanti Finance is a company that completes the entire credit lifecycle, it has integrated the various digital initiatives that are built around the Aadhaar ecosystem such as KYC, fund transfers, e-mandates, UPI, E-Sign, Major innovation is in the way it is envisioned to be used by existing networks in the field. Analytics Insight engaged in an exclusive interview with Manish Thakkar, Chief Operating Officer, Avanti Finance.

Tell us about your role since the creation of the company?

I have been involved with Avanti from the time it was an emerging concept from the founders’ problem statement to their vision of solving the problem at the population scale. It’s been more than five years since we conceptualized Avanti. Anshu joined during the first wave of Covid, having had experience with various conventional NBFC companies and fintech start-ups with the goal of driving and managing scale through data analytics.

How does your company help customers achieve relevant business results through the adoption of business technology innovations?

Our technology encompasses multiple innovations. While at the bare minimum, it completes the entire credit life cycle, it has integrated the various digital initiatives that are being built around the Aadhaar ecosystem such as KYC, fund transfers, e-mandates, UPI, E-Sign, the major innovation is in the way it is intended to be used by existing networks in the field. As such, the innovation lies in the Avanti business model where existing networks in the field interact with the Avanti platform to provide financial services to our users in an assisted mode. Interacting with existing networks in the field also helps capture alternative data through social interactions, which becomes a major input when subscribing for dark data clients. Avanti’s business model is also designed to help our users invest in livelihoods with the goal of creating a more sustainable income for them and increasing their ability to significantly increase their resilience. Avanti’s business model focuses on financial inclusion, which involves not only providing the services to unserved and underserved users, but also ensuring that the quality of service to these users lives up to what the top 1% of customers in the financial services ecosystem.

Could you highlight your company’s recent innovations in the area of ​​AI/ML/Analytics?

ASP: Avanti has developed its own proprietary underwriting engine using advanced machine learning algorithms using traditional data sources and non-traditional data sources, especially for the microfinance segment. Its use is not limited to underwriting and risk management. It is used across the platform to manage partnerships, onboarding, operations, collections, CRM, impact assessment, growth, reporting, and other areas.

How does your business use advanced analytics and big data?

The vision of financial inclusion isn’t truly possible if we don’t leverage community data. This is why Avanti realized the importance of data at an early stage of the organization. The Platform is designed to assess users and transactions using formal data available through conventional channels (e.g. desktop data), data generated from transactions on the Platform, data social channels (eg, partner inputs) and over a period of time data that is collected from various other alternative channels (eg, telecommunications data). We use data from different communication channels to design and innovate different subscription models.

Please share your views on the current Big Data Analytics scenario and its future.

The financial industry is one of the first to use big data analytics to solve a range of business problems such as underwriting, fraud, collections and more. The next phase of plans for this sector is hyper-personalization of financial products, as one shoe size does not fit all the approach will not work, with so much competition in the future.

How is IoT/Big Data/AI/Robotics evolving today in the industry as a whole? What are the most important trends you see emerging around the world?

Although a lot is happening in the four areas mentioned, the most powerful impact will be felt when the combination of the four is widely used in various industries. Each domain adds value to the others, resulting in significant efficiencies in the delivery of goods and services to users and resulting in a spectacular user experience and a significant increase in the quality of service to users. IoT is still in its infancy in the country, with only a few established companies and a few start-ups establishing new use cases. With the abundance of new data sources available every day, these technologies have enormous potential to further complement data science and analytics.

What are your growth plans for the next 12 months?

We will end the 2021-22 fiscal year with 4x growth over previous years in terms of assets under management and number of users served. Over the next 12 months, we will make significant progress in building and maturing our technology platform to strengthen our ability to operate at significantly greater scale and serve the customer throughout the product journey for the selected financial product. In terms of users, we intend to serve over 500,000 customers. However, the construction of the platform will allow us to create a capacity to serve 10 users. We are also looking to diversify our funding sources through partnerships with banks and NBFC, offer multiple financial products (beyond credit), reduce operating costs and become profitable. It is at this scale that we will meaningfully begin active machine learning and data analysis. One of the other goals we have set ourselves is also to be able to publish APIs for different partners to integrate seamlessly.

Why are organizations using IoT/analytics/big data/AI/ML/big data analytics?

These technologies first of all reduce human intervention, provide good predictability and fast execution, which helps reduce the cost of running an organization. This helps to see patterns in the data that we are not normally able to extract, which reduces losses for financial institutions and communication channels such as chatbots are able to resolve most customer queries, which gives satisfaction to customers.

How do you see the company and the industry in the future?

MT: We believe the technology will bring significant benefits to businesses and the end user. However, it also has the potential to shut users out if not implemented with the right business model. We are therefore focused on building the Avanti platform for the excluded and in the context where it can be used by these targeted users.

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Analytics Insight is an influential platform dedicated to ideas, trends and opinions from the world of data-driven technologies. It monitors the developments, recognition and achievements of artificial intelligence, big data and analytics companies across the globe.

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