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Meet the techies who are building a one-stop finance shop for millennials

EpiFi Co-founders Sumit Gwalani (left) and Sujith Narayanan
From a small ground-floor office located in a co-working space in Bengaluru’s Marathahalli area, a team of about 25 techies is quietly working on a mission. The team, which consists of people who had previously built the technology and infrastructure back-end for global technology firms such as Google, PayPal, Netflix and Flipkart, are building something which they say could be called epicentre of finance, or EpiFi. Leading the initiative are Sujith Narayanan and Sumit Gwalani, the co-founders, who were the brains behind Google Tez that was later rebranded as Google Pay. 

“If you look at the fintech space, India is at an inflection point and whoever wants to capitalise that opportunity over the next 10 years, needs to be in the full suite mode,” says Narayanan. 

The duo feels in Indian banking needs a thought process that is more consumer-centric and tech-driven. While payments is just one layer from a consumer's perspective, users still deal with banks and various platforms for investments, mutual funds, and insurance. “We were intrigued by the fact that today, a user’s experience in financial services is highly fragmented. Hence, we are creating an integrated experience as far as financial services is concerned,” explains Narayanan. The team wants to bring the same convenience, simplicity and naturalness to the whole of banking system that Google Pay brought into payments. 

The way UPI is a payments layer on top of a user’s bank account, the EpiFi team is building a unified layer over all financial services to create a turnkey model. This will have all the products on a single dashboard including savings accounts, investment opportunities, lending, fund transfer and insurance. 

The financial data of a person points towards his/her habits and likes and dislikes. The company is using machine learning and artificial intelligence to get more insights about users and build a robust architecture that can provide them uptime in terms of financial services. 

“Our goal is to help users demystify their finance, maximise their savings and help them spend intelligently,” says Gwalani, who has 20 patents under his name across operating systems, browsers, security systems and financial technology. 

Focusing on millennials as the target audience, the platform will help them keep a tab on their spending on food orders, shopping and other day-to-day expenses. The company is in talks with five private banks and several investment players to build their unified layer on their systems. 

EpiFi has already raised $13.2 million in a seed round led by a clutch of marquee investment firms, such as Sequoia Capital, Ribbit Capital and Hillhouse Capital and is currently in a pre-launch stage with plans to be rolled out across the country by the second half of this year.

“Consumer banking, especially key products like savings accounts, haven’t seen true innovation in many years. Sujith and Sumit have demonstrated the ability to change the trajectory of financial services in India with their work on Google Pay in the digital payments space,” said Shailesh Lakhani, managing director at Sequoia Capital India.

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