Chennai man: The ‘real me’ behind Realme’s new venture

Varun Sridhar

New Delhi: As smartphone maker Realme ventured into financial services sector with the launch of the platform “Paysa” that will offer products like loans, mutual funds, insurance and credit score reports to consumers, Varun Sridhar, whose team is behind the initative, says, “Our basic intent is to see how entry barriers can be removed to provide people access to financial solutions.”

Though Varun’s roots are in Chennai’s Mylapore, he speaks English and Hindi better than Tamil, since he was brought up in Delhi after his parents relocated to the capital to pursue their careers. After Realme India CEO Madhav Sheth made a presentation on the firm’s new initiative to the media at the launch event in New Delhi Wednesday, Varun, the lead of PaySa, spoke to News Today and gave more details.

“Realme is a challenger brand. In a short span of 18 months, we have seen tremendous growth and are confident that our financial services offering will do well,” he says. Stating that the “Realme Paysa” app will be available on both Google Playstore and Realme app store and is currently in beta test, he adds, “It will have four businesses – lending, savings, payment and protection. Its full roll-out is expected in the coming months.”

Paysa will offer digital personal loans of up to Rs 1 lakh and SME loans upto Rs 5 lakh. Larger loan amounts for both individuals and SMEs will be serviced by Paysa teams present in different cities. The platform will also give an instant free credit report and free updates for three months. Besides, it will offer screen damage insurance for both old and new phones with an option of insuring one or two damages per year.

“In 2020, the platform aims to disburse loans of about Rs 1,000 crore, acquire three-five million new customers, launch multiple new products and take its first step in financial services in India,” Sridhar says adding that the company is also looking at supporting UPI in the coming months.

Realme has entered into strategic co-development partnerships with Early Salary (for digital personal loans), Lending Kart (For digital business loans) and Credit Mantri (for free credit report). Sridhar says the company attaches utmost importance to data privacy and customer security. “All our data is fully localised and permissions taken are very transparently displayed in the app,” he states.

According to Varun, the company expects to reach 25-30 million people in the next three years. “So, how often do you visit Chennai?” To this question, he replies with a smile: “Three times in the last two years. The next time I come there, you should take me to Saravana Bhavan.”