Ajeesh Achuthan | 28
Co-Founder and CTO, Open
As a student at the University of Kerala, Ajeesh Achuthan had founded InLoc8, a location-based ad-tech startup that would help stores push offers and advertisements to consumers within a building or a shopping mall. “But that firm wasn’t scalable, and we eventually shut down,” he says.Soon after, he co-founded Zwitch, a payment platform that was later acquired by Citrus Pay. The latter was eventually bought by PayU India, where Achuthan spent a few years as the lead engineer before venturing out to start Open, a neo-banking platform specifically for banking, accounting and financing needs of small and medium businesses and startups.
Open provides a dashboard, both on desktop and mobile, where users can monitor their expenses, seek loans, collect payments, and manage their financial operations, thereby automating bookkeeping.
It also helps provide insights on cash flows, and the company is looking to build a better prediction engine to forecast it.
So far, Open has tied up with 10 banks and has over 2.5 lakh users, a number that Achuthan wants to take to 10 lakh in the next eight months. The company charges an annual subscription fee of ₹6,000 to ₹9,000 and plans to expand to the US and Europe.
“Any startup or small business needs a current account when they start out. That is a time consuming process,” says Achuthan. “Open makes it easier and allows the partner banks to process it faster.” The company has so far raised ₹250 crore from investors including Tiger Global and Tanglin Venture Partners Advisors.
“Unless you can translate your vision into action, it is of no use and Ajeesh has been instrumental in putting together this phenomenal neo-banking company,” says Vaibhav Domkundwar, CEO of Better Capital, an early stage venture capital firm and an investor in Open. “They have truly been a pioneer in the neo-banking space in India and Ajeesh deserves credit for it.”