Credbo - Connecting 65 Million shopkeepers with their customers
Credbo offers basic accounting for shopkeepers, removes ambiguity about credit sales, and connects shopkeepers with their customers
A small store on the streets of Kolkata is run as a source of survival, and not on a mission to be a billion-dollar conglomerate. These stores are run by people with low literacy, working on razor-thin margins, and are dependent on keeping long term relationships with customers, primarily secured by offering Credit.
What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)
There are around 65 million micro-businesses in India (both in the formal and informal economy of India). These businesses contribute over 30% of India’s GDP but remain disintegrated from the mainstream Indian economy.
Credbo would like to introduce ourselves to this ecosystem, by targetting to a common use case - management of credit sales.
A cash-based credit line is often given by these businesses to their customers to secure long-term business association. However, since these businesses don’t use any formal accounting stack to keep track of Invoices, the obvious drawback is the introduction to “ambiguity”. This mismanagement begins to breed in the mind of the customer - shopkeeper relationship, which gives way to a strong incentive to terminate the relationship.
We wish to do so by replacing a notebook and pen to keep track of transactions, with the Credbo app. By currently offering our app in 2 languages, we are offering shopkeepers the ability to send Invoices, accept Purchase Orders, and settle outstandings through our app.
With Credbo’s basic accounting stack, packaged in our beautifully designed app, shopkeepers will be able to
- Connect with their customers, digitally
- Send Invoices to Customers,
- Approve/reject their Purchase Orders to remove ambiguity
- Generate basic analytics about their business
- Track Inventory, as well as have an incentive to track it (our target shopkeepers seem powerless to improve margins, so they rely on the inventory turnover. In addition, their customers can order directly from shopkeepers instead of ordering online for quicker delivery).
- [Coming Soon] Apply for mandatory operating certifications and comply with regulations right from the app
- [Coming Soon] Based on transactions data, shopkeepers can apply for loans at competitive rates
Our research identified pain points of street vendors and their plight. They constantly face attacks on their dignity. With Credbo, they will be able to join a network where the trust between them and their users will grow, and all stakeholders will benefit from it
Geography of focus (500 characters)
With 493 million internet users (200 million rural), Indian shopkeepers still suffer from “information poverty”, due to lack of access to regional language content. Thus, these shopkeepers remain agnostic to adapting recently improved legal frameworks, technological enhancements.
Credbo starts at the bottom of the pyramid, launching in English and Hinglish (a hybrid of English and Hindi), catering to north Indian wholesale market centers - resonating with rural supplier, and urban shopkeeper.
Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)
Small mom-and-pop stores are an integral part of communities. Up till a transaction is not accepted by the shopkeeper and the shopper, it will not be marked approved on Credbo. This removes ambiguity and builds trust for a long term relationship in the neighborhood.
Future features will compound the power of the network effect. For example, a shopper can view available inventory in a shop and order, instead of ordering online. Shopkeepers can advise on new products more suited to a customer.
What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)
Communities are incomplete without a shop. A shopkeeper often builds a long-term customer by offering credit. If a shopkeeper doesn’t understand the notion of invoices, purchase orders, inventory management, receivables, etc., the shopkeeper will falter and community will suffer.
These shops are operated as a mode of survival. Paying any form tax hurts their razor-thin margins. Therefore, not maintaining books, becomes a natural choice. Many shopkeepers do not wish to endure the hassle and completely refuse to accept any cost of scrutiny, imposed on them by the taxman.
Unfortunately, this removes these shopkeepers from the formal economy. With low literacy, and an inability to afford bookkeeping services, they sacrifice growth opportunities, are unable to secure loans at competitive rates, often miscalculate cash flow, are even falsely accused of cooking the outstanding amount, which hurts their social equity, dignity and business prospects. Credbo can help change this picture.
What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)
1. Removal of “outstanding” ambiguity, between the customer and the shopkeeper, encourages trust.
2. Customers will check their local store first before ordering online, giving a boost to the local business and reduce their dependence on e-commerce.
3. Shopkeepers such as vegetable sellers will start getting orders based as soon as they input their inventory and today’s price. This advanced booking mechanism will be a big boost to their sales.
4. The shopkeeper will begin maintaining their books, bringing them into the formal economy. This, in turn, will help them get loans at competitive interest rates.
5. Personal marketing by the shopkeepers will increase their business, social equity, and their involvement in the community.
6. Apply for government certifications and comply with necessary regulation, right from our platform.
What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)
We are working on an Expense Tracking app (by name of Albert Pinto), which gives basic financial training, in a practical setting, with the users own financial data points. After deploying the app, common feedback we got was that our users wanted to keep track of their credit taken from shopkeepers.
They said that there is always a chance of getting swindled by the shopkeeper and there is no way to be sure. We started talking to shopkeepers, and they mentioned a few additional problems they faced with customers and their suppliers.
We realized that one of the core reasons for this need to arise in the market is due to the small ticket size of these transactions that don’t warrant purchase orders and invoices to be raised. However, by the time both parties settle, the amount becomes significantly large for both the customer and the shopkeeper.
Credbo will ensure both parties will develop long term relationships - a hallmark of any community-building exercise.
Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)
Our target market will be small mom-and-pop stores, street vendors, and wholesale shops in north India till the end of 2020.
We will first reach out to them through digital advertising (with ads in native language) and in-shop demo’s to get them onboard. We have identified dense localities using India’s Census data, Pay Commission Report, and concentration of banks (the more banks in an area, the higher the requirement of cash withdrawal and deposits by shopkeepers).
We have a dedicated phone line which opens directly with the founders of Credbo, as well as a Whatsapp group for shopkeepers to talk to us and each other. We plan to identify power users and work with them to work on capacity building workshops in the local shopkeeper community at an individual level. These workshops will be designed around learning the basics of accounting, how to maintain books, tax planning, engaging with the customers on a personal level, basic business analytics of business - to name a few.
The overall market size in India, that we are targeting. Excerpt from a PBS report.
How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)
India is blessed to be an extremely diverse nation, with 22 spoken languages, amongst 1.3 billion people. There are communities based on caste, religion, and sects that have been business personages for generations - Jains, Baniya, Aggarwal, Marwadi, Sikhs - to name a few. India has a very young population, with a median age of 27.8. It is extremely common for children to work with their parents to continue their business, and take it to the digital age.
These communities have donation run, local-level trade associations, which touch base with businesses of every size. These communities organize themselves regularly, make their own published content, distributed amongst their members. Thanks to the internet, they are working to organize themselves in more efficient ways, and Credbo will be there for them in these formats.
The next generation of "Kirana" (also known as mom-and-pop) stores are helping their parents continue their business. This audience is modern and keeps an intrinsic knowledge of using smartphones. Smartphone users are expected to reach 442 million with the next 2 years.
What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)
The government of India is keen to make transactions move to a digital platform, with the“Digital India” initiative. There are online systems for municipal registrations and other regulatory certifications, (including Udyog Aadhaar) that will be integrated with Credbo.
Micro-finance institutions will help shopkeepers get loans at competitive prices. We will collaborate with “Banking Correspondents”, as they have shown interest in adding Credbo as a service on their platform. Short term credit providers for shoppers (Simpl, Lazypay) will be added to our network, to help shoppers. Our research says FMCG companies are interested as our partners to improve their supply chain logistics. In e-commerce, “drop shipping” model is gaining speed in India. Trade Associations is another wonderful platform to strongly impact the community with capacity building workshops.
What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing
Arriving and settling at a destination community
Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing
Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources
Idea Proposal Stage
Prototype: We have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.
Group or Organization Name
Invosis Technologies Pvt. Ltd
Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)
Invosis Technologies is an early-stage startup, which is a company dedicated to improving financial habits through technology and design. We offer actionable financial advice on our product called “Albert Pinto” which is currently being tested by a closed beta group. We understand user behavior regarding financial transactions, with over 100k transactions recorded. Credbo is a product synced with ideology, targeted at a different group of people, seeking financial help in a different context. Our team has been in the workings for almost three years, dedicated to the pursuit of building easy and fun ways to take financial literacy to every corner of India. We wish to make scalable systems around it, and Credbo is one such system. We plan to launch Credbo for Uber Drivers, Truck Drivers, Doctors, and many other professions. Every company aspires to have a CFO, but every individual can’t afford to have one. The need exists, and we believe that need can only be solved with technology.
Current Designs for Credbo: https://zpl.io/scene/b6g0nXy
Type of submitter
We are a For-Profit Startup or Startup Social Enterprise
Organization Headquarters: Country
Organization Headquarters: City / State