Mobile Applications

Indian Startups: Instamojo Provides Selling Platform & Payment Gateway

Credit cards are still little used across India. Does Instamojo help provide the solution? We catch up with co-Founder Akash Ghani to learn more.

 “We founded around a year and half back,” explains Akash Ghani, co-Founder of Instamojo, over the phone from Mumbai. “We figured there was a need for people to sell online and there weren’t any platforms that made it simple for them. This is a platform where you can sell anything online by just sharing a link.”

What makes this interesting within an Indian context is that credit card usage is low and the platform allows payments via a number of different methods. This means Akash struggles to pinpoint an exact competitor. Instamojo is not a marketplace like eBay. Yet he describes how on the one hand, a platform like Shopify could be competition, whilst at the other end a company like PayPal which allows transfers between people, could be another.

“What makes us different is the simplicity of the product. You can get started immediately,” he explains. “The only way to do that earlier was to go through a lot of document and paperwork. You needed a lot of technical knowledge to set it up. If you want to pay online you had to go through a very cumbersome process, so it would involve a lot of hassle.”

Deepak Kanakaraju who founded BikeAdvice.in gave the platform a glowing review on his site last October. In this he explained how he had been expecting a payment gateway like clickbank.com for India for a very long time. Then described Instamojo as: “a Godsend for people like me who sell training programs online through internet and usually do in small volumes.”  He was also extremely impressed by the statistics offered, but believed the layout left a lot to be desired.

“In India credit card usage is low so [we make] all online payment options available,” says Akash. “These include credit card, debit card and online internet banking. Credit cards are the least used, then comes debit cards and [most popular is] internet banking which is the most commonly used online payment option in India.”

There is a big vogue for pay on delivery in India, but this platform ensures payment online is mandatory. “Most of our customers are in India,” says Akash, “but there are also people in the US who are using us.”

The focus in the near term will be on “establishing a good presence in India. All the people who’ve used our platform have been organic, we [want to work towards] growing the business, but at the same time the platform keeps evolving and we keep adding to it every single day.”


Kathryn Cave is Editor at IDG Connect


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