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Karza Technologies and its Mission to Secure the BFSI Sector

Karza Technologies and its Mission to Secure the BFSI Sector

This young fintech start-up is playing a big role in risk management for the financial services industry.

(From left) Gaurav Samdaria, Omkar Shirhatti and Alok Kumar (Photograph by Milind Shelte) (From left) Gaurav Samdaria, Omkar Shirhatti and Alok Kumar (Photograph by Milind Shelte)

Mumbai-based Karza Technologies, a financial technology company offering value-added services (VAS) to banks, NBFCs and the corporate sector, cracked the code early on when the financial world was still warming up to the idea of big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Set up in 2015, Karza Technologies is the largest data analytics, automation and decision solution provider to financial institutions, catering to the entire lending lifecycle from onboarding to diligence and monitoring to collections. Their client list includes the who’s who of the banking world from ICICI Bank to HDFC Bank. In the BT-KPMG Best Banks Survey 2020-21, Karza has emerged as the Best Fintech in the Value Added Services category.

For years, the financial services industry has been under threat from issues such as asset appropriation, identity theft, money laundering, and accounting fraud. Post the arrival of financial technology companies or big tech, the financial services industry has started the digital transformation journey to reduce costs, streamline business processes and improve customer experience. That’s where the need for big data analytics arises, to keep a check on frauds and money laundering.

Omkar Shirhatti, Gaurav Samdaria and Alok Kumar established Karza Technologies to eliminate these pre-existing issues in financial institutions with their tech-enabled intelligence products. By leveraging big data and artificial intelligence, their solutions efficiently deal with automating processes like pre-profiling, onboarding, underwriting, due diligence, fraud and risk management, disbursement, and data collection.

FOUNDING STONE

The two founders—Omkar Shirhatti, Chief Executive Officer, and Gaurav Samdaria, Chief Business Officer—are college friends. As chartered accountants, they worked on investigations, frauds, business valuations, etc. “I came across the idea of peer-to-peer lending in 2014. However, we realised that this was not a scaleable business. We figured out how to digitally onboard, verify, assess risk and fraud for customers. That’s when we shifted from P2P to providing these services to the banking industry. I connected with Omkar and we decided to do it together,” says Samdaria.

The next challenge for them was to find someone who could create the most comprehensive digital diligence platform. “Meeting Alok was a hurray moment for us,” says Shirhatti. Alok Kumar, an engineer from IIT Kharagpur, joined the company in January 2017 as the third Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer.

SUITE OF PRODUCTS

Karza Technologies unifies human and artificial intelligence to automate onboarding and diligence through technology and data-driven solutions. As part of its onboarding suite, it offers Aadhaar-based OKYC, Digital KYC, Video KYC, KYC OCR, Face Match, and other cognitive services. Their flagship due diligence platform, KScan, leverages ML technology to stitch together profiles of businesses from multiple reliable sources, makes it available on a single platform, and delivers search results in a few milliseconds. What makes Karza Technologies unique is that they solve India-specific challenges like lower resolution, Indian faces, worn-out documents, blurred images, etc. to match or even surpass human cognitive skills. Karza Technologies has so far been able to offer solutions at a scale and variety suited to the Indian population.

GROWING BUSINESS

In the past five years, Karza Technologies’ client base has already reached 370+ active clients. In fact, when the entire business ecosystem was struggling to maintain its profitability due to the pandemic-induced economic slowdown, Karza Technologies experienced a 200 per cent revenue jump along with a 5x growth in the client base. Their standout business positioning of lean management and minimal capital has allowed them to achieve equivalent or higher growth compared to their peers with one-fourth of the capital invested.

“We are highly profitable. This year we will be posting about one and a half or two times profit as compared to the entire fundraise we would have done. About 92-93 per cent of our entire operation is funded by client revenues. It is a self-sustaining business,” says Shirhatti.

Samdaria adds: “We are very proud that even compared to other businesses that raised funds over $10 million for instance, we are 3x of their revenues. Even though our lifetime raise is close to $1.1 million. We don’t like spinning stories, we genuinely deliver results.”

Clearly, digital transformation is the future of the BFSI sector. And Karza Technologies is playing its role in making the sector secure.

@teena_kaushal