KhataBook is a Bengaluru based mobile app service, which sends WhatsApp & SMS reminders to the users when money is due to be paid or collected. KhataBook is impacting the Indian SMEs by becoming the system of record for their business dealings, the equivalent of a business ledger digitally on their mobile phones. All details of credit-debit for any number of customers across multiple businesses are ready and handy on every merchant’s phone.
Businesses can manage their credit accounts on the app, where they can record all the transactions, and these are available for review at any point in time. This app provides support in 10+ languages like Hindi, Punjabi, Kannada, Tamil, and even Hinglish. It is an app for everyone! It helps businesses understand & make better decisions with reports that it generates. The app takes the back up of all transactions online automatically so that merchants don’t have to worry even if they lose their smartphone.
Many Indian citizens living in any of the urban cities of the country, might not have heard of Khatabook until recently when the former Indian Cricket Team Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, invested in it. With the felicitated tagline Digital India ka Digital Khata, Digital ledger app KhataBook took wings from an idea during a meeting at digital spend manager company Kyte.ai.
KhataBook started by Ravish Naresh, Dhanesh Kumar, Vaibhav Kalpe, and Ashish Sonone in 2018. However, the idea for KhataBook has been on the minds of the founders for a long time before 2018. Ravish Naresh, along with his team of college friends, began a digital spending manager app Kyte.ai in 2016. The app allows users to understand their spending patterns by making use of transactional SMS alerts. The initial response for Kyte.ai was good, but
the growth was not reaching the scale the founders had in mind. After analyzing the user data, they realized that most of their users are from metro cities. After further analysis of the data, it revealed that first time online users did not deal with digital transactions. They relied on traditional khata or ledger books. That was the time when the idea for KhataBook materialized for the Kyte.ai team in 2018.
In 2018, they started to work on a simple cash management app and named it KhataBook to replace the traditional khata (Notebook) with digital khata. For a long time, shopkeepers and small merchants in India used to keep their records jotted down in a notebook. It shifted their focus to small shopkeepers and decided to change their financial lifestyle by helping them manage their transactions and track repayments. The team introduced its earlier idea of checking the SMS inbox in KhataBook. The team ensured the app sends out free SMS updates to the client’s customers on every transaction and even sets payment reminders. This feature made sure three times faster return on credits for their users. The app has recorded $5 billion+ cash transactions by November.
Growth So Far
The idea was to shift the focus of small-time traders and businesses to move their customers’ accounts to the digital platforms. The team included Kyte’s SMS checking mechanism to track data and provide free SMS updates on a user’s customer transactions. This application has recorded $5 billion+ cash transactions by November 2018. This app employs artificial intelligence to track SMS alerts for transactions and use that to keep track of accounts and spending. With the internet penetration post Reliance Jio entry, it was easier for KhataBook founders to target users in smaller cities and towns. KhataBook is unique in the financial technology sector, and it has no significant competitors. However, at present Tiger Global backed OkCredit, and IndiaMART backed Vyapar apps are the closest competition of the KhataBook.
KhataBook has recorded 100x of Kyte’s users. KhataBook has more than 5.5 million active users per month, 10 million+ app downloads and it aims to reach 20 million active users by the end of 2020. It is growing steady with good user reviews and traction.
KhataBook got its initial publicity push when Former Indian Cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni invested an undisclosed amount in this startup & became its brand ambassador. KhataBook is present in more than 5000 cities, and the user base ranges from Kirana shops, merchants, & recharge shops. This app has users in Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh apart from India.
The 11-month-old startup managed to raise a Series A funding of $25 million from GGV Capital, Tencent, Partners of DST Global, and Sequoia India and others. A clutch of angel investors including Amrish Rau, Anand Chandrasekharan, Deep Nishar, Gokul Rajaram, and Kunal Shah participated in the round, followed by an undisclosed amount from cricketer MS Dhoni in March 2020.
It has raised $60 million in a Series B funding round led by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital Group. Some new investors such as Rocketship VC and Unilever Ventures participated in the round along with returning investors Sequoia Capital India, partners of DST Global, Tencent Holdings, GGV Capital, RTP Global, Hummingbird Ventures and Falcon Edge Capital. Angel investors Kevin Weil, Alexander Will, Kunal Shah, Kunal Bahl, and Rohit Bansal were also part of the round.