Murad Nathani, Co-founder – Slonkit
An Inventor, Consultant & an Entrepreneur, sums up the career of Murad Nathani. His venture Slonkit is India’s first mobile app linked to a prepaid VISA card that enables youngsters to manage their money smartly. Through the mobile app, Slonkit enables youngsters to get themselves their first pre-paid card, manage their expenses through the mobile app, make purchases at any POS or online.
Slonkit features include: Expense Manager, Budget Tracker, My Slonkit ,Go Dutch, Recharge, Slonkit Offers. The app is a one of its kind finance management tool with fun elements such as “My Slonkit”, a feature that creates spend based personas such as Foodie, Nomad, Movie Maniac, etc. In addition, it has features such as “Expense Manager” which displays monthly expenses across different categories such as food, travel, bills etc.
The app also features a “Budget Tracker” which enables youngsters to set budgets for their expenses across categories thus making youngsters financially responsible. The app also enables parents to monitor the spending patterns of their prodigy . Hence developing smart money management skills in youngsters.
Murad has always been passionate about solving problems. He spent a decade working with Bain & Co., a leading management consulting firm to solve tough problems and drive results for his clients. In his current avatar, he spends time solving problems of money management faced by Millennials.
Murad enjoys innovation and using creative solutions to solve everyday problems and is on the journey to creating a next-generation money management solution for teenagers and youngsters. Here are more insights from the young entrepreneur, as shared with Team ABT.
Who is your greatest inspiration & why?
I take inspiration from multiple sources in life. Be it my spouse, family or well-known entrepreneurs. It is their ability to have a bold vision, take risks in trying to solve that problem, and then navigate and stay the course during tough times that inspires me.
What led you to founding Slonkit?
It’s a result of my passion and interest in solving important problems. It came up during a discussion with the Founder of Slonkit – Javed Tapia. We were chatting about how parents today struggle to track how much money they have given to their children as pocket money or allowance. On the other hand, we also got to understand from children that they want to get a monthly allowance and then manage their money independently.
Slonkit is the only product which aptly fits into this perennial lacuna that hinders communication on money management between parents and their children. With Slonkit, parents can view their children’s expenses across the month and empower them with insights and guidance on managing their money better, as against asking where the money was spent.
Using Slonkit, children can learn an essential life skill – smart money management, while also enjoying the much-desired responsible freedom and the joy of managing their own money.
Today, Slonkit has been well accepted by parents all over India and is India’s first money management app that is linked to a physical VISA card. Slonkit has brought about a paradigm shift in the perspective of parents towards giving pocket money to their children.
Tell us why do you think the idea is unique?
There is no product in India that talks to children, teenagers and young adults on the value of money management and savings. The entire fintech ecosystem is promoting a “spend” culture wherein you get cashback and incentives on spending more.
We, at Slonkit, have been proponents of the importance of saving, money management and financial prudence. That, by itself, makes us unique.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to doing business?
Our philosophy is to be customer centric and deal with our customers with honesty and transparency. From the product itself, to the new features of our app, we have our customer’s input and feedback on everything we do. Even for our marketing activities, we ensure that we publish the rules and terms clearly for all to see, so there are no hidden charges or surprises.
While transparency with customers is sacrosanct, we also believe in continuously evolving Slonkit to help our users to learn and practice the art of managing their money through the Slonkit card and the Slonkit mobile app – continuous product innovation is another key business philosophy.
Where did you meet your co-founders?
I have known Javed Tapia from childhood. Javed is a serial entrepreneur with ventures spanning technology, payments, realty and renewable energy. He is credited for bringing Red Hat to India through a joint venture with Red Hat LLC – a development which marked the beginning of the open source revolution in India and set the foundations for a host of mobile-app-based startups in India.
How were the first 90 days like?
Slonkit is a unique product. There are very few brands which are talking about money management to teenagers and young adults. The first 90 days were spent doing a lot of research and interactions with our target group and their parents. This gave us a lot of insights which have translated beautifully into product features, and customer engagement points for us. The activities done in that phase have also been very helpful in shaping the product roadmap in terms of new features and offerings.
Tell us about your leadership style?
I believe in having an open and transparent leadership style where everyone pitches their ideas and helps the company move forward. This approach has helped us to constantly improve the Slonkit value proposition for our customers.
What would you like to achieve in the coming years?
We would love to be the “go-to” money management platform for children and teenagers as well as their parents. By bringing parents and children onto a common money management platform, we will lay the foundation for the creation of a new generation of financially prudent citizens – I believe, it is the need of the hour, not only for India but all across the globe.