Actyv.ai, an enterprise SaaS platform that focuses on Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) for Distributors and Retailers had recently announced the appointment of Prakash Dara as Executive Vice President, Scoring and New Credit Products. A seasoned Risk and Business professional, Prakash has over 23 years of experience in the banking sector. Here’s a quick chat with him on why he chose to work for a tech start up and how actyv.ai is planning to provide unsecured, low-interest, closed loop credit to SMEs in the form of BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later).
Q: You are a veteran from the banking industry. What led you to shift to a startup and that too in the tech space?
A: Even two and half decades ago, when I started out in banking, technology was the game changer. In fact, the game changer is always technology. How does one assess the SME’s credibility and credit worthiness? This is only possible through technology. If we go back by 10 years, there was no GST, IT Returns were all physically filed and not easily available and there would always be a risk of tampering. Now with GST, IT Returns data and Aadhaar based e-verifications & digital signatures, much more is possible. So, I strongly believe that technology is going to be the real game changer in this space, especially when one applies the basics of credit underwriting. I am convinced that Actyv.ai’s platform is all set to lead this future of B2B payments.
Q: Can you please take us through that?
A: To underwrite credit, we use Actyv Score, which has the all the characteristics of a basic credit evaluation of a business enterprise. The learnings from credit underwriting over the years, be it from retail or wholesale business, have all been captured as part of Actyv Score. So, it is like a health check report for a business.
The Actyv score is a much wider indicator of prevalent situation of any ongoing business, as compared to a credit bureau score which only registers the behavioural patterns of repayment. Its a very dynamic, automated, AI-driven score which considers not only behaviour but also financial and non-financial parameters. Critical data like infrastructure and succession planning, which are critical to doing business, are all part of Actyv Score. Finally, this score is reflective of the business health of the organization. Health can improve or deteriorate. If one’s score is average, then one can work on the set parameters and can improve their business health and the Actyv Score. Also, Enterprises can appraise performance for all their suppliers, distributors and retailers on a comparative basis, with a robust review mechanism built in, on the Actyv.ai platform.
Q: How will actyv.ai impact the bottom line of businesses?
A: Enterprises can now put their time and manpower to better use. First, our platform helps enterprises to onboard the right kind of suppliers, distributors and retailers. With Actyv.ai coming into the picture, now there is a validation process which can help us avoid the subjectivity involved in the onboarding process of distributors. And one can also monitor how their performance is, on a real time basis. In addition, we have all the information from all the distributors through the enterprise. This includes transaction data and KYC data, and that too, fully validated. So, the banks and other lenders can now make credit decisions which are based on this validated information. In many ways, this is ready-made for the lenders.
Q: How do Distributors and Retailers benefit from this association? Does it make their lives easier?
A: Yes. Certainly. They now have easier access to credit. It is more scientific and not adhoc. And credit is available at a good cost and based on their credit track record, Actyv.ai opens a lot of doors for them. With the right track record, enhancement of credit lines is also very easily possible.
Q: If you must choose just three features that stand out for you in actyv.ai’s platform, which will you pick?
A: Firstly, it removes a lot of subjectivity in the system. Secondly, it eases multiple pain points in the Enterprises Supply Chain ecosystem, including onboarding and offboarding of channel partners. Last but not the least, it opens the door for a lot of institutions to support the SME sector, where access to credit is still very limited. Every segment of the supply chain ecosystem can now be tapped through a single platform.
This is a partnered post.