Delay in opening bank account led us develop ID verification software
In an age where companies are struggling to find a safe and secure environment in providing genuine services to their customers, Syntizen Technologies a digital-based company with their digital identity services is ensuring the smooth running of bank accounts. In an interview with Bizz Buzz,
Co-founder of Syntizen Technologies, Siddharth Kukatlapalli, speaks about the company's journey and its success
What led you to start this company?
We started this organisation in the year 2014. After one year of completing my graduation in 2013, we (Dinesh Reddy, Vamsi Kotte and Siddharth Kukatlapalli) started this organization in 2014. Certain incidents that we experienced during our engineering days led us to come to a understanding that there is a requirement of digital identity services. The idea aroused when during our engineering days me and my friend had gone to a bank to open an account, we found that we were not able to open the account instantly, despite giving proof of identity, proof of address, photographs and giving all the photocopies to them. They took around a good time, two or three working days to open the account.
What was your inspiration of beginning this company? What was your main idea?
When we inquired on the widespread delay in opening the bank account, we understood that, despite giving the documents, there is a backend mechanism of verifying KYC details of the customer and these details will have to be verified at the central team of that particular bank. They have to scrutinise the documents and verify all the details, which takes two working days after which we get a welcome kit by the bank, which has the ATM card book and other details as well. This was a triggering point where we understood the problem statement that the problems were majorly due to KYC and delayed validation of the UNC document.
After beginning the company, we actually started to explore the ecosystem. We understood that the Indian government sent retina scans of customers which are then loaded into the Yoda database. After that the name is given out to entities like Gardman signs and BFCs insurance companies where the KYC of a particular customer could be retrieved directly from the app.
So we started working on our ecosystems slowly. We got our first client, which is a golden company to implement validating the KYC and implementing the software solution. Thereafter, we acquired clients like Disha, Microfund and many more and we started to work with different players, as I said, after this, the first one and a half years of our journey was majorly focused on the private sector. We understood that, there is a lot of scope even in the garments sector for our kind of services, and other services like landing registration, CSC centers, pensions and many more.
We got as exclusive app solution provider for the sake of selling and slowly started integrating with other platforms. We have integrated with Amazon and are providing 54 different services.
How did Covid affect your market?
We were doing well until the pandemic broke in 2020 and everything came to a standstill. As people were working from home during lockdowns so, no one was ready to tap the biometric scanner to provide verification.
That is when we started to diversify our product activity and we wanted to stick to identification as a forte, but we also wanted to explore new technologies we wanted to do patient matching and language detection to our existing clients. Ours is an aggregated service which you can avail sitting at home by capturing a Selfie or by joining with one of the government agent or a private agent whereby you are not required to touch any particular thing.
Today, we are working with a couple of state departments. We have extended our services to several transport departments. Till now they have automated about 33 different services of their four departments. Generally speaking, except for driving license, all the other services that the department is providing can be automated with the help of technologies like patient matching and the need for a citizen to visit transport offices will soon be eliminated. We have been able to help automate these services by providing patient matching services.
So how different are your products from the others? You said you make products to diversify them among people. So how you do that?
Post pandemic we expanded our products and are giving more options to the client so that they can validate people. Another major unique selling proposition for us is the kind of secure and scalable systems that we provide. When it comes to scalable systems everyone can build a system which can work in a laboratory, but when it comes to implementing solutions at scale, they fail. We are currently handling around seven million transactions per day. All of our systems have been audited by clients. Our systems are being used by government and as well as private clients. We have a software system which follows 100 per cent compliance.
Can you share your views on the current IT market and how the IT market is functioning? How is it going?
It's more than a billion dollar industry right now in India and abroad, where majorly we are concentrating on the BFSI. We are working with four states right now to bring in a lot of transparency into the ecosystem. We are identifying countries where there is similar need. So we are trying to find spaces in the United Arab Emirates. We are trying to find markets where we can replicate our products.
How many employees have been working in your company?
We are now about 70 people. We are trying to hire more people.
Are you looking to hire only freshers or experienced people as well?
We want young people into the organisation because we are targeting the BFSI and the FinTech sector, they're all stacked up. So young people are something that we are trying to onboard, but we want the right mix with experienced guys as well. The kind of market that we are working in that is the KYC market or the identity market. There are less number of players in the market who have the expertise of working with either an alphabetical system, artificial matching, modern machine learning techniques.
What would be your advice for those ones who want to begin a startup?
When we started we never knew what we are because we are not an MBA graduates. We just completed our engineering and we wanted to do something but it is when we entered we found that there are so many things that the founder has to keep in place. It is a very challenging journey if you're playing.
If I had to advise to someone, I would say that, if you are willing to give around 70 per cent of your time to invest in a factor or to invest in your own idea, only then enter into this kind of ecosystem. It should be a time with no questions asked, but one need to concentrate only on what they are trying to achieve. Having deep understanding about your product which is going to make an impact is important. If we just have the time to build something, then I think it will be difficult for them to sustain. If they have an idea which uses technology make it differently for a segment of the society, it should be affordable to people. Cost is something that they should keep in mind. Secondly most important thing is to give that amount of dedicated time for an idea.
What kind of struggles and challenges did you face when you started this company?
Initially when we started entering into the environment, scalable systems was one of the major challenges when he started making the ecosystem or building our product, we weren't able to take that on 10,000 patients per day. Suddenly when the government came to us and said that there is a scheme that we are going to launch, we were for the next two days, clocking at around 9 million donations per day. That was when we understood that building systems at scale is very difficult. Building a system is comparatively easy, but scaling is difficult. It is one of the biggest challenges that we had. We are now at that point where we can easily scale up.
But when I present this offer to a big MNC and when I go in and say that we are doing digital determines, they say they already have an ID company who is handling the technology. So a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) was automation to ensure that the product is so unique that it has not been developed anywhere. That is another hurdle that we faced, luckily, because our product was unique and we had the key USP as well.
What message would you like to give to the people?
I would like to say we have started a journey. We are eight years into this startup journey. Now we are doing seven million transactions a day right now. There is a long way to go and we are trying to go global. We are also trying to acquire more number of governments and private clients. We are trying to diversify our products as well so we would like to be known as one of the top players in our field and we are striving towards giving this message from the company's perspective mainly from the co-founders' perspective.