Payal Jain, Founder of Funngro (incubated by Afthonia) – which raised ₹50 lakh in Shark Tank 2 — says her start-up saw the light of the day after she thought about offering incentives to youngsters for reducing their screen time. In an interview with MintGenie, Ms Payal Jain says it is quite important to make students understand the importance of money.
By motivating youngsters to earn money through freelancing, youngsters — she says — can improve their creative skills such as those of coding, social media marketing, video editing.
At a young age, youngsters should not aim to earn money alone but they should not refrain from earning at the same time, says the CEO and founder of this teen freelancing start-up.
How does Funngro help teenager get projects from companies?
We believe that youngsters in the age bracket of 14-22 should focus on experiential learning. They should identify skills and work on them so that by the time they are 21-23, they would know if this is their real calling. Besides, they also learn to manage things on their own, time management and how to present themselves before others.
As far as companies are concerned, we target the start-ups which want innovation. We do the match making of freelancers and start-ups and do a balance act of demand and supply.
The key aim is not to make youngsters earn alone, but to let them learn at the same time. The idea is that when they can make a social media reel for themselves then why not do it for others and earn money at the same time.
You studied business analytics at IIM Calcutta, and hold an engineering degree too. What role did business analytics play in setting up Funngro?
I was working at Worldline Global prior to becoming an entrepreneur, and wanted to understand the drop rate of digital payments, and data around the millions of transactions that are cancelled in order to ensure better conversions to customers. Based on those statistics, I realised that the failure of transactions for teenagers is very high.
Even at Funngrow, we give a lot of emphasis on data to segregate data around age group, category, city, gender lines. Accordingly, we have created our web dashboard. And based on the drop rate, we know what is working and what is not.
Can you tell us something more about your entrepreneurial journey and how you thought of starting a start-up around youngsters?
My experience with youngsters started at my home where I have a 16-year-old daughter. She played a key role in Funngro from social media to logo designing, and importantly — she does it with so much passion that she doesn’t feel that she is working.
And now she is confident about everything. The moral of the story is that unless you do it you would not know what would happen. One should abandon the risk averse attitude. Consistency is the key.
What advice would you give to the young aspiring entrepreneurs in terms of initial struggles relating to fund raising?
One should be ready to not only strategize but to execute at the same time. When I was employed, I was responsible for one part of the main task, and used to be little concerned of what others were doing. But in entrepreneurship, you have to be ready to do everything: from planning to execution.
How was your experience in Shark Tank 2? Has it raised your brand value in the market?
Earlier we were associated with 600 companies, and the number has now risen to over 2,200 (after Shark Tank-2). The number of teenagers who use our platform has also increased significantly. Earlier this number was 4 lakh before the Shark Tank-2 premiered but it has now risen to 6 lakh. So, this show has increased our brand value.
What do you think about cryptocurrencies?
I am a little sceptical, it is a little grey for me. So, can't say much on this. I believe one should first know about an investment instrument before deciding to investing into it.
What are your views on the future of fintech? What other sectors do you think are expected to grow in the near and medium--term future?
Fintech is a booming thing, and will continue to grow for the next 10 years or so. It is prevalent everywhere from insurance to banking. It has now taken a complete shift from HNIs (High networth individuals) to college students.
Also, it is only because of fintech that youngsters have got so many options to invest. Earlier most middle-class people only had two investment options: fixed deposits and property. Now, one can invest in stocks, mutual funds, cryptocurrencies, so on and so forth.