EP 307 – Neha Mehta – Author of “One Stop” and the Founder of FemTech Partners – How Super Apps Are Transforming Financial Inclusion

by | Dec 20, 2023

The Asia Tech Podcast had a captivating conversation with ⁠Neha Mehta⁠, author of "⁠One Stop⁠" and founder and CEO of FemTech Partners in which she unraveled the complexities and potential of Super Apps in the context of financial inclusion. Her insights shed light on the evolving digital landscape and its impact on society in Asia. The future looks promising, with technology paving the way for more inclusive and efficient financial services.

Some of the main topics that Neha covered in detail included:

  • Her Personal Growth Journey Amidst Global Challenges
  • How Super Apps Continue to Build a New Era of Digital Integration
  • The Role of AI in Financial Services
  • The Future of Super Apps: Quality over Quantity
  • Why Financial Literacy Is a Key Component for Inclusion

Look for Neha Mehta’s book, “One Stop” here.

Some other titles we considered for this episode, but ultimately rejected:

 
  1. The Super App Revolution: Insights on Tech and Inclusion
  2. Empowering the Unbanked: A Deep Dive into Super Apps
  3. Super Apps as Catalysts for Change
  4. A New Digital Era: Super Apps and Financial Empowerment
  5. Reimagining Finance and the Power of Super Apps

Look for Neha Mehta’s book, “One Stop” here.

Read the best-effort transcript

Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):

Michael Waitze 0:05
Hi, this is Michael Waitze. And welcome back to the Asia Tech Podcast. Neha Mehta, the author of “One Stop”, and the founder and CEO of FemTech Partners is back with us today. Thank you so much for coming back to the network. It’s been a while. What did we say? Two and a half years, three years? Since the last time you were here?

Neha Mehta 0:23
Yeah. Hi, Michael. Great to be back on the show. I think this must be during COVID. The last book,

Michael Waitze 0:29
it must have been, you know, I have this theory that like 2020 didn’t actually happen.

Neha Mehta 0:37
Well, I would like to sit at the same, but that’s when I started writing a book. And that’s why we are here today. So I would like to differ on that. But you’re right. I just.

Michael Waitze 0:50
I mean, obviously, it definitely happened. But I feel like, like, in a way I feel bad for my daughter, I think it was her freshman year in college was during COVID. And I feel like you just missed that one year of experience or two years of experience. Where like, when I was a freshman, it was like transformational for my life. And now she’s finally gets to she gets to experience that as like a junior and a senior. But anyway, what’s new with you? Like, what have you been doing? What have you been up to in the last two or three years?

Neha Mehta 1:15
Wow, that’s a loaded question. Michael. You’re making me introspect. But But I feel I have grown up as a person. Yeah, I’ve moved countries. I think the last time we spoke, perhaps I was in Singapore or India, somewhere in Asia, for sure. Late last year, I moved to Fiji took a role with the UN there. So it felt like I was living the island life. It had a deeper impact on me as a person, I became more relaxed and more mindful. I learned that it’s not just about work all the time. It’s also about taking it easy and enjoying the journey. Because somewhere, I think starting your career, or starting a career in Singapore pretty much meant being in the rat race at all times. And if you’re ambitious, you’re driven. You’re constantly looking at the goalpost once you get there. What’s next, what’s next? And yeah, I felt that the island life gave me the sense of appreciating what is in this moment. So that’s the big takeaway for me, I would say, since the last time we have spoken, I have grown up a lot as a human being. I like it. Yeah. What about you?

Michael Waitze 2:28
So for me, I mean, my life has been completely transformed. Since the last time we talked, talked, we now have the largest Podcast Network in Asia, Asia, and now we work with some of the biggest companies in Asia to help them produce content. I mean, one of the things that we stepped into is we believe that every company should be their own media company. And our goal right now is to facilitate that to help every company become their own media company, but also to build the largest integrated media company in Asia. Like that’s the goal,

Neha Mehta 2:57
and you are. Well, we

Michael Waitze 2:59
will do it. I’m sorry, go ahead.

Neha Mehta 3:03
No, I was like, You are the largest media company in Southeast Asia, right?

Michael Waitze 3:09
Yeah, but but we wanted to is, there’s no company like Disney or like star or like the BBC, in this region. It just doesn’t exist. There’s no company that if you wake up in the morning in Chicago, or frankly, if you wake up, wake up in the morning and Fiji, and say to somebody, what’s the biggest Integrated Media Company in Asia, they wouldn’t know the answer. That’s what we want to build. And we figure we’ve got 15 or 20 years to build it. And that’s what excites me. So do you feel like you’ve grown up a lot since the last time we spoke? I feel like I’ve grown up a ton as well.

Neha Mehta 3:41
Yeah, and you spoke about Fiji. So that’s the market gap. I felt like that country and the country surrounding that I was covering 11 markets for the role I had taken up. And trust me, Michael, it just feels like low hanging fruits all around you. And and you feel that okay, there’s so much that one can do in this market in this market. I felt like here in the Disney Disney Land, you know, so many fertile ideas. So perhaps we should go to Fiji and set up the media companies.

Michael Waitze 4:16
Happy to set up part of the media company in Fiji. There’s nothing stopping me from living on an island for a while. I’m a weather chaser. Right So this year, I was in Japan in June and August and mostly just because the weather was amazing. And now is the greatest time to be in Bangkok. And when we get to April, May and June of next year. I’m very likely to be in France because in the south of France, the weather’s unbelievable. I just have no need for the cold. So maybe I changed my mind and go to Fiji instead. I don’t know you told me

Neha Mehta 4:48
Oh, sure. I think we should talk about this offline don’t want to bother audiences.

Michael Waitze 4:55
What else are you working on?

Neha Mehta 4:56
The work stuff kept me busy but are, as we were talking about COVID. In 2020, most of us became chefs, we we ventured into areas we never thought of getting into. And the same happened for me, I became an author, I consider that only now because the book is published. But I was on that journey for three years. And it felt like never ending. But only the penguin picked up the manuscript had the book deal with them. So it feels like one thing off my list. But at the same time, you may recall, the last time we spoke, still remains the same. It’s about financial inclusion, because that’s the area I’m very passionate about. The book certainly talks about the Super apps from around the region where we are Asia, across the globe. But the sharp focus is how it’s going to help the unbanked and underbanked. Because there are about 630 million unbanked people in Asia. And these kinds of innovations, whether it’s the tech, or with the advent of cbdc, Central Bank, digital currencies, all this is happening. And I think this is the time when we can truly expect some results to be in the favor of those who are not seen and heard so much.

Michael Waitze 6:25
I mean, financial inclusion, obviously super important, something we talked about a real lot. Maybe you want to define what a Super App is first, just for people that are listening, but then also define the way that that also encourages this financial inclusion that has been so important to you for such a long time.

Neha Mehta 6:41
So the word super means, you know, God takes us to our younger days, Superman, Superwoman cannot afford an outfit. And we envision that right. So that’s pretty much how it is in the real world, we are talking about an app, which is extremely powerful, it integrates multiple services under one single platform. What that means is that we keep our information, our payment, gateway, and the KYC, everything is just locked into one system. And we can Ecosystm that platform, and get everything done. So to give you an example, when we’re talking about the two big super apps of the world coming from China, which would be Alipay. And WeChat, people would spend more than 90% of the time on either either of these two apps, and they get everything done through these apps. So that’s the beauty of it. Because you don’t have to leave that platform, you’re right there. Everything can be done from chatting to dating, to getting your movie tickets, renting a bike, whatnot. But now when we talk about chat GPT artificial intelligence. That’s where the real beauty comes because these apps are collecting so much of your data. And that data allows these companies to make decisions on your behalf, make your decision making easier. And that translates into what we were talking about earlier, which is financial inclusion, because we’re looking at these MNOs SME owners, you would add these entrepreneurs who don’t really have a digital history of credit history, because six out of 10 people are saying don’t have access to banking. Nine out of 10 people in ASEA don’t have a credit card. So how are we going to help these individuals. So basically, going back to the data collection, once we know that this entity that we are trying to sell credit access, they get the money flowing in this money, this much amount every day, every week, every month, we are able to make decisions on part of their digital history, that credit history. And therefore we can give them loans based on their capability. In the credit market, we are always looking at two aspects, the ability to pay the intention to pay. So with super apps data, we can figure out the ability to pay the intention to pay is always questionable, right. When we get a loan we we may decide not to pay. So that’s where the financial inclusion angle truly comes into play with so grab data. Why this space is important for me is because I grew up in India, I went to a Hindi medium school. So writing this book was extremely hard for me because this is an English and I had seen poverty firsthand around me. And I feel that women have amazing ideas. People from poor cities, villages have talent is just that it’s never given that kind of platform. There’s no level playing field And so we need to factor in this segment of population. And we need to come up with products that really work for this market. So

Michael Waitze 10:09
what are those products? And can I ask you this? Do you feel like there’s an outsized impact on women, as opposed to men in this context of all of this data that you were talking about all the statistics you’re talking about for this financial inclusion? Is there an outsized impact on women that they have, that they’re less financially included than men to start off with?

Neha Mehta 10:28
Absolutely, the research shows that women are scared to use mobile phones, I remember this particular mission I did to Bangladesh, I went to four remote villages. I was there for about a month. And every time I spoke to women there, they told me that they make more money than their husband, and the father or the brother, but they get they want to give that feeling to the husband, the father or the brother, that they own more, because that’s the family dynamics. And they’re too scared to use a mobile device, because they get worried that what is the click a button, and they will lose the money. And the element of fear typically is less prevalent in men, because they, they had this, I know I’m talking to die. They have this whole sense of ego, or maybe a level of extra confidence that, oh, I can manage this. And women tend to overthink. So this is just me personally by getting to know this by interaction. But research goes to show that women have less access to credit, because more often than not the land the collateral, the asset is not in the name. It’s usually in the name of the male member of the family. So if you don’t have an asset, how would you go to traditional bankers, or the legacy institutes and get the money? However, we also have the ability to get money from alternative sources, like we know, but the interest rates have can go up to 300%.

Michael Waitze 12:03
Yeah, that those are bad ideas. That right? Yeah, yeah. So

Neha Mehta 12:08
So I think that when you ask me the kind of products that could be really suitable to such a market segment, I can take an example of grab, perhaps you have been using it when you want to come to Singapore, it’s there in Thailand as well. They have the robo advisory platform, which essentially means you can park $1 Every time, I’m just giving an example of $1, you can park as much as you want. Every time you take a take a ride or a food, all that spill cash is going to this pot of money that can be used to be invested into equity markets and different financial products for whom now this market is accessible to the blue collar workers, right? The domestic worker the domestic made in Singapore, I did a project with Blackrock that was essentially about how Robo advisory could be used by such a market segment.

Michael Waitze 13:05
Here’s this idea that I’ve been pitching to grab for a long time now. And I’m going to keep doing it until they do it. I want them to take that dollar that you were talking about every month from their 600,000 drivers. So every year, that means it’s $7.2 million, which means in 10 years, it’s almost 100 million bucks. And that’s going to be one of the biggest investment funds in Asia and give them give those people access to the s&p 500 or the footsie 20 or whatever it is, so that their lives can be meaningfully changed through these products that you’re suggesting, for men and for women to be fair, right? Because in this way, even if they don’t have the financial literacy to understand what that product is, which is also important, I think, and I’d like you to address that to the at least financially included by being able to invest almost automatically in some of the best financial products in the world. And that’s going to change their lives. Yeah.

Neha Mehta 14:02
Spot on. I agree with you 100%. Michael, you’re looking at the sport, a small pot of money to begin with. But essentially, when we get money from all these individuals, like you said, the cab drivers and all the consumers, they might also want to invest because we’re too lazy to make our own decisions for our financial matters these days. Yeah, so that can essentially translate into a big chunk of money. I haven’t had those discussions with grab, I know that they had no intention to do so. But but if there’s anything I can help you with, I will be very happy to get on to that discussion, because I feel that this is a good market use case. And and then I was I was talking about this just a bit earlier about the project with BlackRock and an NGO based in Singapore called Ida which works with domestic workers and starts off with financial literacy and then comes to investment And that’s the beauty of financial resilience, right? Yeah. Because it came to light Michael truly when COVID happened, and these were because we’re not allowed to leave their households, because remittance was not seen as an essential service. And what does that mean? They cannot send money back home. So the by the kids, the grandparents, everyone is waiting for the money, and they cannot get the money. Why? Because Singapore has got these COVID measures going on. So imagine if you can get your salary to begin with in an electronic form in a digital wallet. So I know we are talking about that kind of change of attitude. And it’s happening, it’s it’s maybe it’s just the beginning of it. But the change is taking place. So

Michael Waitze 15:47
there are a lot of really important points to address here. And look up I write this What is it the unified payment interface in India, smart pay in Singapore and prompt pay in Thailand, I believe have all integrated with each other over the past six months or over the past year? Do I have that right?

Neha Mehta 16:03
Yep, absolutely. This was during the FinTech festival that still

Michael Waitze 16:07
Yeah, and I think that that starts to address some of the issues that you were talking about right here. Right. And that is, you know, if I’m an overseas worker from the Philippines, and I’m working in Singapore, if I’m working in Hong Kong, and I want to send money home, in the old days, it was either I carried it home with me, or I sent it via Western Union, which was really expensive. And now, like, I literally use prompt pay, I live in Thailand, right? I use prompt pay every single day. And I’d love for people to be able to send money to their families, not just in, you know, the big cities in the Philippines, but in every little small town and in the provinces as well, in a way that’s literally frictionless. Like, I don’t almost ever carry cash anymore. Because it doesn’t make any sense to me. But to be able to do that, and have that connectivity throughout not just the region, but frankly, over the whole world would be really transformational, particularly for this financial inclusion that you talked about. Yeah.

Neha Mehta 16:58
Yeah, Michael, you’re right. But how many people on the street and people were working in the food courts? The food stalls in Thailand would know about this? Good question. Yeah, because I have people like you and me go on LinkedIn. We see all these press releases, you know, Singapore FinTech festival. Wow, boy, yes. Right. And do you actually see that being used by the last mile? Perhaps not? They don’t even know about it. And and then yes, we brag about going cashless, totally, I do the same, and I am in Singapore, India. But what happens when you lose your cash and that fear? That also stems from ignorance as well, like I said, the Bangladesh example? How are we going to give that peace of mind to that woman who lives in Bangladesh to say, hey, look, even if you lose your phone, you won’t lose your money. Right? Right. Yeah. So that kind of literacy, to the extender of understanding the wallet understanding that losing the phone doesn’t mean you lose your money, because it’s insured. There is a regulator and it’s a scheme behind it. I think all that requires effort and who’s putting in the effort to really help these individuals understand the complexity of new schemes and how to go online and how to do this how to download the app? And what if they don’t have a local number? Right? I mean, we’re talking about so many factors there. And I feel that yes, it’s easy as tourists when you’re traveling you you go on Google and you like, Oh, wow. I’m going to Pattaya to party, the Full Moon Party. So I want to make sure I say one remittance, right. But what about other workers? I doubt if it’s happening, I don’t know, I need to look at the number I could be totally wrong. But

Michael Waitze 18:36
you make a really good point, right? Like this idea of having prepaid versus postpaid, right as well. Does your number always stay the same? If your number changes? What does that mean to the wallet that you’ve installed on your phone? And I think this gets back to this idea, again, that you’ve introduced here, which is the financial literacy thing is you not just have to be included, but you have to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it to have the confidence to actually participate. Because the example that you give of the woman in Bangladesh means I’m just afraid to use it even even if I know it’s there. Yeah.

Neha Mehta 19:07
Yeah, but at the same time, you know, Michael, the counter argument is what I see back home calm right now I’m in Delhi with my mum. And if she has to use just one app, and get good at it, which is, let’s say Paytm, or phone, pay the super apps in our market, and she gets good at it, which means less hassle for me to teach her 20 different apps for 20 different features was just one app. You get it okay. You don’t need me. I’m in my room, you do your bit. Order pay. Got it. So that’s the beauty of super apps. Of course, we cannot forget what we just discussed in terms of losing the phone, the fear and whatnot. But just imagine if you’re getting into that ecosystem of okay, everything has been stored. I know it was in my mind by my daughter. The credit card is there. I just need you click this, this, this, this and the transaction is done, boom.

Michael Waitze 20:04
Yeah, it just makes life so much easier. Can I ask you this though? Do we? Do we need more super apps? Or do we need less of them?

Neha Mehta 20:13
I think the real beauty lies in less and why I’m saying this, Michael is because I was talking to the founder of on pay as to somebody Nigam. And I asked him, do we need more data to help these customers and these individuals, right? And he said, less is more.

Michael Waitze 20:37
Less data is, better? Yeah.

Neha Mehta 20:40
And it took me a while to really understand it. But what he meant was that we don’t need it about everything, but just few things. And that’s taken into consideration Sobell with machine learning, with personalization with discounts, troubleshooting, what exactly what you want in those specific areas? Yeah. So I think that’s what we’re looking at. Because the Gartner research says by 2027 50% of world’s population would be using one or the other software apps. And when you look at the ASEAN market itself, you can just look at handful of these apps, but we are doing really well. We have go to grab. Oh, yeah.

Michael Waitze 21:26
Yeah. And that’s the reason why I asked you this question, right, because AirAsia is trying to become a super app. And I’ve always had this theory that like, if a ride hailing company can become a digital wallet, what’s stopping a bank from becoming, you know, like a pizza delivery company as well. You don’t even because they’re already doing your financial transactions, you’re already making payments using them? What do you think that’s gonna happen as well?

Neha Mehta 21:51
I think banks are really invested. And they have spent so many years being that legacy that they have, right? That compliance and the licenses they have taken. So I doubt banks will go into that kind of model of FMCG, or anything of that nature. But we know that debate of bank versus Fintech is long gone and dusted. Why because banks realize we need to go hand in hand. Yeah, so clearly, this is going to be a space where banks are becoming a super uptick example of India, where we have YOLO by SBI, the State Bank of India, it’s a super app. And there’s so many other examples. Maybe you will be the tomorrow app that they have in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. I think banks are slowly and quickly getting into that direction, but but I don’t think they can really play that game, as well as the real FinTech players. thing.

Michael Waitze 22:51
I don’t know, like, I’m not rooting for one side or the other. But I’ll tell you what, they have all the clients already. And they already have most of those clients money. They have way bigger balance sheets, right than any Fintech startup, for sure. And I think it would be a really interesting competition to see like what these banks can do. And frankly, what the insurance companies can do as well, because they run massive balance sheets as well. I’m just really curious as to what’s going to happen over the next five years. And how that adds to this inclusion that you want to have. Because I think at the end of the day, that’s that’s the most important thing. Can I ask you this too, though? What are we We’re in December of 2023. A year ago, like open AI released chat GPT on to the world. Right. And AI has been out there for a long time. It’s not it’s not new, but it’s new definitely in this format. And I’m wondering if in all the work that you do, you’ve seen a change in the way people are behaving in the way like you said that this data is getting used since Chechi Beatty was released in November of 2022. And how it’s impacted this idea of financial inclusion.

Neha Mehta 23:57
Yeah, so, Michael, this is definitely I would say, the time where we will see real change happening. And I was talking about the Singapore FinTech festival just now it happened last month. And I remember sitting through one of the sessions where the Prime Minister was talking about how we cannot do without AI, but we still need the human intelligence. Absolutely. And he spoke about the use case of AI in the health sector. Because typically when you go for a cancer test, you get your report in a week’s time. And he said, Imagine the state of mind of the individual during the course of one week, the person is getting very edgy, nervous and just not sure what’s going to happen. But come the role of AI you can get the results, not 100% accurate, but a mere indication in the next five minutes of the test to say this is the likelihood of being positive or negative. And that gives you at least a sense of direction and he also spoke about how technology is going to be an enabler even for the seniors in the society. So I truly feel that there are so many use cases and the low hanging fruits that AI can solve. But can we trust it? 100% To say, Yes, I put all my bets on it, it’s going to solve my problems, it’s going to make the world a better place. I truly doubt that. We have seen that happening with so many things in the past. It just becomes a trendsetter. And people think this is it, but we see the loopholes. And then it seems like glaring to us, we want to run away from it. But yeah, going back to your question, I think, when we are talking about the alternative credit scoring system, especially how it can help the SME owners, the individuals who are underbanked and unbanked, I think that’s where the real beauty comes, because we’re talking about the decision making that can happen very quickly. Now a loan can be dispersed in less than a minute, it can be transferred into that person’s Wallet. So that entire cycle of collecting the data or the algorithms working behind in the background and making a decision and giving the money, I think that’s what it really is. Because access to capital is one of the huge problems for any business to thrive and even to start off. So if we can solve that problem. If we can keep that impetus to begin with, I truly feel that’s going to be a game changer. We were talking about Fiji 90% of the economy is informal sector. So you can imagine they don’t have relationship with any traditional banks.

Michael Waitze 26:46
The not the not the episode that were released today, but the episode released last week was with a guy named Srikanta. Patil who runs a company called Digi ally. And his whole idea is to solve access to finance for SMEs. And if you listen to the statistics that he gave me, during our conversation, it was mind blowing in a way, like how much of the economy that they actually run, and yet how little access they have to financial products. And I think you can probably transfer that same information over to individuals that are running these businesses as well, that they their financial assets are probably big enough to fund getting lending, but they have no access to it and no way to get access to it. And any work that can be done to give them access to it, I think benefits the global economy in a way that’s hard to explain. No.

Neha Mehta 27:31
Yeah, you’re right. And it’s not just the access, we also spoke about the literacy angle. For all, you know, maybe there are options available. And we are just blind ported because we don’t even know that they exist for us. So I think it goes hand in hand. Because when we talk about financial inclusion, we’re looking at accessibility, awareness, affordability. So only when we get to these, solving these three A’s, we can make sure that we’re talking about long term solution, because even in the world of super apps, Michael, we are looking at stickiness. Imagine if I go to the app today, because it provides me some discount or loyalty or doing transactions, and I never go back. There’s no data play. There’s nothing and I dumped the app, I uninstalled it. So the super apps have become super not just because they were born yesterday, and they became a superhero tomorrow. But they were in the long run. And people were going back again and again. So the stickiness angle really brings the beauty

Michael Waitze 28:32
WeChat is essentially the at least it was like five or six years ago, they just called it like the internet in China. Right? And obviously part of a big platform itself and they make a ton of money. But the Super App so far in Southeast Asia grab go to I think it’s called now. I mean, AirAsia makes money on the airline, but they make no money on the Super App part of their thing. What are these companies have to do to get profitable, so they can stay around? Because I’ll put you this way. I bought a new phone about a month ago. And I kept my old phone around until I could actually transfer my grab account to my new phone because that’s how often I use it. And yet that company is still not profitable yet.

Neha Mehta 29:15
Yo so I remember Michael asking all the funds as I was quizzing and interviewing during my book research, and looks like there’s a lot of optimism and the money coming from the market. Let’s not forget that lots of money is being pumped into these businesses. So not many are worried. Like we have heard about our paychecks and where the money is coming from. But jokes apart. I think they are looking at it as a business model where through partnerships they’re making money and Gone are the early days of giving away everything for free. Now there is a service fee there’s a platform fee and I’m sure you’ve seen that all the freebies have gone away because like you said you cannot survive without Grab on your. So you’ve got to have it. So that taking Yeah, they’re taking advantage of that. So they have that model by when is going to be profitable? I think it’s a question that only companies can answer. But I can tell you positively that they have taken all these measures, because by people talking about the financial inclusion, something I forgot to mention, my goal is that the accessibility to such a large audience, imagine if I’m running a small business. And if I’m part of the phone pay ecosystem, there is the feature whereby you can scroll and identify businesses around you for a particular service, for example, and my name would pop up because I’m in that two kilometer radius. So imagine I never had access to these individuals before. And I could have spent lots of money on marketing, but very little chance that I could have reached out to these individuals. But now by virtue of these apps, we have automatic access to these huge market. So we are talking about the ability to so so many individuals. So there is certainly hope that the apps are going to make money in the near future. But at the same time, when you look at the Western world, they’re looking at a vertical. So whether it’s dating, they’re becoming a dating Super App, or financial Super App, or healthcare Super App, they don’t want to go left right center to everything which has been done in Asia, that is everything under the sun model. They are very focused, and they want to make a niche and speciality into just one space. And that could be a good play on revenue.

Michael Waitze 31:46
Was there something that surprised you when you were doing your research for this book?

Neha Mehta 31:51
Yeah, I think one surprise, I was hoping for a wishlist though. I was. Yeah.

Michael Waitze 31:59
Are you? Are you one of the wish list for the book? Like what do you mean? No, just for me, I’m

Neha Mehta 32:04
very selfish. My point is you forgotten just for myself. Just for myself, I was hoping there was a, you know, bumble is getting to that. I wouldn’t say a Super App status yet. But imagine if there was something for the dating world, because I’ve been moving around cities, countries, it’s very hard to find eligible men. So a Super App, and that space would be so nice.

Michael Waitze 32:31
Like, I don’t even know how to respond to that.

Neha Mehta 32:35
Maybe you want to cut this section? No,

Michael Waitze 32:37
I’m gonna leave it in. Because I think it’s great. Because I think it’s actually really honest, I can’t imagine that that’s hard for you. But I do think it’s an interesting thing. And an interesting topic to talk about how like a dating app could actually become a super app as well, right? Because if you’re spending a lot of time there, if you’re searching there, well, then there’s other information you can get from there as well. And that’s the reason why I actually asked about the banks. And I’ve suggested this to insurance companies as well. If you’re trying to embed insurance into super apps, why not build that super up yourself, and then embedded into your own app to kind of create your own ecosystem, because like I said, it’s almost impossible to build a balance sheet big enough to become an insurance company. But it’s not that hard. You could buy off the shelf software to build a ride hailing software. And why not integrate that? So I wasn’t joking when I said I didn’t know what to say. But it’s not a bad point that anywhere you have a community of users that spend some amount of time on your app, don’t let them leave, give them other services. And I think that’s one of the things that WeChat originally figured out is kind of the original Super App, and that other people are trying to copy. Yeah.

Speaker 1 33:45
Yeah, you’re right. Absolutely. And I think what I was talking about dating, of course, the possibility of adding different features already. So they know that the next step when two people are chatting would be to see each other in person, and therefore you can make restaurant booking, you can send gifts to each other. Exactly. So there is, yeah, so just so you’re right, those value added services, just thinking by the next steps and the logical things, people who are going to be thinking of, but in terms of banks, they already have to begin with, they have a web app, or a Digi bank in case of dBs, right? So either the build the super app functionality within that ecosystem, or they start something from scratch, which means asking the customers to move from one platform to the other that you have gotten used to. So surely, I think the beauty lies in adding more features into the existing apps and making it more super. But at the same time, I think banks are going slow in this space because like, like you said, it’s yet to be seen as a good financial module.

Michael Waitze 34:54
Got it? Okay. I’m gonna let you go. What’s your final thought? Do you want to leave people with today?

Speaker 1 35:00
Oh, the final thought would be that the Super App trend is going to be here for the long run, not just because of financial inclusion, it’s not going to go away. But not just because of financial inclusion, like we discussed, but also the ability to do so much with the seamless and efficient efficiency factor there. And then just keep an eye out for one stop. It’s out in the market. It was released on 12th of December. So the Kindle version is available on Amazon, share the links and and then of course, it’s available in bookstores, in Singapore, Malaysia, and very soon across the globe, so awesome. The world is going to be super and we just need a one stop solution.

Michael Waitze 35:45
Neha Mehta, the author of One Stop and the founder and CEO of FemTech Partners. Thank you so much for doing this. I will put the links to the book in the show notes if you give them to me and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate.

Speaker 1 35:58
It was a pleasure, Michael. It’s always fun to chat with you. Thank you for having me.

 

Latest Episodes:

EP 314 – Nirali Zaveri – CEO of Friz – We Want to Simplify the Workflow of a Social Media Manager

EP 314 – Nirali Zaveri – CEO of Friz – We Want to Simplify the Workflow of a Social Media Manager

In this episode of the Asia Tech Podcast, we spoke with ⁠Nirali Zaveri⁠, co-founder and CEO of ⁠Friz⁠, about her transition from a corporate job, to founding a neobank for freelancers to pivoting towards a SaaS platform for marketing tech. Nirali discusses the challenges of scaling her initial venture, the strategic decision to pivot, and the lessons learned from being part of Y Combinator. 

read more
EP 313 – Maaike Doyer – Epic Angels – Using Wealth as a Proxy for Financial Literacy Just Blows My Mind

EP 313 – Maaike Doyer – Epic Angels – Using Wealth as a Proxy for Financial Literacy Just Blows My Mind

The Asia Tech Podcast welcomed ⁠Maaike Doyer⁠, a Founder and Managing Partner at ⁠Epic Angels⁠, back to the show to discuss a recent article she wrote on ‘⁠Why Stricter Angel Investing Rules Miss the Mark⁠’. In the 3 years since Maaike founded Epic Angels along with ⁠Hester Spiegel-vdSteenhoven⁠, the network has grown to nearly 300 female investors across 27 countries!

read more