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Dec 08, 2022
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All set to scale India’s first digital pension planning platform

-Kuldeep Parashar, Founder, PensionBox

Team 100X.VC interviewed the Founders' of their Portfolio Companies about their Start-up journey; from idea, execution to overcoming challenges. Here, Kuldeep Parashar, Founder, Pension Box shares his responses.

 

Q1. How did the idea come up?

The idea didn’t come to us, the problem part did. I was working on US retirement space and wanted to figure out a way to plan our parent’s retirement and that’s how we started looking at Indian Retirement space which is the least explored space. We started PensionBox so that someday me or my parents along with millions of Indians could use it & get their retirement with the right pension. 

 

Q2. What made you start working on and executing this idea?

Two main reasons which made us start working on PensionBox. First was this gut feeling that we have to build this for our people (scale & impact of the pension problem) & second was that we actually can do it with in-house CTO Shivam who can code the vision we can see together. 

 

Q3. When did you realise the need to raise Venture Capital - Seed funding?

We felt the need to raise money when PFRDA regulations required the net worth of the company to be more than 75 lakhs & 50 lakhs are cash reserves to apply for a licence for NPS. Also, we need to break into the existing networks to build faster with collaborations & integrations so we looked for seed funding & guidance to steer through the pension space.

 

Q4. How has 100X helped you at the beginning of your journey?

100x believed in us first before anyone else did & supported our persistence to grow, and build. My first in-person pitch and my first Mumbai trip was with 100x and from there we kept moving forward. We improved our financial projections, made changes to our GTM, made the product roadmap better and also raised exactly the amount we needed to launch PensionBox.

 

Q5. Has your startup pivoted? If so, What has the pivot been?

Small pivots are part of any startup but we haven’t made a major pivot in our vision or product and still continue to work towards building PensionBox to improve the way Indians Retire. 

 

Q6. What challenges did you face & how did you overcome them?

This might sound like any other success talk but it’s true to 99%. PensionBox had delays in our licence work, people not willing to join an early-stage startup, finding people in the finance domain as it’s a small community and 100 more. The only way to overcome them was to pick them up one by one & figure out a logical way out. I travelled to Delhi and stayed there till we figured out the licence delay & sorted it. We hired people who were willing to work together, basically believers not those who had doubts & unclear heads. We looked for mentors to guide us with finance domain and always looked for a logical wayout to fix our challenges 

 

Q7. What stage is your startup at present?

PensionBox is in build-fast-to-scale-faster mode. We have built the product, a team of core 10 in the last 10 months, gaining traction from 5000 to 55,000 users with 100% month-on-month growth and expected to hit 5,00,000 users by March 2023.

 

Q8. As founders, what are your goals for the next 1-2 years?

Next 2 years are the years of scale & building a truly Indian brand in the Indian pension space. As founders, we are keeping two major KPIs: one is to keep the cost low, stay lean and maximise revenue at scale. PensionBox will reach every household by the end of 2025. 

 

Q9. What keeps you motivated & keeps you going?

To be honest, I personally look for small wins every day or at least every week and that shows progress. When you see progress, you want to make more of it, it’s like an addiction to make things work. Also Shivam is my cofounder, younger brother & best friend who knows how to balance things together to keep things running. 

 

Q10. Your message for Startup founders building in the FinTech sector?

Fintech is a crowded space and it will become more in the future but you need to figure out what you can do better than most in the market. Positioning and founders' way to go to market is a moat (many will disagree until you execute & show them the numbers). Also keep the cost of building your product low to atleast make some money in a low margin business. At last, I am just your fellow founder building, learning everyday so do what your gut says & execute! 

 

About Kuldeep:

Kuldeep Parashar is the Founder & CEO of PensionBox, India’s first & fastest growing pension startup for the private employed workforce. PensionBox is building a revolution in Indian pension space which is expected to hit 340 million Indians by 2050. PensionBox is also backed by 100x.VC, Aprameya (Founder at Koo), Kishore Ganji & many others, have raised more then $160,000 pre seed. Before starting PensionBox with Shivam Parashar (Cofounder & CTO), Kuldeep worked 7+ years in consulting with Wipro & Fidelity Investments in India & London. He has deep experience in the retirement space specially creating 401k & IRAs which empowers him to build PensionBox better. He loves speed, go-karting, bike rides, beaches & non-fiction books.  

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