YouFirst Ventures: A Holistic Approach to Rewards, Recognition & Cashless Solutions
Vikrant Gugnani, Founder
To deliver financial literacy and inclusion using innovative digital payment platforms focussing on financial products and customised solutions is what remains the driving force behind YouFirst Ventures. The company offers choice of versatile gifting solutions which include a wide range of prepaid gift cards and vouchers. These gift cards can be used across all merchant outlets and online e-commerce portals. “While gift cards are available through most of the banks, we are the only non-bank player offering cards to the retail market place. Also, since all distribution is online, no cash payments are accepted. This enables us to offer instant activation, instant customer gratification as well as easy availability. The digitally driven holistic solution helps us gain significant traction with customers,” explicates Vikrant Gugnani, Founder.
YouFirst: Then & Now
The ideation of YouFirst occurred at a time when Vikrant was leading the broking and distribution businesses for an Indian conglomerate in 2014. The large amounts of cash transactions in
waiting for a disruption. A through put off over USD 1 billion annually, and the withdrawals being in cash amounts of average Rs 15000 each, gave him quite some food for thought. On deep diving into the nature of the transactions, he discovered that while most of them were for family maintenance, a significant number of transactions were gifts. Given the Indian culture of gift envelopes at every occasion for celebration in a family, the inability to deliver such an envelope where one is unable to make it for the celebration was a challenge. While in the cross border market, this was possible, in the domestic market there was no such channel. Also, most gift cards /vouchers tied one down to a particular brand/store. He thought of a solution that could offer an open loop mass market product, freely available both on-line as well as off-line, in physical as well as e-card format. This marked the beginning of YouFirst Ventures.
" YouFirst Ventures has added 30,000 new retail customers and 100 new corporate clients since the change in the RBI guidelines on Oct 17"
YouFirst Ventures as a platform now offers both gift cards as well as gift vouchers of almost 70+ brands. One of its key successes has been the launch of the YouFirst Corporate Rewards & Recognition and Gifting portal(YCRP) that provides a web-based solution where a corporate can seamlessly execute the fulfilment of rewards
The Success Saga
YouFirst Ventures began operations in Oct 2015 with two primary verticals – money transfer and prepaid cards. Eventually, due to a leveraged buyout, the remittance business was sold off to EBix Inc in Oct 2017 to pay off the loans. The focus since has been to build scale for the prepaid card business across multiple use case scenarios including digital cashless solutions.
“We have added 30,000 new retail customers and 100 new corporate clients since the change in the RBI guidelines on Oct 17. Currently, we have issued almost 400,000 cards. We also serve corporate for their rewards and recognition fulfilment requirements and currently have over 150 active clients across Mumbai and Delhi. Our partnership with Bank of India has helped immensely and we will be partnering with them for the Chandigarh Smart City project,” he asserts.
With eminent personalities like Mr G Narayanan – Chairman Vijaya Bank and Mr Shrikant Rege – former CEO of AMEX, guiding the team, YouFirst Ventures is well placed for success!