Interview of Manish Kumar: Founder of KredX
A small-town boy from Patna, he graduated from IIT Kanpur in 2003 and began his career as a Product Manager at CitiFinancial. Post that, he joined HSBC as a Business Consulting Manager in 2005, then managed the Credit Risk Acquisition department. Post that, he led the Credit Risk Acquisition for Card and Retail Services business at HSBC before joining Capital One as an Associate Director in 2012.
Being a serial entrepreneur with insights into the financial domain, he realized the woes of businesses and how they were grappling due to the lack of working capital. This called for a solution that provided businesses with a simplified way of acquiring working capital. With this in mind, he and his co-founder Anurag founded KredX – India’s leading integrated cash flow solution provider, in 2015.
What inspired you to found KredX?
The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector forms a crucial component in the development of the nation. In a prospering economy like India, this high-powered sector brings in the spirit of entrepreneurship and creates employment opportunities, adding 14.9 million jobs per annum in the last year. The growth of the sector is intently weaved with India’s quest to become an economic powerhouse. However, despite being the growth engine of India, it has been subjected to various challenges, with cash crunch and access to credit being the most significant one. Additionally, factors like delay in the payments cycle and extended settlement period act as roadblocks for businesses. Through this journey, I realized that the cash crunch is not just limited to small businesses; it’s a global issue plaguing all strata of businesses, thereby hampering growth. This called for a comprehensive framework that would aid businesses with the ease to get access to working capital, thereby promoting growth and development.
KredX was conceptualized in 2015 with a single vision to assist businesses to bridge the gaps in working capital cycles and avoid operational difficulties due to the delay in payments by utilizing an asset lying idle in their balance sheet – accounts receivable. Accounts receivable, when appropriately harnessed, has the potential to mitigate cash flow challenges. Today, KredX is India’s leading integrated cash flow solutions provider, with a fleet of innovative solutions aimed at businesses and investors.
What is your life mantra?
I believe that challenges are meant to be a part of one’s daily routine, and it is up to the person how seamlessly he/she can tackle it. For me personally, I believe that time is the essence of everything. If you are supposed to do something tomorrow, do it today, rather, do it now.
In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, the essence of success lies in getting things done fast and on time. Hence, managing and recognizing the right time to launch a particular product or service in the market will be the key factor determining the success of the company. As the old adage goes, the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Our journey has been a roller coaster ride so far with a lot of learning and unlearning. A major roadblock for KredX was to increase its rate of adoption and penetration in a market that is not tech-savvy. However, the team at KredX worked tirelessly and tested the products numerous times to build a trusted, easy-to-use digital platform that performs seamlessly. We needed to ensure that our products provide a hassle-free experience to users, and in that process, we created a community for businesses and investors with knowledge-sharing at its core.
Several challenges came along the way that had to be tackled while assuring an increased awareness about our product and its offerings. Overcoming all the hurdles in our path, we designed unique products that offer holistic cash flow solutions to businesses, while providing investors with a robust investment avenue to earn high returns in a short time span.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of brain drain?
Brain drain is one of the key challenges companies face. At KredX, we foster a culture that supports employee development. We also perform deep profiling of our employees to understand their goals, preferences, and alignment with the company’s vision. We take immense pride in promoting a healthy work-life balance and believe that work is not the only aspect of one’s life. In fact, an individual needs to have ample time with family and friends so that they come back all the more refreshed and happy at work. We also promote an open-door policy to boost transparency and organize in-house events to inspire and encourage employee creativity and build enthusiasm like Ideathon – an event that invites newer ideas and concepts, KredXLeague – an exhilarating sports event, and more.
At KredX, we foster a continuous learning approach to help our employees be up to date with the latest trends, technology, and innovation. We also provide reimbursement for accredited certification to employees. This not only helps in retaining but also helps us get an edge in an increasingly complex marketplace.
Share one habit that you think makes you more productive?
I enjoy interacting with people from different walks of life and believe that one can learn a lot through that. Building and maintaining a relationship is like an art that every entrepreneur needs to master. With the rapidly changing business landscape, having a unique business idea isn’t enough. In today’s hyperconnected world, entrepreneurs need to interact with not just clients or employees, but also outside to get fresh perspectives and create an impact.
Share one habit that you wish to change in yourself?
I love navigating through complex problem-solving; however, this takes a considerable chunk of time. I would like to take breaks more often.
Answer in one line.
One tip to success: Tenacity
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid: Failures are meant to happen, don’t let it bog you down.
One most important lesson that you have learned till now: There’s no shortcut to success.
Apps you can’t live without: No such specific apps but if I’ve to pick one, it’ll probably be one of the fitness or running apps
Key in workplace: Open communication and transparent work culture
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
I sometimes feel that Anurag and I should have started KredX 10 years earlier. That would have helped us cater to a large client base with working capital requirements and help them grow.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles, but today it means getting along with people” – Mahatma Gandhi
What makes you excited about Mondays?
I’ve always found Mondays very exciting. Monday for me means the happiness of having the bandwidth of the entire week to get things done and solve challenges.
According to you how important are self-worth and happiness in a job?
I believe that self-worth and happiness is the key to attain contentment in life. If you don’t value yourself, then you will not be able to understand the value of anything.
Describe some difficult leadership situations and how you managed people through them?
As a leader, one must be ready to tackle any situation with ease. I believe that every day is a new chapter in life, with a whole new set of challenges that’ll teach you some priceless lessons. And, mitigating those risks, challenges, and taking decisions accordingly is what makes the journey worthwhile.
Do you invest (or have interest) in Startups?
What’s your opinion about StartupLanes?
StartupLanes is playing an instrumental role in contributing to the growth and development of the startup ecosystem. It is providing the right platform for startups to thrive and excel in the rapidly changing business landscape.