The start-up launched an invite-only beta with thousands of users on its teen-focused neobank platform and has a large & growing waitlist.
Bengaluru based Neobank – Walrus announced that it has raised an undisclosed amount of funding for its platform focussed on providing banking solutions for teens and young adults. The pre-seed funding round was led by Better Capital, an early backer of neobanks in India including investments in Open, Khatabook, Jupiter, Yelo and Slice.. There was also participation from seasoned angel investors including Raveen Sastry (Co-founder, Myntra), Raghunandan G (Ex-Founder and CEO of TaxiForSure) and Brijesh Thakkar among others. The company plans to utilize the funding to expand its team and enhance product features.
Walrus is a modern day digital-only banking platform for teenagers aged 13 and upwards. Although aimed specifically at teenagers, Walrus’ services can be used by anyone up to the age of 22. The platform provides them a secure and “Gen Z-like” cool banking solution that helps them to manage their money smartly and inculcate good financial habits. Parents can use the app to transfer money to their kids instantly via UPI, who can then spend the money hassle-free. They will be able to set saving goals for their children, teach them to invest small amounts of money in SIPs and mutual funds and also teach them to budget their expenses.
Founded in 2019 by Bhagaban Behera (CEO), Sriharsha Setty (CTO) and Nakul Kelkar (COO), Walrus was set up with an aim to help teenagers and young adults develop financial literacy at an early age ultimately leading them to the path of financial #AatmaNirbharata. The team comes with a collective experience of 40 years in leadership roles at various startups and MNCs.
Speaking about its core value proposition, Bhagaban Behera CEO, Walrus said: “Financial literacy is an important aspect of life which most people learn very late in life. In a very competitive, fast paced world, one should be taught how to calculate taxes, how to budget expenses, invest and plan for finances earlier than later. In India, we usually learn the importance of these life skills in our early or late 30s by which time most of us have already made a lot of financial mistakes. This can be a resentful experience for many people. We allow parents to educate and financially support their children in their first steps using a digital financial product. Built for the Instagram generation, Walrus is an Instagram equivalent for a bank account which is cool, new-age, intuitive and easy to use.”
Despite being born digital, there are 200 million teens in India today that don’t have access to any tool to use digital money seamlessly. Financial institutions like banks do not consider kids as an important segment as they do not have earnings and do not need to avail credit]. It’s too much of a hassle to open an account in a bank for these children. Teenagers do not need to open a bank account to use Walrus. They would be able to install the app, load money and pay any merchant via UPI QR code or using the Debit Card for e-commerce purchases. Walrus is India’s first payment instrument that allows users to make UPI Payments without linking a bank account.
Speaking of the investment, lead investor Vaibhav Domkundwar commented, “Walrus is the biggest missing link for today’s Instagram generation in India – it puts money in the hands of the teenagers so they can feel independent, make their own choices, learn from the choices they make and grow up to be a financially educated generation. We have 200 million such teenagers who will experience money & money management in a new way with Walrus. I am excited about this opportunity and fortunate to partner with a stellar team.”
Walrus is also building a community known as ‘Club Walrus’ which is a teens-only network for networking and learning interesting things like entrepreneurship, building products, digital marketing etc. from Industry experts.
Although the startup is in beta, it is witnessing a strong demand for its product from teenagers and is seeing a high engagement and retention amongst its thousands of beta users and has a large & growing waitlist.