Thomas L. Friedman an internationally renowned author and journalist was in India recently and he has written a detailed column in the New York Times today on Eko Financial Services Pvt Ltd.
Thomas L Friedman is the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes and the author of five bestselling books, which includes The World Is Flat.
Eko Financial Services is Delhi based Startup which is building a low cost financial services infrastructure to help increase the reach of financial institutions to the unbanked population in urban and rural areas of India using innovative technology.
Do Believe the Hype
By Thomas L. Friedman
Extract from the Article
Having traveled to both China and India in the last few weeks, here’s a scary thought I have: What if — for all the hype about China, India and globalization — they’re actually underhyped? What if these sleeping giants are just finishing a 20-year process of getting the basic technological and educational infrastructure in place to become innovation hubs and that we haven’t seen anything yet?
Here’s an example of why I ask these questions. It’s a typical Indian start-up I visited in a garage in South Delhi, EKO India Financial Services. Its founders, Abhishek Sinha and his brother Abhinav, began with a small insight — that low-wage Indian migrant workers flocking to Delhi from poorer states like Bihar had no place to put their savings and no secure way to send money home to their families. India has relatively few bank branches for a country its size, so many migrants stuff money in their mattresses or send cash home through traditional “hawala,” or hand-to-hand networks.
The brothers had an idea. In every Indian neighborhood or village there’s usually a mom-and-pop kiosk that sells drinks, cigarettes, candy and a few groceries. Why not turn each one into a virtual bank? So they created a software program whereby a migrant worker in Delhi using his cellphone, and proof of identity, could open a bank account registered on his cellphone text system. Mom-and-pop shopkeepers would act as the friendly neighborhood local banker and do the same.
Read the full article on the New York Times
Go through the 229 comments on the article here.