Unicorn valuation is like having a meal before climbing Everest: Kunal Shah

Interview/ Kunal Shah, founder, CRED

21-Kunal-Shah Kunal Shah

Q/ How did the idea of CRED come about?

A/ CRED is based on two insights. We wanted to build something that improved the lives of taxpayers, the nation-building minority. The second was that the audience we were targeting loved their credit cards, but nobody was building good products for them. This led to the creation of our core product, which enables CRED members to manage all their credit cards in one place. The product also enables members to keep track of their payment journey, providing due date reminders, alerts on hidden charges, and insights into their spending patterns based on usage across categories.

Q/ While being valued as a unicorn, what swung the opinion of the VCs your way? How much of this Unicorn boom may be attributed to the pandemic and the transformation it has caused?

A/ The pandemic’s role is primarily as an accelerant of existing trends, supercharging the growth of consumer internet companies, and advancing it by a few years, rather than a transformation. Increased comfort and confidence in using tech is a powerful behavioural accelerant that has benefited tech-enabled businesses.

Q/ This milestone also puts a lot of responsibilities on you and your team

A/ Unicorn valuation is like having a meal before climbing Everest. Every round that we have raised, the majority has been done by internal investors. We are now focused on our responsibility to various stakeholders—teammates, consumers, brands, institutions and investors, to grow the business and continue to deliver value to all.

Q/ For any fintech firm, and especially something like CRED, where a lot of sensitive consumer data is handed over, stability and security are of paramount importance. What steps has CRED taken to ensure that?

A/ As a platform built on trust, we are committed to the safety and security of member data. We are transparent about the data we access through government-certified credit bureaus such as CRIF and Experian, after obtaining the explicit consent of the user. It is on us to operate with integrity. We are PCI and ISO 27001 compliant and are in compliance with all applicable rules and regulations around user data. We have very high standards on data security and privacy.

Q/ What are the opportunities and challenges in taking a startup model like this into the global market?

A/ We are actively evaluating different markets, including those in Asia. It’s too early to say where and when, but the data points to an opportunity in low-trust markets where people hold multiple cards.