We had a candid interview with Mr. Vivek Naidu, CEO and founder of Hotfoot.
Vivek is the Founder & CEO of Hotfoot Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd, a new-age FinTech / Credit Tech Platform that provides optimum end-to-end business solutions to Financial Institutions.
He has done his Master’s in Financial Management. Being born in a business family largely laid the foundation for his current business outlook that the business must be customer-centric to be able to survive.
As a first-generation entrepreneur, a vision to transform the way people avail loans led him to start Hotfoot Technology Solutions. He had 15 years of experience before he started the entrepreneurial journey. His rich and varied experience in Banking, Process Intensive Manufacturing and Information Technology, comes through his association with Citibank, Barclays and Wagner Trident.
Vivek has a sharp business mind-set and is very detail oriented. With an unwavering passion for customer service, he believes that one of the biggest features and a significant competitive edge for a company comes from giving personalized attention to the customers and he strives to achieve that with his core team and employees.
Vivek is closely associated with the cause of girl child and continues to be a major contributor to a NGO that works at the grassroots and encourages the child to return to government schools every year.
He loves music and spends time with his two young daughters enabling their budding interest in music, dance and sports. He adores his pet dog and believes that having a pet instils a sense of empathy in his young family.
Here is the verbatim transcript of the interview.
1. What inspired you to launch Hotfoot?
Being a first-generation entrepreneur, the vision was to transform the way people avail loans led to the idea of starting Hotfoot Technology Solutions. We always wanted to create a platform that enhances the borrowing experience by addressing financial inclusion, new credit, and lending based on surrogates & additional data.
2. Would you brief about Hotfoot and how it works?
Hotfoot Technology Solutions is a new-age CreditTech company, providing optimum end-to-end solutions for digital & automated lending to financial institutions and loan aggregators.
Aiming at revolutionizing the way lending is done in India, Hotfoot is a trendsetter in financial technology by bringing the best & innovative practices in delivering Digital Automation solutions and services from ideation to execution. Thereby enabling clients to outperform the competition with an 85+ member vibrant team headquartered out of Chennai, with an additional office in Bangalore.
Hotfoot’s lending platform is RAPID, it allows digital onboarding of the borrower, enables data verification and enrichment automates the credit or eligibility decisioning, digitizes documentation, and democratizes disbursement of the loan to the borrower.
RAPID is also available in an enhanced SaaS version that will enable lenders to set up and go to market with a fully digitized and automated lending platform within weeks.
Keeping in line with the larger vision of revolutionizing the way lending and borrowing is done, Hotfoot Technology Solutions will release Omeno – its platform that will allow loan origination to be embedded into distribution and create one seamless flow of the loan process from the start to the end.
3. How COVID 19 has impacted your business plan?
One of the greatest learning for us was to take our organization from survival mode to a transformation mode, where our team operated almost all functions more efficiently from their homes without compromising on the quality of the outcome. The continuity plan did wonders for us and our team is equipped to manage their functions in a variety of scenarios.
Also, the prolonged shutdown is a once-in-a-lifetime situation that none of us anticipated. We are proud to have survived this and grown during this period.
4. Who can benefit from your services?
We serve financial institutions and loan aggregators.
5. How different are your services from others offering similar services?
Hotfoot strongly aims at improving customer experience in the financial industry by making the entire process quicker, simpler, and more efficient.
Most of the applications that are available in the loan origination space are in one way or another an improvement on the legacy software and which could lead to efficiency at the IT end of the enterprise.
But rarely have any of them focused on the experience of the end customer who is the borrower. Our application does exactly that and this can be established using key metrics – TAT or Turnaround time, for a loan process as for Home loans – which is fairly complex, we have helped lenders provide same day sanctions to borrowers where it normally took a week at least using legacy loan origination systems.
6. How do you see the future of the company, and what plans do you want to achieve shortly?
We have a clear vision for the future of the company. We will focus on technology in the lending space and will be a digital asset that will provide solutions to all aspects of lending other than putting the risk capital which will be the core of the Banks and NBFC’s.
The vision includes the ability to leverage technology to reduce costs drastically and allow the lenders to focus on risk while we will address all aspects of the process.
7. How important do you feel is the workforce for the company, and what are you doing to keep your team motivated and energized?
Some key ideas that drive our people philosophy includes:
We believe in heart count and not in the headcount – so the way we treat our people changes dramatically to align with this approach.
We build lives and don’t merely provide jobs or careers – to operationalize this, we look at several contributing factors such as:
- A steep learning curve where we expose very young and talented people to cutting edge technology.
- We do not have the fear of people leaving us, thereby we have an inclusive workplace and consequently, we have less than 1% of our team leaving us.
- We place more emphasis on practical knowledge even if some skills like communication in English is relatively low, but help people build that skill that is lacking.
- We are neutral to religion, caste, economic background and if you visit our office you will probably astonish with the cultural diversity.
- We aim and maintain 50% gender diversity and make it our priority to provide a safe working and nontoxic environment to both genders.
- Even as a startup, we do not compromise when we pay our people and ensure that they get industry level remuneration even though we are much smaller in size.
8. How was your journey as the owner of Hotfoot, and what challenges do you face?
Keeping an open mind – One of the most important lessons was to have an open mind. It helps to look at solutions differently and helps you create a world-class product.
People are the best resource – We believe recruiting people with the right attitude or perspective, obviously having the relevant skillset is essential, keeping them engaged & motivated is the key to success.
You cannot connect the dots looking forward, so it is important to take chances and also not focus on profit as the primary goal at least for the first 3 or 4 years.
The client is the most important contributor to a learning organization, so it is key that you don’t develop products in a lab guessing what the client may want and if you get lucky, your clients will help you build a product with a great market fit and this is something you cannot put a price to.
Stay focused, each day, day after day – this is another success factor, in this context to overcome challenge, as a young startup will certainly have challenges of various kinds, but being focused will certainly give the necessary solutions.