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A growing tech team & its accomplishments

Karthikeyan K, Co-founder & Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of KreditBee, delves into the company’s digital initiatives, shedding light on the technologies and innovations:

Ravi Lalwani: What digital initiatives has the company taken this year and what benefits have they delivered?

Karthikeyan K: There have been various initiatives, but the entire product itself was created to make it easy for people to understand the credit ecosystem and get loans in a customer-centric way with a seamless user experience. This initiative was launched 5-6 years ago. This year, as part of the digital journey, the company has been working on regulatory compliance and taking initiatives to ensure that they are in sync with all the necessary regulations.

One of the biggest benefits is that we can be compliant concerning things such as video KYC processes for customers. We have optimized the video KYC process to such an extent that most of our customers now go through this process. We launched video eKYC for NBFCs over a year ago, which is an additional initiative to ensure that they can do the KYC for all customers digitally and seamlessly. Internally, we have launched various new loan products such as SME-related products and digital business loans. The latter has 2-3 sub-products with varying ticket sizes. We want to recreate and replicate the personal loan journey for these products and envision reaching the same volumes as personal loans over time.

Additionally, internal initiatives have been taken to analyze customer behavior and understand how customers interact with SMS. We have optimized certain things to control costs and maintain delivery ratios, even after the SMS cost increase that occurred last year. These are just a few of the initiatives that have been taken, and there are many more.

Who are your top 3 tech partners and what services do they provide?

In terms of technology, we primarily rely on AWS, GCP, and Oracle as our top 3 tech partners. Since we are digitally native, all our systems run on the cloud, allowing us to scale up and down as required without spending much time on understanding the scale of business or potential scale for any new line of business or scaling up an existing one. We scale up as required or do 2X or 3X scaling, based on which we optimize further and bring down costs. Our tech partners have been helpful in this journey, providing authentication, computing, database, and data services, each having its strengths. We use a specific partner for a specific service.

What is your capex to opex ratio for IT spending? How has it changed over the last 3 years?

We have kept our expense structure mostly the same, with only a few minor adjustments toward capex. However, when it comes to our cloud infrastructure, we are operating almost entirely within the realm of opex. This ratio has remained largely unchanged, at approximately 99%. Although there is some capex involved in purchasing computers and laptops, I am not including that in my calculations. Instead, I am only focusing on the necessary expenses to keep the business running. This means we primarily rely on an opex model, rather than a capex model.

Tell us about your IT team and how it has evolved over the last 3 years.

The team has grown in size over the past few years as our product offerings have expanded. We now have multiple fintech products for customers to use, which has required a larger team to support them. To improve efficiency, we have also implemented automation throughout the testing and development process. A team of around 50 people has been dedicated to this effort, ensuring that our products are continually tested and up-to-date. Another team has been established to monitor various aspects of our operations to ensure everything is running smoothly. This team keeps an eye on graphs and metrics to detect anomalies and act when needed. Additionally, we have various other teams such as database, security, DevOps, infrastructure, development, QA, product, UI/UX, and business teams, all of which have grown to meet the demands of our expanding business.

Tell us about your AI plans. In which functions in the organization do you see AI making the surest impact?

Delving into our AI initiatives, our journey began with pre-chat GPT, a thoroughly tested model. We crafted digital personas for customers, akin to understanding their unique fit for a product. This process involved complex AI models analyzing various data points to predict customer behavior.

Fast forward to our current landscape, where we’ve embraced generative AI, a transformative pillar. Under this umbrella, pre-chat GPT persists, while generative AI introduces new possibilities. Notably, our featured presence at the AWS AI conclave showcased our strides in customer support.

Generative AI is reshaping operational activities, from development to customer support. A standout project involves speeding up email customer support by automating responses in multiple languages. This initiative, currently in the POC stage, aims to enhance the efficiency of our support agents.

Another significant endeavor is integrating tools like Code Whisperer and Vertex AI for developers. This fosters the creation of code snippets and accelerates development activities. Around half of our team is already leveraging these tools.

Exploratory projects include chatbots for customer support, text-based generative AI, and the potential for visual and voice-based generative capabilities. While text-based AI is mature, visual and voice-based capabilities are progressing stepwise in terms of maturity.

In navigating these advancements, we remain mindful of evolving regulatory landscapes, ensuring our initiatives align positively with industry standards. Our commitment to innovation stands firm, propelling us into the future of AI-driven excellence.

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