Startupbootcamp‘s core idea is to support the world’s best entrepreneurs as they grow their startups. Here’s an interview with Rhea Chaterji, Head of Ecosystem at Startupbootcamp FinTech
Tell us about yourself and your past experiences
I graduated as a lawyer from LSE, and then started work in a boutique law firm in Mumbai while obtaining my qualifications in India. From there, I moved to KPMG, where I was working in the Tax practice for a few years. From there, I moved on to be part of a team helping set up an early stage VC Fund, and finally arrived at Startupbootcamp, which is one of the world’s leading accelerator programs! I’ve had a varied path, from law through consultancy, to the startup world. While I no longer practice law any longer, my training has been helpful in every role I’ve been in so far.
How will Startupbootcamp Fintech Mumbai benefit Indian Fintech Startups?
Startupbootcamp aims to act as a bridge, connecting early stage startups to our corporate partners. We see an appetite, on both sides, to work together, but this doesn’t always translate to real partnership, due to a lack of understanding of the product, slow procurement cycles, and a difference of working styles.
Startups in our cohort benefit greatly from the exposure they get to the corporate world through our partners as well as the amazing mentor pool they have access to- including experienced entrepreneurs, industry veterans, investors, and tech heroes. In India particularly, early stage ventures could benefit from market validation and product refinement, which we help with.
Your views on Fintech ecosystem in India.
A lot has been said about the ecosystem for FinTech in India, including and beyond, payments (which was a hot topic for a while). What’s interesting to me, is that the industry here is open to collaborating with startups and are keen on exploring ways in which they can collaborate from the get go.
Demonetisation provided a fillip to FinTech and brought it into everyone’s radar, but as in the case of most industries, I feel the startups that do well will be the ones that understand pain points in business or for consumers, rather than those that create solutions that are artificially imposed on everyone.
How according to you can Banks and Financial institutions benefit by collaborating with Fintech Startups?
We’ve had some great experience in facilitating collaborations between startups and financial institutions through our programs around the world, and are excited about the opportunity in India. The industry clearly recognises that in order to stay relevant, efficient, and provide the best solutions to their customers, it needs to find ways to tap into the potential that startups have. We have had multiple success stories where banks have opened their APIs, or have been willing to run a POC with a startup, to source a solution they may not have been able to build in house.
Your favourite books
Difficult to pin down, but some of the favourites would be To Kill a Mockingbird, Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the Lord of the Rings trilogy (cheating and counting it as one!), A Terrible Beauty, A Suitable Boy and the poetry of Rumi.
My future plans include continuing the journey into FinTech and innovation, trying to procrastinate a little less, and (hopefully) getting a dog.