The Weekend Leader - Amit Nigam's Bankit: From Rs 10 Lakh Investment to Rs 150 Crore Turnover

Empowering the Bottom of the Pyramid, How a Startup Founder Built a Rs 150 Crore Firm with Just Rs 10 Lakh

Shyla F   |  


Vol 15 | Issue 15

Amit Nigam's journey isn't just about starting a firm; it's about following his heart, chasing his big dreams, and a desire to make a difference in the everyday lives of millions.

In 2017, Amit set up Bankit, a digital payment company aimed at serving the Bottom of the Pyramid, starting with an investment of Rs 10 lakh. Over the past five years, Bankit has shown consistent growth in revenue, reaching Rs 150 crore in the latest financial year.

Amit Nigam launched Bankit in 2017 with Rs 10 lakh (Photos: Special Arrangement) 

Born in Bhopal into a family deeply involved in bureaucracy and the judiciary, with his dad serving as a senior advocate at the Allahabad High Court, Amit was expected to follow the family’s traditional path.

But Amit had different plans. "There was always a pressure to get into the bureaucracy but I was never interested in it. I wanted to do something in management," he recalls.

Amit did his BA in Economics from Allahabad University and then got a PGDM in Marketing from the Indian Institute of Planning and Management, Noida.

Amit landed his first job at Indian Rayon Ltd, Delhi, as a management trainee with a monthly salary of Rs 10,000, straight from campus placements. Within just six months, he got promoted to manage the operations in UP and Varanasi, working there from 1993 to 1995.

Then in 1995, he moved to Escotel Mobile Communication as an Assistant Manager and quickly became the operations head for UP West, directly reporting to the company's board.

By 1998, Amit took up a new role at Usha as the Regional Sales Manager for UP West, where he stayed for 2.5 years.

His career then took a significant turn when he joined Airtel, spending around eight years as the head of Sales & Marketing, launching new circles and working closely with Sunil Bharti Mittal, the founder and President of Airtel.

Amit wished to reach the digital banking services to the unserved Bottom of the Pyramid segment in India

In 2018, Amit joined Playmate, an educational board games and toy brand in Mumbai.

After spending two years at Playmate, Amit returned to Delhi to co-found Spice Money, a fintech company, in 2011. In 2016 he left Spice Money in 2016 and launched Bankit the following year with an investment of Rs 10 lakh, driven by his vision to bridge the financial services gap in India.

He wanted to bring easy financial services to those left out, focusing on migrants who had a hard time with banking in large cities.

Migrant workers form a significant part of Bankit's customer base, using the platform for cash transactions and bank transfers, whereas blue-collar workers primarily use it to pay bills in large cities.

"Migrants have various challenges; they don’t have bank accounts in big cities and also lack various documents, since they have migrated from different small places,” Amit explains the core mission of Bankit.

Bankit is an all-in-one banking and payment app that makes financial tasks super easy for people in cities all over India.

With this app, you can quickly open bank accounts, send money across the country, transfer funds through the Aadhaar system, pay your bills, and even get insurance services. Plus, it's got a mobile wallet feature that lets you transfer cash by just scanning a QR code, making it as simple as sending a message.

On top of the new-age digital services, Bankit also provides traditional banking options like Recurring Deposits (RD), Fixed Deposits (FD), and new account setups, targeting not just the big cities but also reaching out to tier 2, 3, and 4 cities. It operates on a model that aims for lots of transactions but keeps the profit margin low.

Bankit, headquartered in Noida and registered as Bankit Services Private Limited, rapidly grew under Amit's leadership.

Bankit's revenue has grown over the years, starting from Rs 15 crore in 2020-21, jumping to Rs 120 crore in 2021-22, slightly increasing to Rs 125 crore in 2022-23, and reaching Rs 150 crore in the last financial year.

With a vast network of 7000 distributors and 1.5 lakh agents, known as Digi Mitra, Bankit's services span across 13,000 pin codes in India. These agents operate mostly through the mobile app, accounting for 70% of Bankit's operations, while the remaining 30% is conducted via laptops or desktops.

Bankit's workforce has grown to 200 from its initial strength of 10

Each distributor manages about 30-40 agents, extending Bankit's reach from big cities like Gurgaon to smaller towns like Gopalganj and Siwan.

"Becoming a Bankit agent is easy," Amit explains. "Just download the app, register, complete the KYC, and you are ready to offer digital financial services from anywhere."

Agents earn a commission on every transaction, with Bankit not charging for cash withdrawals but taking a 1% fee for sending cash, in compliance with RBI regulations.

Agents earn anywhere between Rs. 5 to Rs. 30 per transaction, depending on the volume of business. For instance, on a transaction of Rs 1000, Bankit earns Rs 10 (1%), from which the agent takes home 95% of the commission, while Bankit retains 5%.

Bankit's corporate headquarters is in Noida, while its registered office is located in Mumbai. In Noida, they have two offices spread over combined space of 20,000 sq ft.

Starting with just 10 people in 2017, Bankit quickly grew to 30 employees within its first year. Today, the company boasts a workforce of 200 across India.

Half of them work in sales, while the rest are spread across customer care, operations, HR, and compliance.

Amit explains the main mission of Bankit, stating, "Our main goal was to serve the community. Despite the presence of numerous banks, the banking infrastructure in smaller areas is lacking."

He says their research revealed that people in remote areas often couldn't secure a small loan for urgent needs “because banks were too far away, or they lacked the necessary savings account and documentation."

"In our first year, we focused heavily on R&D, starting in small areas of UP before expanding to MP, Odisha, and then nationwide," Amit adds.

The focus was not just on expanding the geographical footprint but also on making the business more customer-centric and empowering agents with a sense of responsibility that helped in building trust with customers.

Migrant workers have benefitted most from Bankit (Photo: lakshmiprasad S - for representation purpose only)

Moreover, Amit highlights the unique support Bankit offers its agents, "We provided them with medical coverage and family insurance, a benefit not commonly offered by our competitors." This approach has led to a significant 43% customer return rate, showcasing the trust and reliability Bankit has built among its users.

Amit's wife, Dr. Ekta Nigam, holds an MBBS and MD from BHU, Banaras, and works as a dermatologist. The couple has a 20-year-old son who is pursuing a BBA from Narsi Munji.

Sharing about his personal life, Amit mentions, "My family and I stay in Gurgaon. I find my peace in music and movies, hang out with friends every two weeks, and I am a big fan of cricket. Staying fit and prayer are very important to me.” - ©TWL

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