With over 12 years of hands-on experience in building consumer products, Radhika led the launch of Tax Saving Funds at PhonePe – our first big leap in the Financial Services space. Prior to this, she was heading the Personalisation and Recommendations charter at Flipkart. She had earlier worked on People Search, Social Graph and Real-time communication products at Google. Read on to find out how she took on the task of building a product in a completely new domain.
How has the transition to Financial Services been for you?
It was a bit overwhelming in the beginning. For the products I have worked on in the past, I was able to hit the ground running as they were pure play online consumer products. There wasn’t much domain-specific information that I had to ramp up on. However, the learning process and the challenges of learning a new domain made it exciting and fun.
What has been your role in launching Tax Saving Funds on PhonePe?
My role ranged from defining the product strategy and requirements to ensuring we launch a quality product on time. The three most important aspects were:
- Defining the product roadmap
- Providing design wire-frames for the product flow and working with the design team to come up with the actual screens
- Making sure all the different work-items across functions needed for launch are accounted for, prioritised and progressed well to meet the launch deadline.
A new category launch like this takes the longest time in getting the first version out. Once the systems are in place, developing products and features on top of that is relatively easier. I spent a lot of time to ensure we are building the right systems that scale well.
How do you determine a product-market fit for the products you develop at PhonePe?
I start with studying the market and users first. For instance, for the Mutual Funds product, I engaged with a research agency and studied different user profiles to understand their savings and investment behaviour, their needs, concerns, etc. These insights were very helpful in defining the product. At PhonePe, we go with the principle of thinking about a product holistically and launching in an iterative mode quickly, taking feedback along the way.
Like after launching Tax Saving funds, we spent a good amount of time understanding the users’ feedback on the product. I used both our product metrics as well as user surveys to analyze what has worked and what needs improvement. And then we fine-tuned our product accordingly.
What are the key details you look at before a product can be deemed launch -ready?
User experience is the key. Is the product easily understandable and navigable for a user? Is the fit and finish up to the mark? These are the things I watch out for. I’m a big advocate of dogfooding a product before we launch it externally. I closely watch out for every piece of internal feedback and keep a very high bar for the above mentioned aspects before approving for launch.
Another important factor is the accuracy of the product. We are in this industry of handling users’ money and it is very critical for us to ensure there are no issues in the transaction, settlement and refund flows that involve money movement. We test these paths including edge cases thoroughly before launch.
How will Financial Services on PhonePe benefit our users?
So far, PhonePe has made payments seamless for its users. We have helped people send and spend their money, we now want to help them manage and grow their money as well. This is the vision of Financial Services at PhonePe.
Most of us don’t know the best way to save and grow our money. We take great pains to earn it, but when it comes to managing it, we are often clueless. There is a lack of awareness of the different options available and the pros and cons of each. Most of our users don’t have financial planners to help them out, and we want to fill that gap.
The most interesting aspects of your PhonePe journey till now…
I learn something new everyday in this space and that really keeps me going.
The fact that my work has a direct impact on the financial well-being of millions of people is gratifying. Also, working alongside some of the smartest people and solving some core problems is just pure joy.
What would breaking new ground in Mutual Funds mean in the current Indian market?
The penetration of Mutual Funds in India is abysmally low (less than 3% of the population). 95% of household savings in India are in physical assets like real-estate and gold. There is a huge opportunity to increase users’ awareness of financial products and how they could better their lives in the long-term. The Mutual Funds industry in India has been around for decades. If we are to disrupt this market, it would mean thinking outside the box.We have to think from users’ point of view and build a product that appeals to a majority of Indian consumers.