Bulkpe at Global Fintech Festival 2023

Written By
Sathya Narayanan
Published Date
September 14, 2023
Read time
3 Min To Read

Bulkpe at GFF'23

Let us start with thanking the organizers: GFF, NPCI, PCI, and FCC for providing us with three complimentary passes to attend GFF'23. For us, this was not merely an event to attend but also an opportunity to learn and meet multiple other stakeholders to collaborate. We were also provided with an opportunity to participate in the startup pitch session at GFF'23, which in front of 40+ prominent VCs in India.

Quick Background about GFF

Global Fintech Fest 2023, the premier thought leadership event in the FinTech, recently wrapped up its proceedings. Amidst the whirlwind of activities and a multitude of FinTech product debuts, it was NPCI's launches that truly stole the spotlight. The days of September 5th, 6th, and 7th were nothing short of exhilarating, especially for those of us immersed in the world of FinTech. It served as a unified platform where policymakers, regulators, bankers, industry luminaries, academics, and FinTech experts from across the globe converged for an enlightening three-day event.

Traveling to Mumbai

Saurabh and I from the founding team planned to represent Bulkpe. While Saurabh had visited Mumbai many times, this was my first visit to Mumbai. he city greeted us with its trademark heavy traffic, luxurious hotels, sprawling airports, and an array of delectable culinary offerings. On the flip side, I was delighted to discover the charm of Mumbai's small roadside shops, the unpredictability of its weather (with a penchant for sudden downpours), and the admirable discipline exhibited by its residents. It was fascinating to witness everyone's professionalism, their punctuality, the orderly queues for buses and trains, their strict adherence to traffic signals, and the fact that every auto-rickshaw driver charged based on the meter. In my home state of Tamil Nadu, I had never witnessed such a consistent adherence to fare meters among auto-rickshaws.

Day 1 at GFF

At the Global Fintech Fest 2023 in Mumbai, we had the privilege of listening to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's insightful inaugural address. She emphasized the transformative power of fintech in India's financial ecosystem, with demat accounts increasing exponentially from 4.1 crore to 10 crore in just three years. The growth of mutual funds and SIPs was celebrated as tools for wealth generation, even beyond the top 30 cities. Minister Sitharaman stressed the importance of global cooperation in regulating cryptocurrencies and urged banks to promote customer heir nominations to reduce unclaimed money. Notably, tax filing has surged across income brackets, highlighting increased compliance and strengthening the country's financial infrastructure. Overall, the event highlighted India's dynamic approach to financial innovation and inclusion on both domestic and global fronts.

The RBI Governor Mr. Shaktikanta Das delivered a compelling message. He urged fintech companies to prioritize customer satisfaction over revenue and valuations, emphasizing the link between customer trust and business success. Governor Das stressed the need for governance and self-regulation in the fintech industry, ensuring responsible conduct. He highlighted the importance of a customer-centric approach to innovation, cybersecurity, and ethical digital lending. The Governor projected a promising future for Indian fintech, with an expected $200 billion in revenue by 2030. His address also showcased India's digital prowess, including the innovative Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and plans to display its digital public infrastructure at the G20 Summit. The event concluded with the launch of new fintech products, marking an eventful and insightful gathering.

Day 2 at GFF

The first day of GFF'23 was predominantly dedicated to pre-scheduled meetings at GFF, leaving us eager to dive deeper into the GFF experience on Day 2 and Day 3. Saurabh was a banker for more than 10 years, briefly working at YES Bank. As you may know, in our country, many startups have hired bankers that worked at Yes Bank at some point in their careers. So, at the start of our first day at GFF'23, many YES Bank employees or former employees were in attendance. Randomly, people would come and shake hands with Saurabh, pat his back and say Hi, or join in a conversation and give him a hug. I (Sathya) waited in the corner for Saurabh to introduce me, and after two or three conversations, I was able to ask them if they were also part of YES Bank, and the answer was always a cheerful 'Yes' πŸ˜ƒ.

We met a bunch of fintech founders whom we had met and chatted with over video calls. Towards the end of the day, we had an extended conversation with a YC-backed startup founding member until 11 pm at the Jio World Center. We were the only three people left in the building, with a couple of support staff preparing for the next day.

Day 3 at GFF

The first order of business on Day 3 was our pitch session in front of 40+ VCs, as mentioned earlier. We didn't have time to prepare or practice our pitch. We arrived at the spot on time and waited for our turn. We had 7 minutes to pitch and 3 minutes for Q&A. It went well, and we would only learn the results in a few days or weeks, as it wasn't a Shark Tank-style event πŸ˜„. The VCs interested in our startup would reach out to us via email after the event.

Meeting with the RBI and NPCI Team

The highlight of our Day 3 was meeting with the RBI and NPCI teams.

You might be wondering about the purpose behind these meetings.

As passionate product builders, we always look for problems to solve. One problem we encountered firsthand, and which many bankers face daily, is the struggle to find the right RBI circulars for their daily operations. Thus, the RBI AI was born as a passion project from the Bulkpe Team.

What we did was straightforward: we scraped all the RBI circulars from 1998 to 2023 from the RBI website. It was a bit tricky because RBI uses .net technology to create and maintain their websites, making it challenging to scrape using conventional tools. After spending considerable time exploring options, we discovered a pattern in the website addresses for each circular, following an incremental value. So, we wrote a script to scrape all 18,000 circulars and notifications released by the RBI.

We experimented with various AI models and eventually settled on a question and answer model. We hosted the data in a vector DB and the AI model on an Indian server (as required by RBI) and created a frontend web application. Thus, http://ai.bulkpe.in/ went live.

Back to GFF, where we met RBI officials

We met several RBI representatives, and they all listened to us and learned about the product. Mr. Ananth Kumar, Head of Payments, TVS Electronics then introduced us to Ms. Karpagam. When we approached her and gave a brief introduction, she immediately asked us to take a seats showing great interest. We explained the product and why we created it, and she was genuinely interested after trying the product. Similar conversations took place with NPCI representatives, where we discussed training our AI model with NPCI circulars. Our request was to bring RBI AI to the wider public with the help of RBI. We hope it happens soon.

Ending Day 3

We met our valuable partners from Axis Bank, Fino Bank, NSDL Bank, and a couple of potential future partners. We had discussions about the fintech landscape, what's new and as always some gossip.

Takeaway from GFF'23

We weren't seeking quantitative results but rather qualitative relationships with people in fintech industry, and we believe it was fantastic to connect with so many people at GFF. We look forward to attend next year as well.