HDFC Bank launches SmartUp zones to nur­ture, col­lab­o­rate with start-ups

Will of­fer bank­ing, ad­vi­sory so­lu­tions to en­trepreneurs

The Hindu Business Line - - BANKING - KR SRIVATS

HDFC Bank wants to be­come the ‘Go To’ bank and pre­ferred banker for the start-up com­mu­nity in the coun­try, a top ex­ec­u­tive of the pri­vate sec­tor bank said.

To­wards this end, HDFC Bank on Thurs­day an­nounced the launch of SmartUp zones in its branches across In­dia.

“We have now com­pletely re­vamped our of­fer­ing for start-ups. Our aim is to be­come the Go-to Bank and pre­ferred banker in the start-ups com­mu­nity. Num­bers will follow,” Smita Bha­gat, Se­nior Ex­ec­u­tive Vice-Pres­i­dent and Head of E-Com­merce and Branch Bank­ing, HDFC Bank, told Busi­nessLine in an in­ter­view here.

She said HDFC Bank, which is al­ready en­gaged with 150 start-ups, wants to “nur­ture” in­no­vate and col­lab­o­rate with more start-ups, es­pe­cially in in­te­rior In­dia where there is an emerg­ing start-up ecosys­tem.

“Our econ­omy will grow Smita Bha­gat, Se­nior Ex­ec­u­tive Vice-Pres­i­dent

only if you help the start-ups. We want to grow with them. Of course, fail­ures will be there. We should ac­cept fail­ures and try to ad­dress their prob­lems.”

Ex­clu­sive area

A SmartUp Zone is an ex­clu­sive area in­side the branch ded­i­cated to start-ups. In the first phase, SmartUp zones will be launched in over 65 branches in 30 cities in­clud­ing Tier-2 and-3 cities that are emerg­ing as start-up hubs.

Through these zones, spe­cially trained bank staff will of­fer tailor-made bank­ing and ad­vi­sory so­lu­tions to en­trepreneurs.

Re­vamped of­fer­ing

Two-and-a-half years ago, HDFC Bank had started en­gag­ing with Start-ups through a prod­uct called ‘Smartup’, pro­vid­ing vanilla bank­ing prod­ucts and free­bies. Now, it has added a num­ber of val­ueadded ser­vices like SmartUp por­tal, ad­vanced le­gal ad­vi­sories, and in­dus­try-academia in­ter­ac­tion, among oth­ers.

Through a Smartup por­tal, start-ups will be able to tap into the knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence of a com­plete net­work of start-ups while si­mul­ta­ne­ously of­fer­ing their ser­vices to this uni­verse.

Start-ups will also have ac­cess to HDFC Bank’s SmartBuy plat­form, which al­lows them to mar­ket their prod­uct to the gen­eral public. They will be able to show­case their prod­ucts to over 40 mil­lion HDFC Bank cus­tomers.

HDFC Bank is look­ing to tackle spe­cific pain points of the start-ups com­mu­nity. For in­stance, the pri­vate sec­tor bank is look­ing to help them to de­mat their un­listed shares so that ex­its be­come easy for in­vestors.

“We iden­ti­fied this as a very big pain area for start-ups and so are help­ing them out. Our SmartUp zones will pro­vide end-to-end so­lu­tions for start-ups,” she said.

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