HDFC Bank launches SmartUp zones to nurture, collaborate with start-ups
Will offer banking, advisory solutions to entrepreneurs
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.”
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.
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.