Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

FIA Technology Services Pvt. Ltd.

What is the name of your solution?

Robo Advisory Mutual Funds Innovation

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Leveraging technology in low financial literacy and low bandwidth settings to serve the underserved and unserved with access & decision-making for better wealth creation that will enable them to withstand financial shocks and eventually lead to financial inclusion and improve their quality of life.

Film your elevator pitch.

What specific problem are you solving?

Problem: There is lack of easy and convenient access to credit and financial products and services around the world. Lack of access leads to several challenges for the economies of nations, including wealth creation, entrepreneurship, job creation, education, health, nutrition and other auxiliary factors.

a) No access to credit, no access to money – no access to money can be a limiting factor to take loans for education, starting a business, or even protection of life or medical exigencies.

b) No bank account/ inoperative bank account – underutilization of a financial service that could lead to better money management. Having an operative bank account is an important eligibility factor when accessing credit.

c) Traditional banks lack agility creating a vacuum of banking services – traditional banking systems are constrained to set up brick & mortar branches in remote districts, therefore lack of reach, convenience and ease of use leads to millions remaining unbanked.

d) Demographic challenges – low levels of literacy, low internet connectivity, female mobility (they do not or cannot travel long distances to operate a physical bank account), and a migrant and unorganized population who are poor.

The Global Challenge: The global unbanked population is approx.1.7 billion people. In India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, there are 250 million people unbanked and 150 million credit-worthy untapped. As per World Bank’s Global Findex 2021, India alone has nearly 190 million people who lack a bank account with 22% lacking an account in any financial institution. Across banks, INR 267 billion (USD 336 billion) have been lying in around 90 million dormant accounts for more than 10 years, as of December 2020.

What does this mean? It means that there is an immediate and urgent need to create and expand inclusive financial systems and make them easily accessible and affordable, especially via digital access.

FIA’s solution of transformation through inclusion: FIA brings credit access and financial inclusion to those who are unserved or underserved in geographies through technology and human agent network and collaboration. FIA helps individuals and communities especially women, that eventually results in better education, nutrition, gender parity and overall healthier and better societies.

a) Creating access – by helping set up remote banking outlets in partnership with banks, FIA brings access closer to where the customer is.

b) Creating financial awareness – through its Business Correspondent network of agents, FIA promotes financial awareness and helps local communities build trust, leading to ease of communication and resulting in opening bank accounts and leverage other financial services.

c) Working with Self Help Groups – by collaborating with several local communities to form Self Help Groups, FIA helps in improving linkage and administration processes, creating a sustainable cycle of financial inclusion.

d) Powering technology for good – with its FINVESTA platform, FIA is leveraging Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning to create convenience, ease of use and safe and secure solutioning platforms in low literacy and low bandwidth settings, that foster trust and bring in thousands of customers under it fold.  

What is your solution?

FIA provides a 2-pronged solution - people-oriented and technology driven. FIA also partners with financial institutions and governments to help setup banking outlets in remote areas.

1) Business Correspondents: With its Business Correspondents (agents) network, FIA helps mitigate the ‘last mile’ distribution challenge of financial services. Business Correspondents are recruited from local communities, especially women, as they garner greater trust from other women in the communities they serve, since financial literacy is low and there’s usually a trust deficit that BCs have to combat.

FIA’s BCs either set up a mobile kiosk and use a laptop loaded with FIA’s tech platform to provide a range of banking services: from bank account opening, money withdrawals, bank transfers, passbook updates, bank account statement, and also advising and promoting the benefits of Government schemes, Social Security Schemes and more.

In addition, FIA collaborates with several local communities to form Self Help Groups, working on improving linkage and administration processes, while helping banks with EMI collections, NPA recoveries, distribution of Government subsidies and direct benefits transfer (DBT) and social security schemes (SSS).

2) Technology enabled – leveraging the vast (more than 10,000) agent network, FIA enables banking and other financial services through FINVESTA, its one-stop app thus providing the high touch, high tech last mile distribution that is usually missing. With this, FIA’s BCs through a well-developed hierarchical system consisting of Customer Service Points, Distributors, State Heads and more, help bring the bank to the people and also enrol them in Govt schemes such be it a pension scheme, a loan scheme or a simple bank account opening scheme.

FINVESTA is a comprehensive one stop solution for all banking services including: remittance (both inward and outward), loans including gold loans, payments, fund transfers by IMPS, availing of credit cards, Insurance such as Life, Health, agricultural, livestock, motor, crop, property, utility payments such as cooking gas, electricity, mobile recharge, and Govt services such as GST, PAN Card, FastTag and more.

We leverage tiny transactions and big data to implement AI and Machine Learning algorithms for enhanced customer service, optimized operations, and fraud detection.

Technology- Machine Learning, Cognitive AI Solutions, Facial Recognition & Imaging, Image Classifications, Financial Optimization, Natural Language Processing and Customer Profiling, our team brings actionable insights to complex data in discrete distributed systems.

1) Facial Recognition & Imaging can be used for fraud detection and prevention / early detection of fraud. 

2) Credit Scoring - Natural Language Processing and Customer Profiling can be used in Scoring engines for enabling a more robust risk profile, and progressive agent onboarding, or assessing the financial health of customers interested in taking a loan.

3) Credit Disbursal Amount: An alternative credit-worthiness score to traditional scores from credit bureaus that facilitate a holistic digital lending solution for MSMEs leveraging data & analytics algorithms.

4) Risk Modelling:  Identifying fraud and risk in the BC business including but not limited to the transaction through splitting and round tripping.

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

FIA makes our services available, understandable, and affordable by integrating our vast agent network with a digital platform which opens up a large market segment.

The primary target group are low-income individuals from vulnerable households and groups traditionally excluded from the formal financial sector, MSMEs, and Financial Institutions.

FINVESTA is an AI-powered super app, that aggregates, designs, and delivers sachet financial products to low-income customers by integrating our vast agent network with a digital platform. It solves for low smartphone ownership, is automated end-to-end. It’s paperless, affordable, can be accessed by people in remote geographies.


FIA’s solution solves for:

a) Cost/ Affordability

  • An assisted neobank with no physical offices thus reducing infrastructure costs and related expenses.
  • Cross- selling our expanding financial services to our customer base (37Mn clients) thus keeping the marginal cost of enrolment very low.
  • End-to-end automated paperless digital customer fulfilment process, using video and biometric authentication.

b) Accessibility:

  • FIA has established an extensive and trusted network of 25,000+ Bank Mitras or Bank Sakhis are enabling our ‘last mile financial service distribution’. They educate customers on financial products and assist with transactions and often provide doorstep facility.
  • FIA also has the largest female banking agent network (18% of total) in India, specifically catering to women, youth, minorities, and elderly.
  • Partnerships and Collaborations:  Through FIA’s network of 350+ financial institutions and NGO partners we have been tapping the often ignored and remote unserviceable markets.

c) Customization:

  • Catering to low-income groups: Using human-centric design principles FIA customizes it products, catering to clients with limited or sporadic incomes. For example, mini- investment options and variable instalments to address uneven cash flows and liquidity constraints.
  • Inadequate knowledge and low/zero literacy rates: FINVEST is an AI-powered financial service platform is easy-to-use and designed for low-literacy settings which can be downloaded by agents and/or directly by customers to access a range of services: savings accounts; cash withdrawals/deposits; fund transfers; remittances; investments, insurance (vehicle, livestock, life), medical insurance (including COVID-19 coverage); working capital loans; government payments, bill payments, loan collections and doorstep cash delivery.
  • End-to-end automated paperless digital customer fulfilment process, using video and biometric authentication.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

FIA is founded by Seema Prem, whose avowed purpose is to bring to fruition the idea of financial inclusion. Born to an Armed Forces family, Seema has travelled the length and breadth of India and observed at close quarters, the customer segment that her solutions target.

She’s constantly traveling, listening, observing, discussing and passing on those observations to her team of dedicated, loyal and committed people. Her astute observations are also tinged with her own experience with technology; prior to establishing FIA, Seema has managed transformation programs in IT, Mobility and Operations, in the US, Europe & India.

Her education in Management and a Sloan Fellows MBA from MIT's Sloan School of Management, gives her the unique advantage of being a hands-on and experienced technology advocate combining business management skills.

Seem has built a team of people, tied up with 350+ community partners in 45,000 villages in India and has a network of Business Correspondents who are recruited from local communities, as it gives them the advantage of knowing the people, their pain points and the language, which helps them promote financial service offerings and its benefits much easier.

Given that at least 25% of the target segment are women, FIA has more than 10,000 Bank mitras (friends) of which 18% are women, working in dispersed geographies, and with whose help more than 60+ million customers are banked.

Seema has Biju Balakrishnan, the CTO, helming the Technology development and design of FIA’s platform solutions.  His prior experience as the Group Technology Officer of Amber Group, a technology conglomerate with operations in 25 countries, gives him the technology edge and vision for designing the technology roadmap for the organization and setting up scalable platforms of the future.

The Chief Sales Officer is Ajay Kodumagulla, a proven leader who comes with an excellent track record in driving growth, new business development and market expansion.  His stint as an e-commerce entrepreneur has given him the remarkable ability to sense market opportunities and also has proven success in managing long-lasting partnerships with key stakeholders to achieve sales targets. Adept at creating new business strategies to deliver revenue growth across multiple territories.

In addition to these key leaders, FIA’s sales officers and BCs are the foot soldiers with their ears close to the ground. With over 10,000 field agents/ BCs, their inputs on the market realities, the customer experience and the real-time challenges are actionable insights. These are then baked into the app to create a more robust, comprehensive and scalable app. It is these on-the-ground experiences that led to mitigating security challenges with biometric and facial recognition of agents.

Constant sweeping of the landscape door-to-door by agents has led to a solid inventory of Do’s and Don’ts that FIA leverages through their calendarized meetings at various levels which gives them insights into what is working, areas of improvement and how to evangelise features within the agent network that will then have a positive impact on the end-user.

Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Provide new ways to accurately assess credit-worthiness of MSMEs and individuals, including methods that reduce bias against borrowers who have traditionally lacked equitable access to credit

In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Gurgaon, State of Haryana

In what country is your solution team headquartered?

  • India

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Scale: A sustainable enterprise working in several communities or countries that is focused on increased efficiency

How many people does your solution currently serve?

75+ million customers spread across India and Nepal, and to some extent in the Middle East and Bangladesh. 

Why are you applying to Solve?

FIA is at an inflection point of scale. It has established itself as a social impact leader in a highly competitive fintech market. It has a growing outreach network, expanded base of operations and continues to partner with an increasing number of banks, NBFCs, and Govt. organizations to bring more underserved people under the financial inclusion umbrella with its tech-powered solution, FINVESTA.

Scale, marketing, development and strategic growth can always do more with additional expertise and experienced resources. With Solve, FIA can hope to gain access to the elite team social impact leaders who can advise, guide and mentor our journey forward.

In order to scale, our organization would be well served by an international community of peers and our access to a cross-section of leaders from across industries, would help us understand how to:

  1. Get better throughput for all our services
  2. Get steer our technology roadmap
  3. Create a better digital footprint for better marketing outcomes
  4. Gain better media exposure in seminars
  5. Utilise our data intelligence to build an even better app

Currently, while FIA is profitable, we would like to learn:

  • Expenditure and cashflow management – how do we allocate our financial resources to marketing, and IT for better throughput on our services and solutions
  • How do we maximize our regional presence through external events – which ones would be good to enter, why, etc.
  • The art of PR with insightful marketing and digital PR strategies that would help FIA gain a further market share
  •  Optimally use best practices of service distribution in a heterogenous and diverse country like India.

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Monitoring & Evaluation (e.g. collecting/using data, measuring impact)
  • Product / Service Distribution (e.g. delivery, logistics, expanding client base)
  • Public Relations (e.g. branding/marketing strategy, social and global media)
  • Technology (e.g. software or hardware, web development/design)

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Seema Prem, Co-founder & CEO

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Firstly, FIA’s technology-powered platform is meant to solve for reach, low literacy and low bandwidth settings and is gender inclusive. FIA’s gender focused supply chain approach eliminates barriers that keep women clients away. FIA has:

  • The largest female banking agent network in India providing doorstep banking service to women, the elderly and children
  • An alternate credit score solution that empowers women to develop a financial identity even with their household savings, and helps them get access to formal credit for gainful occupation, giving them economic freedom and power
  • A robo-advisory engine which helps women to quickly save money in high return products in a few clicks

FIA’s robo-advisory platform is also geared to help entrepreneurs and enables women customers take an informed financial decision for herself. A digital journey that starts with basic banking and regular savings, moves through bill payments government transfers, institutional credits, crossing critical milestones of creating a comprehensive financial safety net, assisted and hand-held by a channel of women entrepreneurs.

For example, FIA designed savings products to meet the need for tiny investment options and variable instalments given client’s uneven cash flows and liquidity constraints. FIA’s target markets are considered unattractive by our partners because conventional outreach programs are expensive. FIA makes our services available, understandable, and affordable through our innovation of integrating our vast agent network with a digital platform which opens up a large market segment. It also solves the issue of low rates of smartphone ownership. FIA's end-to-end automated, paperless digital customer fulfilment process brings down the cost of customer acquisition and servicing. This makes FIA's operations and services extremely cost effective and we pass on our economies of automation and scale to customers making our services affordable to them

Market changes can be brought about because women can be financially independent and have a chance to progress towards meaningful financially included lives with knowledge and access to a complete set of tools and products ranging from credit, investment and protection and digital payments at their doorstep. 

FIA’s installed base of 60+ million customers in India (with 8 million banked women customers + additional 7 million walk-in women customers) gives us an opportunity to ensure access and adoption of complex products to a large number of women. 

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

FIA’s target markets are financially excluded population in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Even with new market entry into Bangladesh, we will focus on achieving unit economic profitability within 1 year of commencing business.

FIA has quadrupled its current revenues and also improved its operating margins YoY. FIA will show 30% YoY revenue growth and increase its operating profitability. 

Our 2025 goals: is 1 million jobs. $10 billion in cash digitized daily. 100 million customers.

Our 5-year goals:


  • 5,000 additional banking centers run by women banking agents.
  • Open 1,000,000 women bank accounts.
  • Offer loans to 100,000 women out of which 25,000 women farmers ~ 1% of women customer base.
  • Enroll 100,000 women in savings & investment products ~ 1% of women customer base.
  • Extend social security scheme (Pension & Micro insurance) to 200,000 women ~ 2% of women customer base.
  • Extend direct benefit transfers to 250,000 women (old age pension, widow pension, student scholarships, National rural employment guarantee) to 100,000 elderly, 50,000 widows, 75,000 girl students and 75,000 women workers)


  • 1,000 Nepal Outward Remittance centers, (40% of centers will be run by women)
  • 100,000 outward remittance transactions per month at the end of 5 years
  • 500,000 unique customers sending money to Nepal.
  • 500,000 Bank accounts (provided regulations permit facilitation of Nepalese bank accounts in India).


  • 1,000 women-led Inclusion Centers in 5 years.
  • Provide basic banking to 100,000 women across 5 districts.
  • Enabling 50,000 women for Direct Benefit Transfers.
  • Agents to earn > US$50 per month in 5 years.


Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 3. Good Health and Well-being
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • 10. Reduced Inequalities
  • 17. Partnerships for the Goals

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

Impact Evaluation:

  • Access
    • # of countries, states/provinces, districts, urban wards/villages covered
    • # of banked customers, # of unbanked women covered
    • Volume and value of transactions: deposits, withdrawals, savings accounts opened
    • # of loans disbursed, # of jobs created from the micro-entrepreneurial activity
    • # of customers enrolled in savings & investment products and % increase in wealth from these investments
    • # of customers including women receiving direct benefit transfers (old age pension, widow pension, student scholarships, National rural employment guarantee) India
    • Technology – Response time of server, Network downtime, average time for transactions
  • Usage  
    • # of active customers / transactions per customer / accounts and active accounts per household, remittance trends and patterns, seasonality of deposits, Inclusion agent commission trends
    • Compliance - risk related findings like non-compliances, excess charge to customers, # of requests for relaxation in current minimum requirements for bank accounts
    • Financial literacy / Consumer protection metrics
    • Bank Income from FI / FI advances and deposits per bank branch as a % of overall metrics, net profit from FI per branch, Loans per 1000 people, Average size of loan to FI customers, Advances /deposit ratio to FI customers
  • Welfare
    • % of women run banking centers 
    • % of people banked
    • # of Agents Earning > 50$ a month
    • Average deposit base / Interest earned per customer, Average size of deposits.
  • Economic indicators
    • businesses growth indicators
    • % of cash-less transactions,
  • GDP impact due to inclusion of unbanked in the formal economy


What is your theory of change?


Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

We leverage tiny transactions and big data to implement AI and Machine Learning algorithms for enhanced customer service, optimized operations, and fraud detection.

From Machine Learning, Cognitive AI Solutions, Facial Recognition & Imaging, Image Classifications, Financial Optimization, Natural Language Processing and Customer Profiling, our team brings actionable insights to complex data in discrete distributed systems.

Credit Scoring / Credit Disbursal Amount: FIA aimed to build alternative credit worthiness score to traditional scores from credit bureau to facilitate complete digital lending solution for MSMEs leveraging data & analytics algorithms.

Risk Modelling: The Model for identifying fraud and risk in the BC business including but not limited to the transaction splitting and round tripping.

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
  • Imaging and Sensor Technology
  • Software and Mobile Applications

In which countries do you currently operate?

  • India
  • Nepal

In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Nepal
Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models

How many people work on your solution team?

Approx. 30 people

How long have you been working on your solution?

For over 2 years, since 2019.

What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

We are an equal opportunity employer and it has been our endeavor to ensure that we hire more women to add to our workforce.

Given that our Co-founder & CEO is a woman, we are very empowered as an organization to recruit female talent for business enablement. In fact, our deliberate focus to hire women to strengthen our workforce has helped us increase the number of female employees from 12% to 15% between April 2021 to April 2022.

As we continue to make inroads in our hiring policies to make it more inclusive, we are also focusing on sensitizing our recruitment staff through training, such as the one organized by UNWEP on Bias free hiring.

We are in the process of formulating practices and policies that will enable our women employees in pursuing a career and not just a job by providing Learning and Development opportunities that are competency mapped.

  • Providing Learning & Development opportunities for our women employees as part of Talent Management practices.
  • Hiring women candidates for business enablement function which has helped us increase the number of female employees by 12% between April 2021 to April 2022
  • Provisioned for Head of HR to attend Training programs that are organized by UNWEP on bias-free hiring
  • Providing for Maternity and Paternity Leave for men and women
  • Providing for period leave – at least 1 day per month, 12 leaves annually for women
Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?


While the market in India is competitive, FIA has near exclusivity in most rural markets. Our 40 million customer base helps us cross-sell other financial services at very low incremental cost. 

  • BANK CORRESPONDENTS like Atyati and Integra (agent model), CREDIT BCs, like Basix and Payment Banks like FINO offer limited products in branch-based model
  • FIA offers full range of financial services and wider coverage, including remote areas at 40% lower cost.


Muthoot Group, SBI-Nepal Express Remit follows a branch-based model and their coverage is limited to cities. FIA agents (in India) are from Nepalese communities eliminating language/cultural barriers.


None of the current mobile financial service providers offers what FIA does - a large range of financial services accessible through an agent network. Although mobile financial services lead to increases in financial transactions, they do not lead to meaningful financial inclusion. This has led to high unbanked populations (68%) despite these providers being operational over a decade. FIA’s target market is rural and remote regions, whereas competitors are mainly urban focused.

  • Bangladesh Post Office (PO), D Money Bangladesh, Daraz, offers digital payments via apps.
  • bKash offers mobile financial services via agents/apps.

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Organizations (B2B)

What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?

Financial sustainability with our revenue model:

a)Banking partner fees for every transaction that happens in FIA outlets which includes an enrolment fee and fees for every transaction. 

b)FIA’s financial institution partners also offset marketing costs for conducting financial literacy and product training programs.

c)FIA’s centers are located in underserved areas which gives FIA near exclusivity. This ensures consistent footfalls at our centers ensuring steady, recurring revenue. 

d)FIA’s vast distribution network and growing base of customers makes us very attractive to new financial service providers. This enables FIA to pump new products through its network, and customer acquisition costs increases only marginally, it automatically creates greater efficiencies of service.

e)FIA’s existing banking partners also see us as a strategic, outsourced extension of their operations and they enter into multiple agreements which ensures growing revenues, sticky relationships and brand loyalty.

f)FIA also charges a one-time subscription fee to our agents for using our platform. 

g)The potential for monetizing FINVESTA, FIA’s digital banking platform by charging a nominal recurring fee for its use from our last mile customers will be one of our biggest differentiators.  

Share some examples of how your plan to achieve financial sustainability has been successful so far.

FIA is the recipient of two grants World Bank and the Millennium Alliance (a consortium of Indian Government, USAID, DFID) totaling US$250,000.

Other than this funding, FIA started as a bootstrapped/ self-funded venture and has been profitable since inception.

If we receive any further funding, we aim to utilize the funds to:

a) Improve our PR and media strategy

b) Invest in our IT development to strengthen our one-stop app FINVESTA

c) Continue to recruit more on-field agents for enhancing our presence in India, Nepal and Bangladesh

Solution Team

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