Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

Peabody Soft Pvt Ltd

What is the name of your solution?


Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

MeraBills is a free-for-user, simple mobile application designed for women micro-entrepreneurs that serves all management needs of a small business.

Film your elevator pitch.

What specific problem are you solving?

Financial access remains the biggest challenge to aspiring entrepreneurship. Low-income women experience reduced financial capabilities often due to social, structural, normative barriers as follows:

  • Systemic Barriers prevent womenpreneurs from fair and equitable access to markets – both financial and commercial
  • Social Norms do not respect enough her entrepreneurship potential, and consequently reduces her autonomy on financial and business decision making
  • Capacity Limitations, especially in understanding technology, finance and the gig economy further reinforce the systemic and social prejudices against her
  • Behavioral Constraints result in undermining her confidence. The Markets are designed on male centric cues/ nudges like FOMO, intimidation, first-to-the-post, and privilege, that are not best-fit to their requirements.

Even financial institutes that support women, like MFIs, build their lending model on women’s lack of collateral, thus accommodating and reinforcing norms around asset ownership and men’s roles as heads of household. Available resources are not designed to support their specific needs (e.g. balancing household work, social and time-constraints). It constricts the types of financial services they can engage, often limited to playing supporting unpaid/underpaid roles or running small home operations that do not allow for an accumulation of wealth, access to expanded credit, or exposure to new skills.

This results in women regularly feeling disempowered, demotivated and lacking support structures to be truly enterprising, and lacking a level playing field to aspire entrepreneurship. There are 8 million women registered women entrepreneurs, 850k women-owned MSMEs, and over 10 million all women Self-Help Groups in India, with an estimated 23 million formal and informal entrepreneurs that are impacted as such.

The Reserve Bank of India Report of Working Group on Rehabilitation of Sick SMEs (2019) finds lack of managerial competency as one of the key reasons for failure of women microenterprise. Hence there is a strong need for innovative solutions to support microenterprises in managing and growing their businesses, that are designed to meet them at their level of needs, comfort and solution delivery. At present, there are no business management solutions in the market that are designed for this category of users, or that are able to deliver fair and transparent service provision to them.

Therefore, we dream of a world where our technology can help every small women business derive a profitable and sustainable livelihood from their business. Our vision is to facilitate Digital Financial Equity for small women entrepreneurs which is truly transformational in the advantages it offers for them to build more resilience, sustainability and growth opportunities for their livelihoods.

We want to democratize business efficiency by making world-class software available solution for fulfilling business management needs of low-income, micro-entrepreneurs (especially underserved women) who are first time users of financial technology.  We want to build the most user friendly, robust and affordable business tools and delivering them in local languages via channels of digital financial literacy, training and handholding. 

What is your solution?

MeraBills is designed as a small business-centric enterprise management application offering a complete app-based business solution for all business management needs of a microenterprise, including:

  • Bookkeeping: To record and manage all sales, expenditures and payments, investments, withdrawals, as well as reconciliations of the same.    
  • Business Engagement:  Creating and managing list of customers and vendors, business profiles, owners and employees. Creating and sending invoice, receipts and payment reminders to customers. Creating and managing stock and inventory, linked to sales and expenditure.
  • Marketing: Creating a virtual storefront, including business profile and digital catalogue of goods/services, and with option to share the same over SMS and WhatsApp.
  • Business Insights: Periodic summaries of key financial metrics (income, expense, profit) as well as deeper insight reports (income vs. expenses, profit vs. revenue, top expenditure items etc.). Also the ability to generate formal Profit & Loss Statement statements.

MeraBills is Android based, with full offline capabilities using local SQLite database, Google Firebase authentication, and automated sync and backup to Microsoft Azure SQL cloud DB. Its analytics engine is backed by Google Cloud BigQuery.

How our design think is oriented for the underserved and vulnerable?

  • All features are free to use
  • Simple UI/UX to help first time users of technology
  • Language customization (11 Indian languages and counting)
  • Ability to work on low-caliber smart phones
  • Works in offline mode, and with intermittent network availability

How our design think has gender intentionality?

  • Onboarding is training-led, as we understand that digital financial equity requires walking the journey with the women. Therefore, MeraBills creates a customized training curriculum and handholding support program in collaboration with grassroot organizations that increases stickiness of adoption of the app by first improving the user’s financial and digital capacities. In the long term, it helps the women entrepreneurs navigate financial choices with confidence, seeing themselves and being seen, as financial clients.
  • App supports a differentiated engagement based on needs of the user, and hence can accommodate the requirements of a wide spectrum of businesses without overwhelming/intimidating users, from a roadside pottery seller to an urban beautician with a home-based salon.
  • Being wholly social impacted oriented, we do not have offer captive/monopolized financial offerings to our users, and hence avoid any predatory practices detrimental user’s long-term sustainability.

We also offer Digital Dashboards to our social partners for real-time impact measurement of programs on key aspects of business performance like volume of transactions, sales (total and by product et al), expenditure mix etc.,

Our approach is to be a SASSI model (Software-As-a-Service-for-Social Impact), where we can become the trusted digital empowerment partner for anyone working for women businesses empowerment in the Global South.


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

MeraBills is meant for all micropreneurs, especially women-run small businesses that have a requirement to keep a record of their business and are looking for ways to connect and engage with the digital economy. These include:

  • Nano and solo entrepreneurs with small home or kiosk based operations like tailors, beauticians, artisans
  • Micro and small enterprises in businesses like handlooms, agri-products, general stores, crafts, catering etc.,  
  • Women collective enterprises under Self-Help Groups (SHGs), Cooperatives, Farmer Producer Companies etc.,

Despite significant efforts in the last decade to create a better environment for such women entrepreneurs, they experience far greater challenges than men as follows:

  • Business dwarfism: Their businesses fail to grow beyond their localities. With limited customers and products in over-saturated local markets, they face unsustainable margins and large DSOs.
  • Perennial credit crunch: Due to lack of collateral, reputation and norms, their access to capital is limited, not timely and often exploitative, which hampers their growth.
  • Overburdened: With expectation to balance responsibilities at both home and at business, and with any surplus channeled into family requirements over business reinvestment, women are too overburdened to be aspirational.
  • Underconfident: Resultantly, facing such business uncertainties and limited market and credit linkages, they tend to become non-competitive, close down, which further reinforces negative norms regarding their business worthiness.

As a result, women are being seen as problems needing a solution, not solutions to existing problems. MeraBills is designed as a women-user centric solution, that helps them create a credible digital financial footprint of their business. The information hence generated, facilitates the following:

  • Helps improve management of business operations to generate better control over resources like stock, receivables and expenses
  • Improves customer engagement by unlocking digital sales channels and improved transaction experience
  • Provides insights on business performance, that facilitates informed decision making and optimization of resource use
  • Solves for information asymmetry, producing the right signaling effects and proxy indicators of business-worthiness that enables greater access to credit and markets

Additionally for women entrepreneurs, digital bookkeeping and business management enhances their privacy, reduces their mobility barriers, and helps them interact digitally (and hence with less reservations) with their supply-chain, debtors, creditors and customers, which in turn increases their self-efficacy, self-worth and confidence.

We also create the requisite support systems for update of the app, as multi-layered offerings, comprising of trainers and peer support, self-learning and simple troubleshooting resources. The training is based on a graduated curriculum (training ladder), that allows the flexibility for the trainee to learn at their own pace, with option to progress from being basic to intermediate to advanced user of the application based on their performance and willingness.

The training collateral for the graduated curriculum is created using elements of storytelling, visual-centric content, contextualized to local sensibilities, and with gamification via quizzes and trainee exercises, in order to make it engaging. Delivery of our training uses a hybrid model, with a mix of in-person workshops, group and one-to-one sessions, and supplementary digital learning resources. 

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

We are a small, yet diverse team of four people dedicated to the idea that our solution can be used to create meaningful impact in the lives of women microentrepreneurs in the Global South.

The CEO and Team Lead, Piya Bahadur, found the inspiration to start MeraBills when she undertook an all-women motorcycle expedition across South-East Asia, traversing over 18,000 kilometres through seven countries. While the original intent of the expedition was to provide inspiration to women adventure-seekers, Piya discovered the lives and livelihoods of scores of women she met in her journey, who were running small-businesses that ranged from roadside tea stalls, to general stores, agri-producers to even bike mechanics.

These women came from the remotest corners of India, as well as from the villages and hamlets of Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. The digital revolution had already brought to them the promise of cellphones, internet, e-banking and social media. While powerful tools in themselves, Piya understood that they could be truly revolutionary, if applied to manage and support their livelihoods. Such technology for business held the potential to be the true harbinger of social equity for women entrepreneurs.

She found the right partner and cofounder in Sunita Srivastava, a 25 year veteran of Microsoft, who was looking to create social value with her experience. Together, with help of trusted advisors, they managed to develop the application in-house, and as such, allowing for the application to be given free to the end user while at the same time ensuring the application was built to the highest standards of enterprise security, scalability and service.

The Chief Business Officer, Saumya Jain, as the first hire in the leadership, brought in over a decade of consulting experience in international development and social impact, deemed critical to forge partnerships with actors from the government, philanthropy, corporate governance and donor agencies that were to serve as the growth engine for our financial model. His prior field experience of 14 developing countries in working with government and social development actors, structuring multi-million-dollar Gender Bonds, and creating livelihood support programs for 100,000 women entrepreneurs helps keep MeraBills’ theory of change aligned to meaningful impact.

The Financial Inclusion Lead, Pavana M., is an expert in micro-credit enablement, which we consider as the crucial forward linkage for digitized businesses. Having set-up microfinance operations for a lead credit organization for 900,000 women borrowers with USD 160 million disbursals, she understands the data gap that MeraBills can bridge via digital bookkeeping to unlock low-cost credit for the women-owned businesses.

Together, we have taken MeraBills to the very heart of rural India, training over 18,000 women. We have forged partnerships with credible social development sector partners like the World Bank, GIZ, Women’s World Banking, APMAS, Chaitanya, SEWA, Samhita, Buzz Women, DEF and TISSER. We have surveyed over 7,000 women to make iterative changes to our solution, and supported researchers from Oxford University in their studies on women entrepreneurship.

Our Board comprises of 100% women, while our leadership/ key management is 75% women. 

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?


In what country is your solution team headquartered?

  • India

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Pilot: An organization testing a product, service, or business model with a small number of users

How many people does your solution currently serve?

We have over 35,000 downloads of our app, with over 95% women users. 

Why are you applying to Solve?

It gives us the opportunity to join an initiative that supports creation of solutions that serve the largest underserved population group in the world – low-income women. We want to imbibe the true spirit of SDG 17- “Partnerships for the goals”, by enabling cross-sector and cross-country collaborations that are required to undertake collective action for solving the most pressing intersectional challenges for women, w.r.t to their economic well-being and social justice.

We greatly desire valuable feedback on our solution from a diverse set of experts and viewpoints to help us iteratively improve the product to make it more inclusive in its service offerings. The international exposure, visibility and avenues for funds would also enable us to improve gender-intentionality in design and offer MeraBills into other geographies, both within India and in the Global South, that are in urgent requirement for tailored solutions for aspiring small women entrepreneurs. 

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

  • Business Model (e.g. product-market fit, strategy & development)
  • 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?

Piya Bahadur, CEO

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Business management solutions traditionally have demonstrated the following characteristics:

  • They are not designed specifically for low-income entrepreneurs, and hence have a level of sophistication and problem-solve that is often incompatible with the needs and capacities of such users.
  • The services offered are either on a subscription model, or behind a paywall after a set number/ duration of free uses.
  • The application offers monopolistic value-add services like credit and other financial products, with limited or no choice, and with corresponding predatory pricing
  • There is marginal support available to the user, unless tied to a positive financial outcome for the application provider

In contrast, our approach is to operate on a SASSI model (Software-As-a-Service-for-Social Impact), where we can become the trusted digital empowerment partner for anyone working for women businesses empowerment in the Global South. Our innovative solution thus comprise the following:

  • The app is designed specifically for low-income women entrepreneurs, and hence the UI/UX is much simplified for ease of use. The app is made available in regional languages (10 so far), with contextualized translation of accounting terms per local parlance.
  • All features of the app are free-for-user with unlimited use
  • We do not offer any captive/ monopolistic services, but only attempt to create transparency of information where the user can make informed choices via market-based options.
  • We work with social impact partners like not-for-profits and social enterprises to provide training and handholding support to the users

Therefore, we endeavor to mature such first time users of technology into viable digital consumers of market-based products, via responsible digitization of their business footprint. In the process, we unlock social and market capital available to promote micro-entrepreneurship and women empowerment to fund such an approach. 

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

Our impact goal in the next 12 months are as follows:

  • Directly train and empower 50,000 women entrepreneurs into digital business management with the help of our not-for-profit implementation partners
  • Create at least five partnerships with organizations that have access to large pools of potential users ( ~ 100,00 each ) in the government and the social sector, in order to create pathways for exponential outreach
  • Embed self-learning and peer-learning options within the app, in order to make support for users self-sustaining beyond initial training and handholding

The above form the foundation for our long-term five-year goals, that include:

  • 1.5 million downloads, with 600,000 active users who would be women micro entrepreneurs from the Global South
  • Enablement of formal credit to at least ~ 10% of active users, via partnerships and arrangements with actors in the financial ecosystem
  • Enablement of online sales for at least ~ 10% of active users, via partnerships and arrangements with actors in e-commerce aggregation and online platforms
  • Creation of ~ 100,000 grassroot MBAs via training of underserved women entrepreneurs into digital business management, marketing and growth strategy

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

  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 17. Partnerships for the Goals

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

Some of the progress indicators we are suing include:

  • No of women entrepreneurs who completed initial training
  • No of women entrepreneurs who are active on the app more than 3 months
  • No of women entrepreneurs who are undertaking more than 6 transactions per week or per their business cycle
  • No of women entrepreneurs who have created and shared a digital catalogue of their products/ services
  • No of women entrepreneurs who are using higher order features like inventory management
  • No of women entrepreneurs who are using cresting periodic financial reports

Note: We are at present, attempting to create a Synthetic User Score (Entrepreneurship Score) that would act as a proxy indicator on the Entrepreneurship Potential of the users. We believe such a score would act the missing triaging point for the credit sector and the e-commerce sector in order to develop confidence to further engage with the WE.

What is your theory of change?

We see ourselves as a small business functioning catalyst, in line with the Capability Approach of Dr. Amartya Sen. Hence, MeraBills can provide both

  • the freedom of choice for equitable markets access to womenpreneurs; and
  • the digital-financial capabilities to make them stabilize, sustain and grow their businesses

Provision of the above in MeraBills in built on the following three foundations:

  • Data Cooperative: We see our users as members of a cooperative, that contribute their data in the process of using the app. By processing this data into information useful for the ecosystem, we want to create value that can flow back to the users in the form of greater, better and more optimally priced products, services and opportunities. This approach is antithetical to the Data Mining Approach which is highly extractive in nature, and looks to “mine” the top users for captive offerings. We, on the other hand, aim to unlock capacities in the entire user base, enabling all of them to access differentiated wider services per their need and affordability.
  • Socially Embedded Training: We recognize that responsible digital empowerment of women businesses needs for solutions to be sticky, and hence want to focus on demonstrated capacity building, which is contextualized to local culture, language and needs. For such, we work with grassroot social organizations for personalized training delivery and handholding, centering technology adoption around trust and community building.  Hence, we have created a training curriculum that focuses both on fundamental digital-financial literacy, as well as a training ladder for ensuring a graduated learning curve for women entrepreneurs, supported by a full bouquet of learning resources. The idea is to create a grassroots MBA capability
  • Social Impact Stack: Holistic empowerment of communities is a wicked problem, requiring an ecosystem level solve. Hence we want the platform to be a multi-tiered framework, that can create digital business management capabilities at the level of both the individual womenpreneur as well as their larger collective associations (Federations/ Cooperatives). In such a way, the platform can aggregate, assess and disseminate information across the entire organizational framework of women businesses which can enable symmetric access to financial, commercial and hyperlocal marketplaces. Also in the process, it creates a plug-and-play opportunity to associate with government, private and third-sector actors efficiently.

 Note: We tested out some of the premises in our theory of change  under a World Bank funded research study on 200 low-income Women Entrepreneurs (WE) from rural and peri-urban areas in India. These WE were onboarded onto the MeraBills mobile application and trained on digital business management including bookkeeping, business engagement, and business insights. The program was successfully undertaken over a period of 13 months, with 9 months of effective monitoring of use of app and collection of data via Baseline, Midline and Endline surveys, and aggregated app usage as tracked via a digital dashboard.

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

MeraBills is Android based mobile application, with full offline capabilities using local SQLite database, Google Firebase authentication, and automated sync and backup to Microsoft Azure SQL cloud DB. Its analytics engine is backed by Google Cloud BigQuery.

From a functional view-point, we use established Accounting and Bookkeeping practices to design the workflows in our feature suites in order to align it to market expectations of quality and reliability of the produced data.

Aspects of our UI/UX and our training curriculum follow a mix of traditional and modern elements, being based on storytelling which is rooted in local sensibilities, yet visualized thorough animation, caricatures and other interactive training content.

We are very keen to explore the potential for AI for creating synthetic user scores, with its ability to identify and flag data manipulation. Going forward, we also hope to explore augmented/ virtual reality for designing self-learning experiences for our users on the app. 

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new business model or process that relies on technology to be successful

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Audiovisual Media
  • Software and Mobile Applications

In which countries do you currently operate?

  • India

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

  • India
Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Hybrid of for-profit and nonprofit

How many people work on your solution team?

7 Full time, 2 Part time

How long have you been working on your solution?

3 years

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

  • 100% of our staff are people of color
  • 55% of our total staff identify as women
  • 100% of our Board identify as women
  • 75% of our Leadership team identify as women 
Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

Our business model relies on access to users via three inter-connected channels as follows:

Our presently operational channel is via Development Partners. In this route, we access users that are part of the beneficiary ecosystem of government and non-government social impact agencies. These are agencies that are looking to working in MSME promotion, livelihoods improvement and women empowerment. The key instruments we align with include beneficiary grants, subsidized loans, tooling, training and skilling.


Closely linked to the above, we are beginning to partner with the Financial Institutions that are looking to extend financial access to the underserved microentrepreneurs via micro-financial products and services. The key instrument we align with includes historical financials of the business, that be used to assess creditworthiness.  The users impacted via Development Partners can also graduate under such channel partners post obtaining a certain growth and digital-financial maturity.

In the medium term, we expect the above two channels to create enough critical mass of users to enable word-of mouth based direct downloads, and hence activate direct market channel. In such segment, we would align to offer more value=add services to our users like market connects and advisory.

The revenue streams that are enabled with the above include:

  • User empowerment charges (deployed & stabilized), including cost of training, handholding and data provision
  • Charges for provision of user’s historical financial reports
  • Loan origination fee, in case of loan facilitation based on app reports/ connects
  • Subscription fee for premium value-add services for direct market users
  • Advertising fee

At present, only the user empowerment charges is our realized source of revenue, while the remaining are in various stages of testing and development. 

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?

Our plan for financial sustainability relies on a combination of different sources of capital including:

 For funding our day-to-day operations

    • Government service contracts (e.g. We are working with an Indian government to train and empower micropreneurs into digital business management that are supported under a welfare scheme)
    • Product & Service provided to Social Impact Agencies:  We provide our training services, application and data management to actors in social impact, as part of their blended finance programs to provide livelihood support to women entrepreneurs.  
    • Product & Service provided to for-profit market agencies:  We provide our training services, application and data management to actors in looking to provide credit or other market based services to their users, and/or who are looking to prepare a cohort to graduate to their services.
  • For funding our development and research
    • We plan to raise impact investment “patient” capital in the coming 12 months for funding our next cycle of product development and user outreach
    • We apply for philanthropic and social grants in order to test particular hypothesis regarding women micro-entrepreneurship and/or to develop and customize products and services for a desired cohort.  


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

Some of the examples of grants/ funds we have raised so far include:

  • A World Bank funded Research Study on Examining the Potential of Technology-Enabled Analytics to Transform Women-Owned Businesses in India, with contract value of USD 47,000
  • Project REVIVE on Social Impact for Women Micro entrepreneurs and Women-led Small Business, awarded by Collective Good Foundation at a value of USD 28,000
  • Provision of a digital Bookkeeping solutions, providing training and handholding support to entrepreneurs for a state government of India, with contract value of USD 40,000
  • Incubation under the Indian School of Business, supported by Government of India’s start-up initiatives, with seed investment of USD 30,000


Solution Team

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