Gullak, a Bengaluru-based saving and investment app, raised $1.3 million in its pre-seed round from Better Capital and Stellaris Ventures Partners. The startup will deploy the capital for growth and marketing purposes, it said on Friday.
The startup also saw a slew of angel investors, including Vimal Kumar and Sheetal Lalwani (Co-founders, JusPay), Shan MS (Chief Growth Officer, JusPay), Ramanathan RV (Co-founder, Hyperface), Maya Kunnath (Head of Legal, Hyperface), Nitin Gupta (Founder and CEO, UniCards) and Prasanna Sankar (Co-founder, Rippling), among others, participating in the round.
Founded in January 2022 by former JusPay executives—Manthan Shah and Dilip Jain—and Naimisha Rao, Gullak enables users to save small amounts regularly and automatically invests them in digital gold.
In May 2022, the startup launched the official version of its app and has garnered nearly 9,000 users to date, witnessing 1,000 transactions per day.
In the coming months, Gullak is targeting to hit one lakh monthly active users (MAU) and 10 lakh gross transaction value (GTV) per day.
Bringing out the habitual saver
Following their respective stints at Bengaluru startup JusPay, Manthan and Dilip were storming ideas for a new fintech venture. They met their third co-founder Naimisha through a common business network.
Their initial interactions brought to the fore the issue of “financial ignorance” among people. They realised that although India’s saving culture is widespread, the way people save remains “suboptimal and non-smart”.
Speaking to YourStory, Naimisha Rao, Co-founder, Gullak, says, “In the 2020s, people save like they are in the 80s. They save manually and lack discipline and structure, although their intent and ability to save are high. They continue to put money in non-inflation-beating instruments, which give less than 5 percent returns. Here’s when we began to wonder—wealth creation is not that difficult, but why are millions of Indians failing at it?”
To introduce people to more efficient ways of creating wealth, Gullak built its app and launched the prototype in March 2022, followed by its beta version in May.
Put it in the “Gullak”
Gullak app features two major saving options. First is a recurring savings option that allows users to save a fixed amount daily or monthly, which it then invests in digital gold. Users can also set mandates via UPI autopay, enabling automatic micro-savings.
Its second option—the save on every spend option—rounds up the user’s daily transactions to the nearest 10’s and auto invests it into gold.
The startup has partnered with Mumbai-based digital gold platform Augmont Gold to offer this gold investment feature and earns a commission on every transaction.
Besides, Gullak offers other features, including a one-time top-up feature that allows users to add a lump sum amount to boost their savings. Users can also pause their automated savings or withdraw the money at any time with just one click.
“The more we interact with customers, the more we realise that customers want nuanced solutions, and we are continually building tailored solutions, including save along with someone, predefined goals, guilt-free spending options, gold delivery, and more,” says Manthan.
The startup plans to grow and optimise its revenue by using an in-app purchase and subscription model, which it will launch in the coming months.
Making the cut
Gullak faces direct competition from Tiger Global-backed fintech app Jar and Spenny, besides other saving and investment apps, including Niyo and Appreciate, which operate in the spare change model and invest in mutual funds.
The co-founders claim to have their strength in strong tech and product background, which reflects in the transparency and simplicity of the fintech app.
“Gullak is made for Bharat; the design and features are all built for Bharat users. The product is easy to use, and users can start their savings journey in just 30 seconds. The initial feedback from users has been great, and they are loving the UI/UX,” says co-founder Manthan.
At present, Gullak has a team of 15 members. It is looking to scale up in the next few months.
“Wealth creation should be accessible to everyone, and we are constantly striving to achieve the same. What UPI did to payments, Gullak aims to do the same to savings and be their partner in their wealth creation journey,” says co-founder Dilip.
Vaibhav Domkundwar of Better Capital, adds, “Investing is critical to wealth creation irrespective of the amount of money one is investing. Today, there is a severe lack of solutions that solve this — allowing people from all walks of life to invest in a structured, automated, and simple way. Automating investing is key to wealth creation, and that’s exactly what Gullak is building for over 100 million users. We are excited to be the founding stage partner to this stellar product-first team.”