Gowri Thyagarajan Mukherjee jumped at the chance to start a business, a secret wish she always had, and made financing more inclusive.
Gowri Thyagarajan Mukherjee, co-founder of CreditMantri, comes from a family of super achievers. It was this constant striving for excellence that helped her shape a successful career in banking and financial services spanning nearly two decades and be the force behind one of Chennai’s most successful fintech start-ups.
After completing her engineering, she went to IIM Calcutta in 1995. Mukherjee managed to land a good job as a manager with HSBC on campus. After three years she moved to Sify as a senior consultant. Her longest stint would be in Citibank India which she joined in 2002 and would spend the next decade leading the digital business. Two years after she joined Standard Chartered bank, she got a call from a former colleague from Citibank, Ranjit Punja in 2014. Punja, who along with Rajasundaram Sudarshan, also from Citibank, had co-founded a firm called CreditMantri that would help consumers improve credit scores and become loan-ready. Punja approached Mukherjee with the idea of joining them and building a robust digital platform. “I was excited by the whole idea. I always wanted to do something on my own and it was only a matter of when,” says Mukherjee.
Mukherjee finally joined CreditMantri in 2014. While CreditMantri started off by helping people improve their credit rating, they realised that there is a larger market in people with no or little credit history. “Using data and technology, we wanted to ensure that a whole host of people who had no prior access to credit were able to avail financial help,” says Mukherjee.
CreditMantri has over a million registered customers and has credit profiled over five million users. The firm also works with 55 banks and non-banking financial companies to assess credit risk of potential borrowers better apart from bringing down their overall cost of credit assessment. Today, the team at CreditMantri has grown to 150 people. Growing at 3x annually, the firm is expected to rake in over Rs. 300 million in revenue by the end of FY19.
But even as it is the most challenging role that she has taken on, it is one that has made her wiser with a sharper mind. “In a start-up, there is no problem of plenty and you have to manage with the resources on hand. So you put your resources in what you truly believe in the most. The process of making those choices I really enjoy,” she says. But there is nothing else she would rather do. “I wouldn’t have traded it for anything else,” she says with a smile.