How This Fintech Startup Is Using AI To Provide Expense Management Solutions

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“AI is deep into our products and is present everywhere”- Raj N Phani, Founder of Zaggle

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted normalcy in every sphere of our life. At a time when almost all the sectors are going through a substantial fundamental shift, fintech companies have been witnessing an unprecedented spike in demand from organisations to help them navigate this uncertain period. 

One significant factor that is leading to higher demand for the services of fintech firms is the willingness to revamp the traditional systems and processes and bring in the cost-effectiveness of product and service delivery, make it faster, more efficient and easily accessible. Innovative propositions or ensuring contactless transactions to ensure social distancing norms has become a top priority for organisations today.

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With a similar vision, Mumbai-based fintech startup, Zaggle is offering digitised solutions for expense management, employee tax benefits, rewards & recognition programs, corporate gifting and more.

To gain more insights into how the startup is utilising emerging tech to facilitate the same, we caught up with the founder of Zaggle. Founded in 2011 by Raj N Phani, Zaggle is a payments company that is working in the areas of fintech, HR-tech and bank-tech. For instance, at HR tech, the company deals with people and mapping AI to HR. 

The company is working with various Banks, including other fintech companies and networks to develop a state-of-the-art open banking platform for small & medium-size businesses (SMBs). Currently, the company is working with three big banks — RBL Bank, IndusInd and YES Bank. It is also working closely with VISA, RuPay and MasterCard Networks to craft solutions and innovations to bring value to its users. 

It is doing so with its two flagship products:

  • Zaggle Save: It is an all in one business expense management and employee reimbursements platform that helps businesses unlock value and helps their employees save taxes and manage their expenses better.
  • Zaggle Propel: It is an easy-to-use system to manage all the reward programs from a single integrated platform to increase productivity, profitability and reduce attrition. 

“We are a payments company working in the areas of fintech, HR-tech and bank-tech, and the most amazing part of HR tech is that it deals with people while mapping AI techniques to HR. Our systems are driven by AI as it builds security and certainty as well as provides convenience,” said Phani.

Use of AI at Zaggle

The company uses AI, IoT and ML techniques for both Zaggle Propel and Zaggle Save, which are integrated platforms for workforce reward and recognition, employee engagement, and state-of-the-art AI-powered performance management. The Zaggle Save product uses various AI techniques like OCR, entity extraction, NLP etc. to convert the real-time images of bills into texts. Some use cases are:

  • Automatic recognition of bill elements while uploading an expense into Save
  • A bot chatting to an employee to assess the morale of the employee in Propel
  • The AI interface also tries to suggest the employer about the most motivated employee and the areas of expense that employer can reduce on 

According to Phani, AI provides tremendous speed and its ability to predict accurately basis the data points are of immense value. He said, “If you look at AI, our products are not AI products but use AI in different areas to automate, increase the productivity of employees, reduce manual labour etc. and we believe in holistic AI vs forced AI everywhere.”

Core Tech Stack

The company uses various AI/ML algorithms written in Python that power the products. On the frontend, it uses ReactJS or NodeJS on the web and Android or iOS on the mobile platform. On the backend, RoR, Postgres and Linux are being used. The jobs run on sidekiq and redis, while ELK is used for the analytics platform. 

The developers use the OS of their choice and IDEs like Visual Studio Code/Netbeans, Git, pgAdmin, WSL, Postman etc. They also use CI/CD on the dev/staging and production systems as well as use Splunk, AWS Watch and ELK for log ingestion, analytics and alerts to keep the systems running smoothly and provide high availability to the environment.

Tackling Hiring Phase

Phani stated that this is the right opportunity for the company to hire talents as many have lost their jobs due to this pandemic situation and fintech firms are trying to make the most of the jump into digital payments. The company aims to hire over 65 employees by August.

Phani shared that Zaggle is looking at innovative ways of hiring and training talent, one of the prime learnings has been to merge the digital marketing function along with digital sales and make them a team called Revenue Generation Team. “We would be hiring young talent from premier B schools and train them on this function. We will add about 27 people to this function over the year,” he said.

Secondly, they have integrated the Product Management and Product Tech Team under one head to become more nimble to the ever-changing customer demand. Phani shared that they are looking to add about 30 people in this function. 

Future Roadmap

In the coming years, the company plans to foray into providing solutions to SMEs around open banking. Zaggle is currently looking for expansion with SMEs within more parts of the country as well as looking to move into the NeoBanking space. Phani said that Zaggle Inc has been launched in Canada to cater to the American market and they are looking to expand to London within three months. 

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Ambika Choudhury
A Technical Journalist who loves writing about Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. A lover of music, writing and learning something out of the box.

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