Published: 02nd July 2021
This FinTech start-up for kids will help them understand savings using comic storylines, fun storylines and a DIY debit card
IAMIN World is the latest EdTech on the block yet, it is more than that as it is a FinTech too. It catches students young with regards to financial literacy. Oh, they have partnered with RBL Bank too
In retrospect, there are three reasons why Ankit Shah decided to launch an EdTech-meets-FinTech platform whose sole focus is the financial literacy of students from Class I to XII called IAMIN World, on June 24, 2021.
First, was that the habit of keeping an account of all that Shah had spent had been hard-wired into him thanks to his pragmatic father who offered inexhaustible pocket money on one sole condition — Shah Junior needed to keep a record of all his purchases and carefully save all the bills. "If I bought from a store that wouldn't issue bills, my father asked me to simply stop going to that particular store," the Mumbaikar says, sounding exasperated. Then, at 19, he took a sum of one lakh rupees from his father to confidently invest in the stock market, 90% of which he dejectedly lost. The lesson learnt was that one needs to educate oneself before investing.
The third reason is his daughter, who is eight now but was five back when she was adamant about owning a toy van so much so that she broke her piggy bank, asked for contributions from her family and was still falling short of the Rs 10,000 she needed until her own father chipped in. This process made her value not just money but also what she purchased with it — the toy that she continues to play with.
Trip to Chocoland
So, with these three validations in hand, a year ago, Shah put the pedal on the gas to start work on IAMIN World. In case you're wondering, I AM IN is an anagram for ‘I am investing’. "The education system was not addressing the pain point of financial literacy, which is a very important skill to inculcate while they are still building habits which will hold them in good stead, or not, in the long run," says the Founder and CEO of the start-up.
Class I to III, IV to VI, VII to IX and X to XII — children are divided into four categories and the content is tailored thus. He adds, "We wanted to teach these concepts to children in a non-academic way, which means that no professor or teacher would be delivering monologues about bookish knowledge via videos." So the approach is full-on comic book-style. With memorable characters, a captivating storyline and a complete background score, a story that involves the kids by asking their input in multiple-choice questions.
The first story is about Maria and the Chocoland with ten different episodes. What happens when li'l Maria sees a friend sporting an expensive watch that she covets herself — what does she do? There are ten such episodes with the last one having a story in which the student himself is the lead character with something called the Shoe of the Future. Using these magical shoes, the child can travel back and forth in time and actually review his financial decisions. But that's not even the best part. And here's where the FinTech part comes in.
A card of your own
In partnership with RBL Bank, the platform issues a prepaid numberless debit card to the students from categories three and four (Classes VII to IX and Classes X to XII). Parents can transfer their child’s pocket money to this number (no additional savings account required) and the children can use it as any debit card, swipe it at cafés or use it while shopping online. But with great power comes great responsibility. "The card comes with an app linked to it. Students can create goals and parents have full access to what their children are doing with regard to the card via the app. What's most interesting is that for every sum that the child swipes the card for, a percentage of the money goes into savings," enumerates the finance wizard who has been an Individual Financial Advisor since 2006. Students from group one and two get DIY activities, like building their own piggy bank, creating games with financial outcomes and a lot more. The perfect amalgamation of theory and practical.
The questions too are beyond MCQs, students are asked to interview a member of their family about their finances and upload a video. And many other such tasks. "It is in no way a one-way curriculum, our team of five made sure of that," clarifies Shah who pursued his MBA in FMB (Family Managed Business) from SP Jain Institute of Management and Research and passed out in 2011. If the students have any doubts, they can simply ask a query on the portal. Already, 150 parents have registered on their portal, but Shah wants to take the numbers to 50,000 plus and beyond. In fact, he wants to take it to different countries as well. But that's for the future. In the near future, that is next three months, they will be ramping up their visibility to ensure that all those who are looking for something like this are able to avail the opportunity.
"For a long time now, the formula has been income - expense = savings, but what it actually ought to be is income - savings = expenses. Plus, children need to invest very, very early. If they start saving only from the age of 30, they will earn their proper returns only when they are 60. Now, imagine if they start saving from 13. That's the power of compounding for you because nowadays, you can start investing in mutual funds with the smallest of amounts. Time is an asset for students, they must remember that," says Shah while leaving us with some food for thought.
For more on them check out iaminworld.com