Vakrangee Ltd, which runs over 13,200 digital kiosks across the country, said its franchisees will now be able to offer share trading and demat account opening services thanks to a tie-up with stock trading app Upstox.
Vakrangee Kendras already offer a variety of internet-enabled services, such as bank account opening, issue of government certificates, money transfer, information dissemination, online shopping and so on.
The Kendras are tailored as a way to enable less sophisticated persons and those without smartphones to take advantage of the digital revolution through assisted services.
“This [Upstox] tie-up will provide a complete bouquet of financial solutions to the customers across the country. The collaboration will provide our partner with access to the huge client base & Network that Vakrangee has, helping it tap the untapped market & diversify its base,” said the company, which started out as a facilitator of government of India’s CSC or common service center program.
“Our franchisees in remote areas of the country can now enhance their revenue stream by offering online trading services too,” the company said.
Vakrangee said some of the functionality will also be integrated into its mega app called BharatEasy Super.
“We will continue to add more products and services and tie-up with leading business partners to offer our customers a one-stop solution to all their banking, insurance, ATM, financial services, assisted e-Commerce, e-Governance and logistics. Vakrangee provides these partners with the unmatched reach in remote areas where these brands find the cost of operations too high.”
The tie-up with Upstox marks a key win in Vakrangee’s attempt to position itself as a facilitator not just to its customers, but also to apps and companies that want to reach them.
It pointed out that the tie up would help partners like Upstox “scale up fast and would significantly reduce the costs related to acquiring customers, physical assistance, order fulfilling and return management of online orders.”
“Further, leveraging physical presence would result in better customer interaction, strong brand recall and better service experience and trust for the customers,” it noted
The company’s Kendras are spread across 28 States & UTs, across 4,860 postal codes, and more than 70% of these outlets are in Tier 5 and 6 towns.
The company plans to double its Kendras in the current half of FY22 to 25,000, and take it to 75,000 by FY2026.
Vakrangee started as a tech company that helped small entrepreneurs set up common service centers or CSCs under a Government of India scheme to promote entrepreneurship and access to digitized government services, such as certificate application and issuance.
Over the years, the company added more and more features and services to its outlets, and in recent years, started pushing a standardized design and look-and-feel to its outlets under the Vakrangee E Kendra brand. Instead of a tech-enabler, it is now looking at itself more like a branded chain of e-service centers.