Former Paytm senior vice president Shankar Nath has turned entrepreneur after a two-year-long sabbatical. Nath has co-founded Junio with another Paytm alumnus Ankit Gera. This would be the second entrepreneurial gig for Nath and the maiden one for Gera.
Junio is a kids-focused smart card that lets them make digital and physical purchases. It’s similar to Y-Combinator-backed FamPay. Junio acts as a credit card and imparts financial discipline to children, according to its website.
It allows parents to control smart cards through the app wherein they can create in-app chore lists and tie them with perks. Junio also enables instant fund transfer, notifications and flexibility to cancel the card at any moment through the app.
The app is yet to be launched and according to Entrackr sources, it will go live in a few weeks from now.
Nath and Gera have joined the list of several former Paytm executives including Amit Bagaria, Saurabh Vashishtha, Amit Lakhotia, Deepak Abbot, Nitin Misra and Amit Sinha who have donned entrepreneurial hats. Bagaria and Vashishtha run social commerce platform SimSim while Lakhotia launched parking app Park+.
Abbot and Misra run fintech app indiagold. Importantly, all these executives had made a significant fortune at Paytm through ESOPs. Sources emphasised that Nath and Gera have no plans to raise funds in the immediate future.
Entrackr has reached out to Gera to gain more insight about Junio, but he is yet to respond. We will update the story in case Gera responds.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Nath served Paytm as a chief marketing officer or CMO for about five years (Dec 2013 to Nov 2018). After moving from Paytm, he was on sabbatical for two years. Gera spent over four and a half years at the SoftBank-backed firm.
While the kids-focused fintech space is in a very nascent stage in India, Junio would compete with Sequoia-backed FamPay. Launched in early 2019, the Bengaluru-based firm had raised $4.7 million in a seed funding round from Y-Combinator, Sequoia India, and Global Founders Capital.
Kids-focused fintech and neo-banks are a new concept in India, but they have been evangelised by several startups in the US and the West. Atlanta-based Greenlight is one of the early entrants in the space in the US. It started kids-focused smart cards in 2017 and recently turned into a unicorn with $250 million infusions from TTV Capital, Canapi Ventures, DST and others.
Step and Paris-based PIXPAY have also been building kids focused banking solutions. In June 2020, Step raised a $22 million round from Stripe while PIXPAY nabbed 8 million Euro in March this year.