REFRENS- A SMART ONLINE PAYMENT TOOL FOR B2B USERS AND FREELANCERS
Meet Naman Sarawagi and Mohit Jain, Refrens Founders who have turned their personal experiences and challenges into opportunities.
Naman Sarawagi, Refrens- Co-Founder Says, "Pick up a large market that you understand. Solve a problem where you know who the user is. Solve hard problems for the long run."
A Bengaluru based startup is offering a quick, revolutionary and simple invoicing and payments collection system. Refrens has developed a model to increase lead flow for businesses and have scaled the invoicing system faster and wider.
CLIQTAX has interviewed Naman Sarawagi, Co-Founder- Refrens a new start-up that developed an online networking space for business owners and various service providers.
Below are excerpts from our conversation:
CT: When did you start the business & what service do you offer?
NS: At our platform, one can generate Invoices, quotations/proforma invoices, track expenses, generate TDS/GST Reports. Our payment gateway can be integrated in the invoice, which makes B2B payments just like online shopping. Our International payments rates and TAT is the most competitive in the market. We offer unique features like Early Pay Discounts to recover payments faster, part payments etc.
CT: How do you get the idea to start REFRENS?
NS: It started from our personal experience. Both of us (Me and Mohit) were freelance consultants ourselves working with quite a few startups. While there were a host of invoicing platforms, most of them had a limited free period. That was not all, payment collection was a major challenge since it required a lot of follow ups and reminders.
This was the major trigger to create a system around it and hence Refrens.com was born. As we progressed, we came across other challenges freelancers and small agencies were facing like no easy access to loans or credits which made us create unique features like Early Pay Discounts to shorten cash cycles."
The platform is designed for B2B service providers including designers, software developers, accountants, marketers, consultants etc. Our focus is on individual freelancers and small businesses says Refrens Co-Founder, Naman Sarawagi.
CT: You're already on the top lists of all the employees with gigs. How has it all been for you? What are the challenges you've faced to reach here?
NS: The initial challenge was around marketing of the product. Although the product is free, our target audience is used to getting in-person demo and extensive hand holding for initial adoption. We solved this through better design. Instead of designing like a traditional invoicing system, we started with the assumption that our audience has never used a invoicing system before. This helped us win a lot of new customers. I believe we are still evolving, every single day. I have a great team which is very agile and due to this we are able to iterate fast to match our user’s expectations.
CT: Mr. Mohit chooses to call himself "A geek with some business sense" and Mr. Naman is the Product guy with some programming sense." How was this combination formed and how do you apply this combined sense of awesomeness?
NS: Mohit and I have known each other since highs chool. Also, this is not our first venture together. We have done quite a few projects and ventures earlier as well. I guess we know each other too well and are able to complement each other in the best possible way.
CT: What’s your company’s goals & few names of your clientele?
NS: We have about 13000 Freelancers and small agencies on our platform. We intend to have about a million users in the next 2 years and then go international as well. Overall, we intend to create a system around invoicing which makes the life of a freelancer or small business owner easy and empower them for further growth.
CT: Is your Start-up bootstrap or funded?
NS: We raised our first round from a host of investors with some prominent names in India like Vijay Shekhar Sharma (Founder, Paytm) and Anupam Mittal (Founder, Shaadi.com)
CT: How do you connect to your customers & offer your services to them?
NS: We use multiple techniques to market our products and create awareness. We use SEO, SEM, Social Media, Content Marketing, Email based retargeting to reach to our customers.
CT: What is the USP of your business & how you do things differently?
NS: Our intuitive design coupled with a strong technology stack, excellent customer service are some of the USPs of our business. We are trying to build a system around invoicing, not limiting the platform to just invoice creation which by the way is free forever. One can track expenses, generate TDS/GST Reports and get a deep idea about their whole P&L.
Also, the ability to capture the client-vendor relationship which allows businesses to network among themselves to generate qualified leads is what differentiates us from the rest.
CT: If you had one piece of advice to start-ups just starting out, what would it be?
NS: Pick up a large market that you understand. Solve a problem where you know who the user is. Solve hard problems for the long run.
CLIQTAX extends heartiest wishes to the Refrens founders Naman Sarawagi & Mohit Jain for their journey as a mentor and entrepreneur. Kudos to them for such an amazing interview.