On reaching Delhi, he quit his job to set up Book-MyForex, which was at that time the country’s first online marketplace for forex services, including multi-currency cards, cash remittance and travel insurance. “Our low-cost online platform and our reach into small towns of India help us offer rates which no bank or offline dealer can match,” claims Motwani, who teamed up with his son, a software engineer, to set up the portal that he estimates recorded Rs 10 crore worth of transactions in April.
Users of BookMyForex can see live quotes to buy and sell major currencies in their various forms such as forex cards, currency or wire transfer on the startup’s platform. A buyer or seller can just freeze the rate of a currency by paying 2% of the amount upfront. This rate will be valid for the next three days. Typically, banks and forex merchants charge 3-6% for every Rs 100 while Motwani’s portal charges about 0.6%.
This has helped build volumes, claims the former banker, who expects to record transactions worth Rs 500 crore by the end of 2014 and earn a net revenue of Rs 4 crore. His idea of a low-cost platform that helps Indians buy forex online and have it delivered home rests on two factors — technology and a strong network of contacts developed by Motwani.
To launch his venture, he raised seed funding of Rs 1.5 crore from Tejbir Singh, a former executive director at Centurion Bank of Punjab. Motwani had introduced travel-related foreign exchange services during his stint there in 2002. For his new venture, he forged tie-ups with former employer ING Vysa and Axis Bank as the portal’s foreign exchange partners. Motwani also invested Rs 60 lakh from his retirement savings and started work on the platform in 2012 which went live a year later.
Experts said the opportunity for such portals comes from the growing need for convenience and security in currency purchases. Industry estimates place the total volume of forex transactions at about $35 billion (Rs 2.10 lakh crore) of which about $15-20 billion gets traded in cash.
“The trend to buy forex online is catching up. With a rise in e-commerce, Indians have become more net savvy and a trust has developed with the medium,” said Amit Khurana, marketing head at Centrum Direct, forex arm of Centrum Capital.
Motwani tied up with Centrum Direct to deliver forex to customers in smaller towns and cities who buy on his portal. The partnership now covers nearly 4,000 locations. “We have home-delivered forex booked online to towns like Madurai, Coimbatore and Udaipur,” said Khurana of Centrum.
In India, HDFC Bank and travel company Thomas Cook dominate the instore sale of foreign exchange and have now also begun to sell forex online. Other online retailers include travel firms such as Travelex and Cox and Kings. Globally, firms such as Xoom, OzForex, and Western Union have built vast remittance networks that Motwani regards as the target market for his company.
The site also does wire transfer and markets pre-loaded forex cards for major banks. Later this year, Motwani expects to raise funding of about .`18 crore and has tasked brokerage Prabhudas Lilladher to pitch his business plan to prospective investors. “At my age, it is difficult to travel cities to make presentations each week and also focus on building the platform. It is best left to experts,” said Motwani, who plans to use the money for marketing.
But why get into the rough and tumble of entrepreneurship at this age? “My doctor just told me last week that with the rise in adrenaline levels, my vital body parameters reflect that of a 35-year old,” he said.
Source : https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/internet/bookmyforex-low-cost-platform-that-helps-buy-forex-online-and-have-it-delivered-home/articleshow/34703267.cms