New Delhi, Oct 19 (IANS) Escrow banking is generally quite complex and Castler, with its unique digital offering has demonstrated that technology and innovation can provide solutions to even the most complex requirements.
The firm is a global digital escrow platform for individuals and enterprises, offering domestic and cross-border escrow solutions.
According to Vineet Singh Co-Founder & CEO, Castler is solving for the existing $100 billion Escrow Banking Market which is poised to grow to $260 Billion by the year 2030.
Here are excerpts from an interview:
Q: How was the idea of Castler born? What is your USP and mission statement?
A: Castler is a global escrow platform for enterprises offering domestic and cross-border escrow solutions. Founded by seasoned entrepreneurs and Ex-Info Edge executives, Vineet Singh and Dinesh Kumar, Castler offers a unique Escrow Management TSP solution for Enterprises and Banks.
Operational since April 2021, the company is the trusted escrow solution for over 150+ Enterprises and manages over Rs 1,000 crores ($130 million) in transactions every month. Castler recently raised $1 million in its seed funding round led by Zerodha’s VC arm Rainmatter.
The idea of forming Castler sparked when Vineet, faced a major delay in receiving the payment when he sold his car to an online platform. He was promised payment within 30 minutes, but it took 10 days after numerous follow-ups.
Coincidentally, around the same time, one of his friends sold some furniture on an online marketplace and got scammed by a fraudster. He was duped of Rs 18,290 through UPI fraud on a prominent online marketplace.
These two incidents intrigued Vineet and he started doing online research for a 100 per cent Secure payment solution for P2P, B2C and B2B transactions. He discovered several solutions built on the escrow-banking stack in the western world. After a detailed study, Vineet built an escrow model suitable for India and started on the journey of building Castler.
Castler aims to provide a 100 per cent secure transaction Solution for consumers and businesses for both domestic and cross-border transactions. Trust is the most important digital currency as businesses and transactions become completely digital. Castler is building the epitome of trust through its digital escrow platform.
Q: What is the market size/demand for digital escrow services in India?
A: Castler is solving for the existing $100 billion Escrow Banking Market which is poised to grow to $260 billion by the year 2030.
Q: What is the current scale of your operations? What are your growth plans over the next 4-5 years?
A: The last 15 months have been a stupendous journey of learning, problem-solving, and diving deep into the world of hardcore transaction banking for the Castler Team. Castler now serves over 150 enterprise customers and manages around more than Rs 1,000 crore worth of transactions every month.
Castler’s performance is even more commendable if you compare them with their larger neo-banking counterparts. Castler currently has 0.15 per cent of the enterprise market, average overnight balance is Rs 50 crore. Let’s look at the numbers.
Castler with 0.15 per cent share of the enterprise escrow market (customers) has achieved an average overnight balance (AOB) of Rs 50 crore. Just imagine what Castler numbers will be with 1 per cent market share and with 10 per cent market share.
Castler is looking at deepening its enterprise escrow banking product with more features and services. We intend to launch our Retail product for Consumers and MSMEs next year. Castler aims to partner with 25 Banks over the next 12 months to expand its reach to the top 50 cities and towns of India.
Our endeavour is to build a transaction banking focused escrow banking solution for consumers and enterprises, for both domestic and cross-border transactions.
Q: How have you digitized the entire escrow process to make it more accessible and convenient for large enterprises and SMEs, etc.?
A: Castler has built a web application powered by AWS that allows Enterprises and individuals to get eKYC’d instantly for verification, create their profiles and use the Escrow features and functionalities for conducting transactions
Castler enables enterprises to create Instant Virtual Escrow Accounts, define Escrow parties for the Accounts along with their shares and the Agreement/Terms & Conditions, Collect Money into these Accounts and then initiate pay-outs from the account once the Terms and Conditions are met.
All pay-outs are verified and approved by Trustees; no transaction can go out without proper approval. Castler has integrated with 5 partner banks and using their APIs/SFTP integrations the transactions are facilitated.
Q: What has cloud technology and AWS enabled you to do in terms of better business outcomes?
A: Castler’s entire application is hosted on AWS. Presently, we are using AWS available EC2 features for running and deploying dockerized services, S3 as a data store for documents and backups, and the available AWS Security Groups, Antivirus from AWS marketplace to further secure the environment.
Castler is the only service provider to provide Escrow Banking APIs to customers, we are using AWS API Gateway for extra layer of security and API threshold management.
The present architecture is supporting over 150 customers acquired over the period of last one year and about a thousand plus financial transactions every day. We are expecting a 10-100x growth in the number of transactions in the coming few months and double the number of partner banks, for which steps are being taken to make the current architecture scalable using Load Balancing, Auto Scaling and Message Queues.
For a more stable architecture, Castler is planning to build a new Micro services based platform that will use the power of AWS further by utilising AWS managed Database Services, Elastic Kubernetes Services and other features and functionalities like API Gateway, SNS etc. as applicable.