Apex Tech
From Idea to Innovation: The Story of Khalti, Nepal’s Digital Wallet

In a world where digital transactions were yet to take root, four young engineering students from Nepal dared to dream differently. Among them, Amit Agrawal, hailing from Birgunj, embarked on a journey that would reshape the nation’s digital landscape.

Their story began at Pulchowk Engineering Campus, where Arbin Sah, Dhruva Adhikari, and Manish Modi were crafting their futures. In 2007, fueled by ambition and a shared vision, they laid the foundation of Janaki Technology. Agrawal, having honed his skills at Subisu Internet Company, joined them in 2009.

sparrow sms

Their first milestone came with Sparrow SMS in 2010, a groundbreaking service catering to the masses reliant on text messages for vital information. Despite challenges and the looming threat of competition, they persevered, leveraging their energy when resources were scarce.

Their journey wasn’t without hurdles. When free SMS services emerged, Agrawal and his team faced uncertainty. Yet, their unwavering dedication and relentless work ethic propelled them forward.

Their tale is not just about entrepreneurship; it’s about resilience, innovation, and the belief that with determination, even the humblest beginnings can lead to monumental achievements.

Discover how Khalti, born from dorm room dreams, transcended barriers to become a beacon of digital transformation in Nepal.

The Birth of Khalti!

Before Khalti, there was Sparrow SMS, which helped people check things like exam results using text messages. Then, in 2017, the same people started Khalti to make digital payments easier. They worked really hard, even though they didn’t have a lot of money. They came up with the name “Khalti” to mean a digital wallet.

It took a whole year to get Khalti ready to launch. They focused on making it easy to use and better than other options out there. Even though banks were unsure about Khalti at first, they eventually trusted it. Now, Khalti is connected to all banks in Nepal, showing how far they’ve come from their tough beginnings.

khalti founder

Challenges & Overcoming it!

In January 2017, during the CAN Info Tech fair in Kathmandu, Khalti struck a deal to advertise on event tickets. Despite having only 20 days until the fair and an unfinished app, they worked non-stop for 15 days to get it ready.

Facing stiff competition from eSewa, the leading company in the sector, and challenges in connecting with banks, it took six months to link each bank to Khalti. But they kept pushing forward, and now most banks are partnered with Khalti.

Despite obstacles, Khalti’s app quickly gained popularity, with downloads soaring. They’re always looking for new ways to improve digital transactions and reach more customers.

Currently, Khalti offers services like mobile recharging, bill payments, and buying domestic flight tickets. They plan to expand their services to digitize more aspects of business.

During the lockdown, Khalti experienced a slowdown as people stayed home and used Wi-Fi instead of mobile data. But things gradually improved.

Agrawal believes that trust in digital transactions has grown post-Covid-19, especially with increased internet access in rural areas and nearly everyone owning a smartphone. Khalti aims to capitalize on this opportunity for further expansion.

Khalti: A Talent Factory

Khalti has taken a proactive stance in addressing the challenge of talent retention by focusing on talent production. One notable initiative involves offering elective classes to final-year students at Pulchowk Engineering Campus in collaboration with Tribhuvan University.

These classes, titled ‘Proper Elective Applied Fintech Engineering by Khalti,’ provide students with practical insights into the fintech industry. The course curriculum is conducted at Khalti’s office, with exams administered in line with standard academic procedures. Currently, Khalti has selected and mentored 12 students as part of this program.

Amit Agrawal, a co-founder of Khalti, emphasizes the broader societal impact of such initiatives. He envisions a scenario where Khalti’s 3.5 lakh users collectively save 10 hours of time per month, resulting in a significant boost to national productivity.

Furthermore, beyond economic benefits, these efforts are positioned to contribute to environmental sustainability by reducing travel time and traffic congestion. Additionally, they aim to enhance transparency in financial transactions and mitigate corruption, thereby fostering a more equitable and efficient socio-economic landscape.

Khalti’s Future!

Khalti faces a significant challenge due to the need for constant innovation in a small market with limited revenue potential. Amit Agrawal and his co-founders continually grapple with this issue, pondering how to sustain and invest in a market constrained by its size.

Amit stresses the essential role of a robust economy in supporting businesses like Khalti. He highlights the necessity for substantial initial investments, emphasizing that profitability is contingent upon achieving large-scale operations.

Khalti’s Mission & Achievement

Amit sees completing bank integration as a significant milestone, marking the beginning of Khalti’s journey towards substantial growth. With this groundwork laid, Khalti is now focusing on innovation to propel itself forward. Initially, Khalti simplified movie and event bookings and streamlined internet bill payments through collaborations with partners like Worldlink.

Moreover, Khalti has facilitated sending money through ride-sharing apps, streamlining financial transactions. Amit emphasizes their commitment to innovation, particularly in the realm of financial inclusion. He believes that true digital transformation goes beyond mere payments, aiming for broader financial inclusion. This involves collaborating with banks to enhance their services through fintech integration, ultimately making banking more accessible and convenient for all.

The overarching goal of Khalti digital wallet is to revolutionize banking by reducing operational costs, eliminating the need for physical branches, and enabling round-the-clock accessibility. In Nepal, credit is primarily secured against mortgages, with no credit rating system for unsecured loans or installment payment structures for small loans.

Efforts are underway to implement centralized KYC (Know Your Customer) systems, paving the way for credit rating mechanisms in the future. The long-term vision involves establishing Axis to Finance and Axis to Capital platforms, facilitating services such as credit cards, loans, deposits, smart deposits, and cross-border payments.

Furthermore, Khalti is actively engaged in expanding its services to include systematic investment plans, wealth management, mutual fund planning, and other innovative financial products. Through these initiatives, Khalti aims to enhance financial inclusion and empower individuals with greater control over their financial futures.

The Asian Development Bank’s report highlights that current digital onboarding processes incur costs of around $5 to $6. Amit emphasizes that while currently focusing on fintech and digital wallets, the future holds plans for broader involvement in the financial system.

Amit envisions a future where Khalti simplifies insurance policies and becomes a household name. Khalti is actively innovating towards a comprehensive platform where every household manages not only transactions but also investments, banking, financial services, capital market operations, insurance, investment plans, and wealth management through Khalti.

Leds to award

Amit Agrawal, Co-Founder of Khalti wins ICT Entrepreneur Award 2019

WITSA Global Innovation Award


It’s worth noting that while the achievements and awards mentioned above showcase Khalti’s dedication to innovation and excellence, they are just a glimpse of the broader recognition and success that Khalti has garnered. Over the years, Khalti has been honored with numerous other awards and accolades, further solidifying its position as a leader in the fintech industry. As Khalti continues to push the boundaries of digital finance and redefine the landscape of financial services in Nepal, it remains committed to driving positive change and empowering individuals and businesses across the nation.

Message from Team Apex

Best of luck to Khalti on their continued journey of innovation and success! May you continue to break new ground in the world of fintech, empowering individuals and businesses alike with your transformative solutions. We applaud your dedication and vision, and we look forward to witnessing your continued growth and impact in the days ahead. Wishing you all the best in your endeavors!

Researched from: Onlinekhabar & Many other trustful portals.

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