Fintech app Sqrrl has diversified its lingual reach by launching the current English version of the app in eight regional Indian languages: Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada and Malayalam.

The company says that language availability here is not just a literal translation, but also contextualisation in each language, keeping in mind the end user. Sqrrl is a mobile app only investment platform that allows users to invest in mutual funds based on their investment needs, risk horizons & goals. It has tied up with 15 funds in the space.

With its multi-lingual feature, Sqrrl plans to impact in tier-2 and tier-3 cities and districts as well, where language is one of the most prominent barriers to financial independence. In a press release, Sqrrl explains that many users are avid investors but unable to understand the jargon, thus they depend on advisers and third parties for their investment needs. The app aims to simply investment so they can take control.

The app which was launched in March 2017, has 28,000 users, of which 23%, it claims, are first-time investors. Over the next five years, Sqrrl is targeting three million users on its platform.

Indic languages drive engagement

A recent report by industry body Internet And Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) points to Indic or regional languages as a key motivator for most non-users to get online. At the same time, the report pointed out to the aversion of mobile internet users from critical service. While video content was the most likely use case for Indic language with 68% preferring it, services such as banking, search and others have usage at 20% even in urban areas.

There is a heavy dependence on English in the investment sector, which is in spite the fact that only 57% India’s digital payment user-base are active English users.

The IAMAI report argues that language is one of the most crucial factors in internet penetration, especially in India as 88% of its population is non-English speaking. It establishes that China has the highest number of internet users in the world, driven by its use of mandarin on the internet. While Chinese is the second-most-popular language, Indic content accounts for only 0.1% of all content on the internet.

“Given the relatively low penetration of English beyond the metros, especially among the economically weaker sections of the society, internet penetration cannot grow without addressing the issue of the language of access for internet services,” the IAMAI report said.

Lending space

Just yesterday, California-based fintech company Tala said that it is bringing its lending app to India.

Fintech space in India seems to be bustling, as multiple technology platforms have joined the lending space off late in the country. Last month, we reported that mobile wallet company Mobikwik is working on the launch of a lending product that will offer instant credit to customers directly from its app.  Fintech giant Paytm is also seeking a licence from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to become a peer-to-peer lending platform. Other players in the space include NeoGrowth, Paytm-backed CreditMate, CASHe, LendingKart, MoneyTap, EasySalry, Faircent and LoanMeet.