Fintech Entrepreneur | Author | Speaker | Futurist
Working on audacious projects to make a positive impact in the world
Motivated by his passion for financial inclusion and solving poverty, Arunjay is focused on how he can use technology for good, breaking down barriers to democratise money. A highly regarded payment expert with strong strategic and analytical skills, Arunjay worked with the GSMA Mobile Money programme for five years. Where he provided a comprehensive understanding of the evolution of mobile money including analysing the impact of new technologies and business models. As advisor to the Head of Mobile Money, in 2018 Arunjay led the strategy pivot to a Payments as a Platform approach and helped secure $17m funding for phase 4 of the programme.
Arunjay co-founded multiple
start-ups, with three exits
one of which was acquired
by Twitter in early 2015.
In May 2015, Arunjay won a
grant from the Bill and Melinda
Gates Foundation to enable
universal acceptance of mobile
money payments using basic
Arunjay helped set up the DFS Lab, and designed the programme to support start-ups in emerging markets. He runs DFS Lab’s fintech bootcamps, five-day design sprints to build and test concepts. And he has mentored over 20 start-ups, including Nala, Nobuntu, Numi, Pezesha, Pula, TaniHub and Teller.
As co-founder and CEO of Yooz, Arunjay is leading a revolution in remittances. The marginal cost of transferring money from the UK to India reducing to near zero, while incumbents continue to charge high fees – Arunjay is looking to transform the international remittances industry one payment at a time.
A true global citizen, Arunjay moved half way around the world from India to Trinidad and Tobago at the tender age of 22. He has since visited over 30 Countries across six Continents.
Arunjay spent the first five years of his career counting beans at EY.
The Power of Micro Money Transfers
Remittances, like most dominant financial services, penalise the poor—while sending large amounts of money cross-border is relatively cheap, small transactions incur huge fees. As a result, many people don’t send small sums of money, instead save up to make monthly transactions. On average, a Mexican migrant remits ~$300 13 times a year; but back home, imagine the cash crunch in between ‘paydays’. $20 goes a long way towards staples like airtime, food and utilities. More frequent transactions can have a profound impact on smoothing out income and allowing impoverished households to better save, plan, invest and grow.
This book explains why micro money transfers matter, the impact they have on peoples’ wellbeing, and the importance of transparency in an industry riddled with “confusion” pricing.
It also outlines how the future of micro money transfers will develop, and how additional financial services can be layered on top to welcome the underserved into the formal financial system. Finally, this book provides money transfer operators with a blueprint on how to pivot your business model and future proof your business.
Yasmina McCarthy, Former Head of Mobile for Development, GSMA
I am extremely grateful to the analytics and strategic thinking that I received from Arunjay Katakam. He is a bold thinker, who can imagine the future, whilst creating immediate value in the present. He has a longstanding commitment to make the world a better place and he brings his many talents to this work each and every day. I have had the pleasure of working with Arunjay for many years and I look forward to his wisdom and thoughts in the years to come. I recommend Arunjay's work in the strongest possible terms.
Tyron Fouche, CEO, Nobuntu
Arunjay’s insights into the sprint methodology combined with his obvious grip on the social innovation sector in emerging markets is of such an impressive caliber that can only come from having successfully innovated in these areas himself. Working with Arunjay was inspiring, insightful and fun.
Rose Goslinga, CEO and co-founder, Pula Advisors
Arunjay was a great mentor to me and my co-founder during a pivotal time for our start-up. He was generous with his advice and thoughtful with his critique. More importantly, he was genuinely excited by our potential and his contribution as part of DFS Lab helped convince my co-founder to quit his job and join our team full-time.
Nathan Naidoo, Former Head of Mobile Money, GSMA
Arunjay supported me as an independent strategy consultant throughout my time as Head of Mobile Money at the GSMA. He ran consultations across all areas of M4D, articulated our new strategic vision around payments as a platform, and helped me to redesign the org structure. He also shaped three of our biggest reports last year, including this one. The result was millions in philanthropic and industry funding and greater alignment of our work with the needs of the mobile industry.
Jake Kendall, Founder and Director, DFS Lab
We think of Arunjay as a founding member of our team even though he was with us full-time for just 6 months. He created the first iteration of our innovation bootcamp methodology which has become the core of our startup selection process. He also helped developed the future roadmap of our strategic trajectory which we have stuck with for over 3 years. Arunjay had transformative impact on our work.
Hilda Moraa, Founder & CEO,Pezesha Africa Limited
Arunjay was a strategic mentor in our early days at Pezesha. He provided diverse perspectives that shaped our initial product when it comes to value proposition, user experience and product-market fit. 3 years down the line, my team and I can measure how his valuable feedback in our ideation has led to a strong foundation in our current growth
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