Our Investment in OneCode: Building Trust with India's Largest Independent Sales Agent Network
My (AC’s) experience building products at some of India’s leading companies allowed me to meet consumers first-hand and observe how they use our products. One frequent observation: the existence of a trust deficit in the system. While this is true in daily life – people would assume that a bus wouldn’t stop at the regular stand, waiters would have to open a can of soda in front of you etc. – it isn’t the whole truth.
Trust DOES exist – it’s just that it is almost entirely hyperlocal.
Taking advantage of this insight, Manish Shara and Yash Desai have built OneCode as India’s largest independent network of sales agents trained to sell financial services to their hyperlocal networks. General Catalyst is excited to lead the company’s $13M Series A Financing and join existing investors Sequoia India, Nexus, Waterbridge as well some of the most respected founders & operators in partnering with them on their journey.
India’s sales culture is still heavily dependent upon live interactions. Even today, digital marketing campaigns are not the main driver of sales in the country, especially to reach consumers in Tier 2-3 towns. Customers need to be educated by another person (e.g., influencer, reseller, community leader, sales agent) before they make a purchase. This requires financial services brands to have access to a large sales force. OneCode allows these brands to outsource their sales force by connecting brands that are looking for sales personnel with trained sales agents across the country. Upon delivering on milestones through their digital platform (see product screenshot), the agents make a commission and OneCode then takes a portion of the agents’ commission.
OneCode is focused on the banking, financial services, and insurance (“BFSI”) industry with top products including bank accounts, loans, credit cards, policies and real estate. It currently has 35+ partner brands, including some of India’s largest banks. Some partners include HDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank, ICICI Bank, Equitas, Kreditbee, Upstox and Bajaj Finserv. Agents download the app, which allows them to choose products to sell, receive training on how to sell and who to sell to, and get paid once a sale is completed.
Since co-founding the company in 2019, Manish and Yash have grown the number of agents (called OneCoders) who earn a regular income on OneCode by 37x and the company’s ARR by over 75x. For many ‘OneCoders’, this platform has become a path to financial empowerment. In doing so, OneCode is building an economic layer on the Internet in Tier 2-3 towns in India – something we at GC are excited to get behind, in terms of eliminating barriers to participation and advancing inclusive prosperity.
OneCode has ambitious plans to become the most trusted distribution system in the country and bring best-in-breed financial services to millions of consumers who could otherwise be left out of the growth of the Internet in India and the opportunities that it creates. We are thrilled to be partnering with them in this journey.