• Almas Sayyed

The complete guide to Khatabook in 2020

Old is Gold

This Lockdown (Btwn any version) has proved the fact that how essential services are so essential no app or mart was able to fulfill the requirements except your familiar Kirana store where my mom used to get the groceries from despite any insisting of online services and offers. It may be any Geeta, Sisodia supermarket.

Even to date my mother fills up the dhan like staple grains be it wheat, jowar, or rice once a year in summer days and pile up in the storeroom for the rest of the year. And Gangnaram used to handover the bill with a big smile and make a note in his big red-colored book. When probed why this mart only she confidently replied it's the barkat (staples should be filled once a year) and the trust she has with the mart. To this, I never questioned her nor dare to break this relationship that has been developed in these years.

On Diwali, we can see him praying before his book and when probed for the gift, and he used to oblige by printed or jute bags marketed by his mart's name. By default, he used to deliver the groceries to our place himself, and my mother used to chit chat about our and his life and the well beings. By default, his bill was paid on the month-end.

Even a day or two delays never a call or communication on the delay. My mom used to proactively let them know by what time it will be paid in case of any delay. As usual, I was astounded by his prolific arithmetic skills without any calculator or paper. Till date never found a single error in calculation.

Times have changed those were my childhood memories of him and his mart. Now when I visit his mart a lot of changes I can see. A new generation handling the counter, instead of the red-colored book I can see the counter guy with an android phone making some entries.

Marketing collaterals and UPI banners hogged at the entrance of his mart and insisting me to share a mobile contact number to update the profile. Just for curiosity, I asked him why does he need for and he flipped his mobile and was trying to show me something. And that's how I got acquainted with Khatabook App.

Never before I have got a demo like this, my foot was in my mouth literally. That day it got proved to be the great connection between the internet, the mobile, and the technology.

Features of Khatabook

  • 100% Free, Safe, and Secure.

  • Free SMS updates/Whatsapp to your customers on every transaction.

  • Automatic and Secure Online Backup.

  • Create Personal Khata books to manage udhaar/len-den of your friends & family.

  • Send WhatsApp payment reminder to your customers.

  • Manage multiple shops within one app.

  • Download your Customers PDF Report.

  • Use one khata book account on Multiple Phones.

  • Set a payment reminder date for your customer.

  • Secure your account book using App Lock.

  • Add/Edit a customer to the Khata book.

  • Add a transaction done by the customer.

  • Edit/delete old transactions.

  • Simple UX/UI design to manage.

  • Especially useful for shopkeepers and small and medium businesses doing sales on credit and len den. Any category of the shop can use: - Mobile Recharge and Electronics Shops - Kirana Shop, General Store, Grocery Store, Provision Store - Bakery, Snacks and Juice Shops - Jewelry shop, jauharee, gold seller - Medical Store, Local Pharmacy - Garments, tailor shop - Paan Shops, chai shop, cigarette dukaan - Personal Credit Book Keeping

Earlier shops used to have stickers on lives and quotes on business and business values I always used to check them at the door or the counter. So here is some humor to brighten up our lockdown life. Some Quotes on udhari.

The great Indian retail, Technology & MSME story

According to a survey report by Mitsui & Co. Global Strategic Studies, there are about 12 million Kirana shops in India with about ten stores per 1000 people, the highest density compared to any other county in the world. That’s why every street there is a Kirana store and still survive the competition and be a part of the competition as well.

Of that approximately 15k Kirana have digitized their operations on ordering, delivery, or payment with mobile apps. The overall adoption is still less.

Most merchants in developing markets are currently not online. They continue to rely on logging their financial transactions — credit, for instance — on notebooks and pieces of paper. As you can imagine, this methodology is not structured.

Check here and here and here for some retail market stats

Of course, every founder has a story behind the product, and PR has made it permissible to imprint the story in our minds as well.

However a perspective on the motivational factors as well.

According to the PwC study, In India, there are 12 million stores that are run by the family members (mom-and-pop stores) which constitutes more than 90% of the FMCG grocery sales.

Generally, these shop keepers sell their products on credit, and to recover that amount they have to maintain their ledger manually. Managing accounts this way, most of the time leads to uncertainty and confusion, which ultimately results in a loss.

Besides this, contributing more than 90% of the FMCG business, there was no technical support for these store owners. That is why the Khata Book launched its services in 2017 to help small shop owners.

As per Zinnovs reports

The number of Small-Medium Businesses (SMB) in India stands at a whopping ~75 Mn, offering a $30 Bn digital opportunity for companies to tap into. These Small Medium Businesses form a key pillar of the Indian economy, contributing close to 40% to the GDP in 2019

On 26th May 2020 we at Productfolks got an opportunity to host Shivangi Srivastav VP Products at Khatabook on “Building products for Bharat”

So a little more about our host of the day

She started her career from

Qualcomm – Software Engineer

Tazzo – Co & a tech founder

Swiggy – Pricing and Revenue team/professional product management.

Khatabook – VP for Products

What is MSME

As per Shivangi’s deck

Check here and here for the latest news on MSME’s

The Technology advantage and the disruptor

Nearly 90 percent of the retail market in the country is currently unorganized - a market that, if goes digital in the coming years, will open new avenues for the digital payments firms.

India recorded an accelerated growth rate of over 50 percent in the volume of retail electronic payment transactions in the last four years, according to the latest report by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The growth in 2018-19 was largely due to the steep growth in Unified Payments Interface (UPI)-based digital payments.

Credit and Finance for MSMEs: Small businesses are gradually shifting to the digital channel of recording transactions and book-keeping to streamline their operations and boost efficiency in cash flows

The global accounting software market is expected to cross $26,600 million by 2024 growing at CAGR of 8.92 percent, according to Market Research Future report

According to an Assocham-PWC study, digital payments in India will more than double to $135.2 billion in 2023 from $64.8 billion this year with a compounded annual growth of 20.2 percent.

With the spurt in smartphone users (the country has over 450 million smartphone users), digital payments and e-wallet companies are in for some fierce competition and with WhatsApp Pay arriving soon, and the game will only become intense

According to Ambarish Kenghe, Director, Product Management, Google Pay, India, more and more people are embracing Google Pay and the aim is to tap into the small and medium businesses (SMBs) and the neighborhood Kirana stores, thus empowering both the merchants and the consumers go digital seamlessly and securely.

The whole idea is to empower our users in India not just with making payments but to do that in a seamless and secure way," the Google Pay executive added

The KiranaNow proposition

Disruptive Quotient is DATA

Data is now cheap in India and smartphone use is on the rise. However, a large number of small businesses prefer recording business transactions in books. Most of them still rely on old practices such as making bills on paper.

Solution for all the chaos in practical businesses

Through a process of user-centered design thinking, they credit lending (udhari khata) experiences for the Kirana store users that yielded user and business benefits.

Empowering Kirana store users

Kirana store users can purchase goods in bulk quantity and at a discounted rate. This is possible because now the Kirana stores would directly buy from large aggregators as opposed to middlemen from the market. A credit line from renowned banks through our client also provided an added impetus to buy in bulk. The Khatabook app also provides notifications on transaction credit/debits performed so bt the end of the day /week or quarter the storekeeper does not have the depend on a single person or CA to get to know the financials or the liquidity of their stores. The app makes the lives of Kirana store users easy, thereby reducing their stress, regulates & track their transactions.

Improved decision making

The timely notifications and SMS from the app displays the current status for a customer/ vendor hereby making space for no ambiguous transactions or dealings. This helps improve decision making to buy in bulk as well as just-in-time buying, and to maintain low inventory.

Offers n special messages can be broadcasted to their customers in the time of emergency or lockdown. The app enables shopkeepers to add new customers in one click.

Design for the less tech-savvy

Since Kirana store users could come from varied backgrounds and are not very tech-savvy, they used simple language, the local language in the so that their users can understand easily. Less text and more visuals facilitated them to use the application with ease.


The app identified the brand attributes and redesigned an effective application by integrating brand language and consistency throughout the app, which helped in building trust and credibility for the brand. They have used visual language that would resonate with Kirana store users and is appropriate for retail space eg tik tok videos.

A feature allowing Kirana stores to print and label goods with their store name improved their branding and stickiness of the app.

Check here and here for more information on Kirana technology

The Khatabook story – empowering udhari khata(book-keeping)

Legally registered as ADJ Utility Apps Private Limited, the company was founded by Ravish Naresh, Jaideep Poonia, Ashish Sonone, and Dhanesh Kumar.

It is one of the 17 start-ups from the first cohort of Surge, Sequoia India's rapid scale-up program for early-stage start-ups in India and Southeast Asia. Y Combinator and Info Edge are also investors in Khatabook.

Headquartered in Bangalore Khatabook is a fintech based utility app amped with AI/machine learning to understand the nuances of the great Indian communication and business for the common man i.e the bottom pyramid i.e Disrupting the traditional approach to bookkeeping

Started in 2018, Khatabook achieved growth at an unfathomable rate. Right now, this digital ledger app has more than 10 million downloads on Google Play Store with 4.5 ratings.

Businesses can manage their credit accounts on the app, where transactions are recorded and available for review.

The company’s mobile app service shares WhatsApp and SMS reminders to users when the money is due to be paid or collected. The app also provides support in regional languages.

It helps businesses understand and make better decisions with reports that it generates.

The app also backs up all transactions online automatically, so that merchants don’t have to worry if they lose their smartphone.

Khatabook has raised a total of $173M in funding for over 6 weeks. Their latest funding was raised on May 20, 2020, from a series B round

Growth of Khatabook-Din dugni aur raat chauguni

Khatabook is an indigenous mobile app of India and in a sense, it is made for India only. To be precise, this app is made for small business owners like shopkeepers of grocery stores, departmental stores, or any other type of small shop. In India, it is quite common to buy goods from such stores and pay money later.

Hence, it becomes a tedious task for shop owners to manage the records of pending credits. Therefore, every shopkeeper has to manage a ledger book for such records which is a manual task and contains a lot of room for calculation and management errors.

As of August 2019, KhataBook recorded over $3 billion worth of transactions on its platform in 11 local languages This, the team adds, has cut down the receivables of merchants to half within a few weeks of onboarding them.

Khatabook says the app has helped its users recover approximately $5 billion stuck in credit in the space of six months. This trend can lead to a significant impact on India’s MSME sector.

It claims to have helped over five million merchants save over 600 working hours in a year, each. Its UPI-based payment platform is also doubling month-on-month. Khatabook has expanded its footprint across 3,000 cities in India

According to mobile insight firm AppAnnie, Khatabook had more than 910,000 daily active users as of earlier this month. To which Naresh has not commented on anything.

For several months now, the startup has been seeing 20% growth each week, he said. In six months, the app has helped businesses recover $5 billion in previously unpaid credits, Naresh claimed.

KhataBook says it is growing 20 percent every week and has use cases with more than 500 types of businesses. The team plans to launch other products for MSMEs in the next few months and aims to reach over 25 million Indian merchants in the next 12 months.

Without any marketing, the app has also gained a significant number of users in Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh said Naresh.

Talking about the company's plans to amplify its market leadership through this association, Ved Prakash, VP Marketing, Khatabook said, "Khatabook's initial growth came organically and we currently have a market penetration of 25-30%.

Also, Khatabook App has received the best innovative Mobile App award in 2020.

For more information kindly check here

Khatabook as a product

Some milestones

2016 - - Digital spending manager app

2018 - Khatabook - 5 billion transactions

2019 - Seed round Series A in October $87 million

2020 - Virtual round, MS Dhoni as a brand ambassador.

$60 million Series B was led by Facebook co-founder

Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital and other existing investors

Currently, Khatabook is valued at $275 million to $300 million

Key insights shared by Shivangi are

1) Having a load of User insights and getting elaborative feedback from the users

Defining the right persona is a must: What one as a product manager think that your users are and reality what your users are i.e a product manager might be from tier 1 cities and a different lifestyle altogether, however, the user's might differ or hail from tier 2 or tier 3 cities.

2) Depends where an individual hails from, the upbringing, the environment, the exposure, and the challenges. So user testing reveals all the layers and push towards for a better decision or OKR’s

Eg Shopkeeper form HSR differs from a shopkeeper in Rajasthan.

3) How do you check if there is a real problem

The key is too to do early pilot as early as possible and launch good MVPs

What people problem are we trying to solve -Need-based problems

How do we know if there is a real problem - Thought experiments and launching experiments?

How will we know if we have solved this problem -Qualitative and Quantitative feedback – Talk to customer, measure and analyze


Khatabook started off as a simple ledger to record transactions.

Iteration by iteration the team started adding the features to it.

PS: The MILK industry does not have a credit cycle.


In lockdown where there were limitations, the team came up with this ideation to design banners/posters on the mobile by adding data on the tap of the screen and sharing with customers through SMS/WhatsApp. The same concept applied to business cards. Branding does add the necessary impact and punch to have the necessary first impression of the product.

6) Not to mention that India has the fastest-growing population and the internet boom in rural areas has been sorted because of Jio and due to large demand the cost of the internet is also affordable. And the users that they are dealing with is using the internet for the first time and are baby boomers.


Thanks to all the education and mentoring done by various e-commerce apps and communication stalwarts like Whatsapp, Amazon, Flipkart. A normal/ first time is the user at least gets the hang of how to use the product. So they introduced these verbose initially when one logged in newly to help them traversing and educating on the usage.

Note from Shivangi: Kindly don’t assume things on customer’s behalf that they know or accustomed to the features. Test and incorporate the results. Rinsing and repeating.


The right information at the right time. The number of pop-ups to be introduced.

Note from Shivangi: It is tougher to design a simplistic and minimalistic product.


At Khatabook they have 11 languages for support and for every language they have a language manager who gets the content initially in English form the respective product manager and they translate it to respective native local languages.


Note from Shivangi: Designing with 11 different languages is a kind of hard and tedious process.


If a shopkeeper uses Khatabook for 3 months, they never leave as the trust factor has been laid. And this can be achieved by stating and displaying the safety and security of their data. Testimonials or sharing social proof from various users and of course great customer support in case stuck or any obstacle or hurdle or clarification required if any. Credit-lending and bookkeeping involves lots of policies and frameworks and subjects to new laws of GST and taxes.



A brand or a product should maintain the mystery and should also go organically through the mouth of word publicity. To provide value first.


Cost = Data=Money

If any app uses lots of data the next moment it is uninstalled

Eg Why Youtube is a preferred medium as it works on low bandwidth

Khatabook app can be installed on any version of Andriod or iOS phones

Mental model and visuals the culture of your user is accustomed to

Eg Ludo King

What appeals to the target audience? For the Khatabook audience, raw and realistic videos created on TikTok is preferred rather than the sophisticated videos of a brand. Visual preferences are different .

For content – talking the talk and walking the walk. The way they communicate in their day to day life the app should communicate the same way. That's how the user is pushed to use the app.

Book recommendation by Shivangi– The CEO factory by Sudhir Sitapati

Question and Answer

1) On the operations as a strategy?

Eg tik tok – best video creation tool which can create videos in the sec and not because of videos and the ease of swiping. Shivangi is already in awe of HUL and ITC how the supply chain network is running live nerves in rural and urban areas as well. You can find Parle G biscuits and Kurkure on every shop or pan joints as well

I could not help myself with case study on Suhana Masala makers, how they pushed their product in the market by approaching to all the butcher shops and convince to sell their product/sachets along with the main raw product and soon Suhana masala raked its spot with Pravin Masale who has been into this traditional business from the start.

2) Key challenges and blockers for the shopkeepers to adapt the product

Shopkeepers shy away from white practices on GST and taxes and the main reason is the attitude towards that technology will expose them, what if they posted it online will they be tracked and that is the only reason that tally is offline . 30 % merchant pay taxes they either use CA or tally to do it.

3) How you conduct experiments to validate those hypotheses and share examples of it

Shivangi is inspired by the framework which Swiggy uses i.e inspired hypothesis used by

Scientists. It should be no brainer and universal accepted law i.e users will not question it

Eg Sun rises in the east

Insights  hypothesis data experimentation Fail/Pass

In case of failure revisit the hypothesis and re-correct the course and follow the rinse and repeat model

A/B testing to the rescue.

4) What is it like testing for Bharat?

User research is a must. Understand and analyze what users don't get and what you want your product to achieve (do u want them to use all the 4 features)

Don’t have to push every feature to everyone (personalization and customization is a must)

Establish which they already know (taking inspiration from WhatsApp and TikTok, however not over boarding)

5) Growth hacks for Bharat/ Khatabook?

eg raw native Tik Tok ad worked for Khatabook

It's ok to fail, however not learning from the failure is setting up for the next disaster

Some of the growth hacks applied in the past are

  • Brand understanding

  • Revamping Google search/display strategy

  • Funnel Approach

  • TikTok audience

  • Affiliate marketing

  • Customer research

  • Vernacular market

Check here for more on social media strategy

6) How to create a persona for Bharat

User persona- Bangalore Kirana stores will give more insights on Apps, technology, and QR codes. So main factors to be considered while defining/building the persona is

  • Geography

  • Earning capacity – turnover of the shop

  • Usage

7) Bharat use cases that have been floating around for some time on the internet

Shopkeepers use to send bills to the vendor and then vendors started using Khatabook

People who play poker use Khatabook to track their earnings

People using Khatabook for personal usage e.g. split wise

Recording for cash transactions eg electricity bill, shopping, etc

8) How to make a light-weighted App

Off course loading pages and designers should not crunch too many animations stuff for the heck of it. Put only what is needed, low weight fonts.

9) Growth journey for apps like Bharath and how to prioritize shipping products

Divide offerings into 4/ 5 buckets i.e retention, growth, etc on a global level and allocate some bandwidth or %. Revise those on the outputs quarter by quarter

Global alignment what you want to focus on and what you won't and allocate your resources accordingly. Some organic growth from the product all the time.Dedicated bandwidth for growth. Important to have some experiments running on growth

10) How to reach and build MVP for Bharath

Initially do one thing right and do it very well and build upon it further.

User testing, actually talks to customers, don't assume things.

11) Reward or incentivize strategy for Bharath

None. Khatabook don't want to build behaviors which they don't want to support further in future

Basic, refer & earn a thing, however not trying or forcing the audience to promote

Will not support any practices which are not sustainable.

12) Once one has an initial set of folks how does one crack the distribution game

  • Word of mouth publicity Right place and Right people and right occasion to talk about the app

  • That’s why SMS work for Khatabook

  • Identify Single marketable identity and market it every well.

  • Build a feature around it very well.

13) Advice and suggestions for folks who are not from technical background how they make their career into product management.

Not a compulsion to be a coder /programmer

Basic understanding of the technology and how it operates.

New joiners should attend sessions from the technology department, to get a hang about the architecture of the technology the company is using

The flow of information from one page to another.

14) User adoption in-app like Khatabook

Solving for 80 % of the personas is ok

It's a completely disorganized market how one solves the distribution problem

It's not about how many features get added, it's about what they understand and what's in it for them. Eg Udaan has been working on the supply chain aspect for quite some time and she is impressed by the way things are showing up.

Unlearn and learn (those designs and copy-writes are not for you however for the target audience)

Future revisions for the product might be any of these types

  • In-App Calculator: Do calculations while doing entries, in the app.

  • Share Picture/Notes Records: Click and share your transaction-related images.

  • New Entry: Record notes/images with each entry in a single go

The business model for Khatabook

The business model of Khatabook is as simple as it can be. A shopkeeper can easily register with an email ID and phone number. With a simple process, he/she can add customers with their name, contact number, and payment information.

The payment information is categorized into two parts, A. What You Get, and B. What You Give. As the name of the categories suggests, What You Get is the payment that a customer owes the user and What You Give is the payment that the user needs to return to the customer or the advanced money paid by the customer. All the information is saved within the app and connected to the account details. The automatically makes the backup of the entire information. Hence, it is pretty much like a ledger, but in a smartphone. Its simplicity is one of the reasons it is famous among its millions of users.

From within the app, users or shopkeepers can send text reminders of due payment via SMS or WhatsApp. The text message contains a payment link as well which allows customers to pay their dues with just a few taps on the screen. Khatabook supports UPI, therefore; shopkeepers can receive payments right into their bank accounts.

This simple business model helps shopkeepers to get their due payment back three times faster while maintaining a healthy customer relationship.

The revenue model for Khatabook

Currently, the Khatabook company is still exploring the ways of earning revenue from the app. Therefore, it is not easy to say what revenue they are incorporating right at the moment. However, they are consistently working on it. For example, the company has applied for its Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) license which indicates that lending can be a part of revenue generation for the company in the near future.

That being said, let's talk about some potential revenue models for an app like Khatabook:


Smartphone users are willing to spend on premium apps now more than ever. Therefore, it can be a good option to earn revenue from paid services. Khatabook can offer customers some advanced features for them they customer can pay either in a one-time payment method or in a subscription-based model.

In-App Ads

In-app ads are a very common way of generating revenue with the help of third-party advertisements. Showing customers advertisements of related services and products of related 3rd party services and products is a very sustainable method of swelling revenue by a significant margin.


Khatabook app currently free to use for its users. However, to earn revenue on behalf of the service provided, the commission-based revenue model seems lucrative. A fixed percentage of commission can be deducted from every transaction made between customers and shopkeepers. This commission-based model can be applied for the shopkeepers with the number of transactions exceeding from a fixed limit.


KhataBook is unique in the finance technology sector and has no major competitors. However, OkCredit and Vyapaar app are the closest competition KhataBook has in the market currently.


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