The origins of Apollo Finvest 🦸🏻
You are a 35+ year old company! 😮 What was Apollo doing all these years? How did you guys get here? We get asked these questions a lot from employees, potential team members, customers and investors. This is our long story, short🌛
Apollo Finvest was incorporated in the year 1985 by a legendary entrepreneur Mr Ramesh Innani who had very ambitious plans for the company 🦹♀️. He had an IPO, got the company listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, obtained an NBFC license from RBI and was on the path to take it to great heights until his untimely and unfortunate demise in 1996 💔
Fast forward to 2015, the company primarily invests its own equity capital in various asset classes. This was when I, Diksha, joined the company 😎. It felt like a vintage car covered in dust waiting for someone to take it out for a spin 🚗
Why did I join Apollo Finvest?
At that point in my career, I was with HDFC Ltd which in car analogies would be considered to be the equivalent of a proven and sturdy German car 💪
During my stint there, I had written to Renu Karnad, the MD of HDFC Ltd asking her why in this day and age of technology every loan application was yet assessed on a physical paper and why were we taking a month to process our customer’s home loan applications? She was kind enough to acknowledge these challenges and encouraged me to bring about change at HDFC. I huffed and I puffed but making gigantic changes at a mammoth company was brutally difficult. I realised this could only be done if this was the number 1 priority of the company’s leadership team. This was not the case and I was eager to move faster ⚡️. That’s when I decided to take the bull by the horns and join Apollo Finvest
My first few years at Apollo were not easy, to say the least.
Speed had a whole new meaning in Apollo then! I was scandalised when I saw that emails were dictated to and typed by an assistant and not sent out by the manager himself 😧. Was I dreaming of a Ferrari in a Maruti?
I realised we had the infrastructure and the history. Infrastructure was key from a regulatory perspective and history taught us what did not work in the past if not what to do in the future. Apollo needed a spark✨ to bring it back to life. It needed a change in driver and a new direction 🧭
I started my mission with 2 things on my to-do list
Hire like-minded team members to support the new vision of the company
Hiring at that point was critical and the most challenging thing to do
Convincing amazing talent to join an old-school-looking company and making them believe we could together transform it was like selling a bag of magic beans
But just like magnets, one likeminded hire followed another 👫
Parallelly things started getting too fast and furious 🏎 for the traditional folks in the company. There was a clear DNA transformation happening and while some people absolutely loved it, it just was not some people’s cup of tea. Before we knew it, we had a good mix of passionate young folks and experienced individuals👊
It was clear that something was happening at Apollo. It was the first sign of a sea of change which was to follow 🌷
Figure out the vision of the company
Technology was disrupting 💣 every industry
I had a hunch that financial services would be next. I had seen the need for this first hand with my stint at HDFC 🔮
This thesis started to have some legs when I started chatting with fintech founders across the country and understanding the challenges and opportunities they were seeing in the space. I learned that
The only way to achieve financial inclusion in India was by infusing technology into financial services 🤖
Traditional banks were reluctant to work with Fintech’s
If Apollo built the right technology infrastructure, we could become a key pillar in moving the industry forward
To test out these theories, we decided to begin pilots with a few fintechs
These pilots served as a great proof of concept. It told us 1 thing clearly: Apollo’s tech was a key attraction for Fintech’s to work with us. We needed to double down on this and convert this vintage car to a Tesla! 😎
This is when I convinced Mikhil Innani, our company’s tech DNA, to take the driver’s seat and drive us full steam ahead into the future. And as they say, the rest is history 🤍
Our journey and experience from the early years at Apollo taught us many invaluable lessons. To mention a few:
True change can happen ☀️ in any company but only if the leader believes in and drives the change themselves
Leaders need an A1 team with the right cultural wavelength to execute🤝
Every company needs to be adaptable to change. Business environments can change, and competition can change but if the company does not move with the times, it will go the way of the dinosaurs 🦖
At Apollo, as proud as we are of our present, we remind ourselves every day of our origins and ask ourselves the question: What are we building today to continue deserving a place in the future?
I have not seen any incredible changes done by Apollo Finvest in the Industry. No Nothing is Special
What a ride!! Yet so intriguing question.