Available in three variants — Platinum, Gold and Silver — the programme offers customers an eponymous Current Account. New businesses (up to 10 years old) including partnerships, private and public limited companies as well as limited liability partnerships can opt for the Current Account. Further, startups can open an account and get the account number at the time of incorporation as the Bank has integrated its APIs with the website of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA).
It offers convenience to founders/entrepreneurs as it saves time and effort since they don’t have to fill details again to apply for an account. The Bank also sends an official to startups at a time of their choice to verify the original documents for KYC.
Other benefits of the Current Account include availability of a Relationship Manager, premium savings account for promoters and salary accounts for employees and waiver of quarterly average balance for a year. Additionally, startups can customise and choose the facilities required in their account and use the single account for both domestic and international trade transactions with preferential pricing, both industry first services.
The beyond banking services are available under an umbrella, ‘Startup Assist‘ that offers services, in association with partners, to help startups in their early stage as well as growth stage. Typically, startups spend a lot of time and bandwidth to reach out to individual service providers. With ‘Startup Assist’, they can avail the convenience of a single-point access to a host of services. It consists of a ‘set-up’ concierge, which gives them access to an array of experts at a discounted price to help the startup with complex services like company registration, taxation, compliance, logistics, facility management among others.
Additionally, for startups wanting to expand business digitally in the virtual world, a ‘Digital Concierge’ is available. It offers solutions for services ranging from website development & hosting, social media marketing, SEO & SEM among others, thus making the digital transformation of a startup simpler and easier. All of these services are available through a dedicated concierge helpline or via an app or an email. Further, the Bank has tied up with various other companies to bring in attractive offers on solutions for instance on ‘Work-From-Home’, IT hardware deals, web-hosting, accounting software, telecom packages, printing and stationery among others.
Speaking about the initiative, Pankaj Gadgil, Head- Self Employed Segment, ICICI Bank said in a statement, “The MSME & self-employed segment in India is the backbone of the economy. Within this, we foresee that the startup segment in the country is poised for rapid growth with favourable regulations in the ecosystem and high spirit of entrepreneurship. We believe that ‘iStartup 2.0’ offers them unprecedented convenience of getting on-boarded with us instantly in a digital manner during incorporation with MCA. It provides a ‘one-stop-shop’ for nearly all the early stage as well as growth stage needs of a startup.”
Delving on the insights found in their research, Gadgil added that they found record startups registrations in July on MCA site with more than 20,000 companies getting registered in July 2020. The build up in August, they found, was even higher than July and the first 10 days of September also indicate that the trend is continuing. “We saw that there is buzz around more companies coming in the space of the startup ecosystem. We also found other clear trends such as startups shifting the growth of the non-metro markets. Coupled with federal regulations and high spirit of entrepreneurship, we are foreseeing that the startup segment is poised for rapid growth in the country,” he asserted.
Ease of doing business came up as a critical factor for new businesses in the research findings and that startups need immense hand-holding initially for other areas of business like website development, digital marketing, staffing solutions, regulatory and tax solutions and accounting. “The programme will offer easy banking and beyond banking services to startups, free up their bandwidth from paper-intensive procedures and help boost their business growth by improving overall productivity and efficiency,” he highlighted while addressing the media on a conference call.
Some of the other key prominent features of iStartup 2.0 programme include banking features such as availability of corporate internet banking platform and trade online, automatic bank reconciliation via ‘Connected Banking’ with over 40 popular accounting / ERP platforms, zero processing fee and commitment charges on fixed deposits / overdrafts as well as group health and personal accident cover.