Neha Mehta's Interview on
Date: 7 Nov 2023
Author: Neha Mehta
Can you explain what a “Super App” is and its significance in the fintech industry?
A “Super App” is a comprehensive platform that integrates various services within a single application, providing users with a one-stop solution for their diverse needs, be it payments, shopping, healthcare, or entertainment. This closed ecosystem offers a seamless and efficient user experience, allowing access to multiple services in one place.
In the fintech industry, Super Apps have revolutionized the way users interact with financial services, creating an all-encompassing and convenient platform for various financial needs, disrupting the traditional fragmented model of separate apps for different services.
What inspired you to focus on the topic of Super Apps in your upcoming book?
The inspiration behind delving into the world of Super Apps for my book stemmed from
witnessing the transformative impact these platforms have had, especially in regions like Asia. The convergence of various services into a single, user-friendly application is reshaping the way people interact with technology and financial services.
Recognizing the potential and the need to educate and shed light on this groundbreaking concept, I aimed to provide insights into how Super Apps are reshaping the fintech landscape, democratizing access to financial services, and altering the way businesses operate.
Being deeply involved in the FinTech industry, specializing in digital financial services, payment systems, and financial inclusion across diverse markets, I witnessed firsthand the transformative potential of Super Apps in enhancing financial accessibility. The inspiration behind focusing on Super Apps for my upcoming book stems from their unparalleled impact on reshaping the way individuals access and utilize financial services.
My professional journey, working closely with financial regulators across key Asian markets and my commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, has allowed me to observe the pivotal role of technology in driving financial inclusion and sustainability. The concept of Super Apps aligns perfectly with these interests and my efforts to bridge the gender gap in FinTech and financial services.
Moreover, being a recipient of prestigious awards, such as the Globant Digital Disruptors Award for pioneering changes in transaction methodologies in the SEA region, and being recognized for contributions to women’s empowerment, has further motivated me to delve deeper into the Super App phenomenon.
The potential of Super Apps to revolutionize user experiences, foster financial inclusion, and possibly contribute to environmental sustainability aligns profoundly with my interests in driving positive change in multiple spheres, from finance to the environment and social development.
In your opinion, how have Super Apps disrupted the traditional fintech landscape?
Super Apps have fundamentally disrupted the traditional fintech landscape by consolidating multiple services into a single, user-centric platform. They have streamlined access to financial services, enhancing user convenience and engagement.
Instead of using different apps for various financial needs, Super Apps offer an all-in-one solution. This disruption has democratized financial access, bringing it to a broader audience and fostering financial inclusion, thus challenging the traditional siloed approach of financial service delivery.
Could you share some examples of successful Super Apps and what sets them apart?
The book delves into the success stories of Super Apps such as WeChat, Grab, Paytm, Kakao, and others. What sets these platforms apart is their ability to offer a wide array of services seamlessly integrated into a single application, from payments to shopping to transportation and beyond. These apps have effectively created ecosystems that cater to various needs, enhancing user experience and engagement, ultimately leading to their success.
As an advocate for women in fintech, do you see any gender-specific impacts or opportunities in the Super App space?
The Super App space presents significant opportunities for women in fintech. As these
platforms redefine how financial services are accessed and used, they create an inclusive
space where diverse perspectives and talents can thrive.
By advocating for more gender diversity and inclusion in tech and fintech, we can ensure that Super Apps are designed with a broader understanding of user needs, thereby enhancing the overall user experience and addressing diverse financial needs.
Within the realm of Super Apps, there are specific instances where gender inclusivity is
showcased. For instance, in Indonesia, Gojek’s Super App model has not only empowered women by providing job opportunities as drivers but has also significantly contributed to financial inclusion.
The app’s multifaceted services, such as GoPay, have enabled female entrepreneurs to reach a broader market, providing a platform for selling products or services. These apps offer an accessible marketplace, fostering economic empowerment for women entrepreneurs.
Additionally, Super Apps focusing on healthcare services can particularly benefit women, offering access to telemedicine and healthcare information, providing an avenue for them to address health concerns effectively.
Can you discuss the potential for Super Apps to drive sustainability and address climate change issues? East vs. West comparison
The book delves into how Super Apps have the potential to drive sustainability by consolidating services, reducing the need for multiple physical transactions, and thereby minimizing carbon footprints. It highlights how these platforms promote a shift from offline to digital services, ultimately contributing to environmental sustainability.
The East has seen significant strides in this direction, especially in regions like Asia. In comparison, the West is yet to embrace the concept fully. The book serves as a wake-up call for Western developers and tech companies, emphasizing the potential to reshape offerings in a manner that not only benefits businesses but also addresses sustainability concerns.
The success of Super Apps in the East is notably propelled by their ability to address diverse needs in a singular platform. For instance, in China, WeChat has transformed from a messaging app to a comprehensive Super App.
By integrating transportation, payment, and social interactions, it has significantly reduced the reliance on paper documents, contributing to sustainability efforts. Additionally, the success of Super Apps in the East is due to their adaptability to local contexts, catering to specific market demands more effectively than generalized apps from the West.
In addressing climate change, the multifunctional nature of Super Apps reduces the need for multiple physical transactions, potentially decreasing paper usage and energy consumption.
For instance, the payment services within these apps have significantly reduced the reliance on physical currency, aligning with sustainable practices. As for their potential impact in the West, the emergence of Super Apps presents an opportunity to consolidate services, potentially reducing waste and carbon footprints.
However, its success might require tailoring the services to match the Western market’s expectations and regulatory environments, which can take time to adapt.
About the Author
You can connect with Neha Mehta on LinkedIn
Lawyer and sustainability expert focused on ‘People’, ‘Planet’ and ‘Prosperity’. As a former international civil servant, Neha has been involved in international affairs, multilateral diplomacy, policymaking, and development efforts towards SDGs on a global scale. As the founder of FemTech Partners, Neha’s work is at the helm of technology and innovation to amplify women’s voices and perspectives.
Neha has worked with financial regulators to develop policies that address gender equality, financial inclusion, and climate change to build a more equitable and sustainable financial landscape. These policies contribute to positive social and environmental outcomes and create a more responsible and inclusive financial sector.
Neha’s portfolio of work includes climate finance, sustainability, waste management, venture capital, hedge fund, and FinTech. Neha is passionate about diversity, inclusion, and equity (DEI), and women in tech. She holds a Double degree in Law and Commerce and attended King’s College, London on Chevening Fellowship. Neha has 18 years’ experience across Asia, Oceania and Europe.
Neha is featured in FinTech 50, 2019 and 2020, Asia’s 50 Most Influential Women in Renewable Energy, 2020, and “Global Future Fintech Leader” Award at the Fintech Festival Abu Dhabi 2020. Neha is a legal and finance professional with 18 years of experience in Asia and Europe. She holds a double degree in Law and Commerce from the University of Delhi and attended King’s College, London on Chevening Fellowship.