ZestMoney and Stellaps chosen as WEF’s Technology Pioneers 2020

By KTP Radhika


FinTech company ZestMoney provides affordable EMI while Stellapps helps rural dairy farms to function better.

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Each year the World Economic Forum recognises a specific number of companies as Technology Pioneers. These are firms that are in the early to growth-stage from around the world and are involved in the design, development, and deployment of new technologies and innovations. The companies are chosen from more than 1000 submissions based on the impact they create in business and society. Technology Pioneers can participate in WEF’s workshops and also can be part of high-level discussions with policymakers and private sector leaders for the next two years in WEF’s platforms. Globally recognised firms such as Google, Twitter, Palantir, Airbnb, and Wikimedia were part of this list earlier.

This year two Indian start-ups have entered in the Technology Pioneers list, and they have a few things in common. Both these firms are based out of Bangalore and harness the power of AI and ML to offer their solutions. While ZestMoney is a fintech company that helps millions of households in India gain access to affordable credit and EMIs with the help of AI-based machine learning engine, Stellapps, India’s first dairy technology solutions company employs AI to increase productivity in the milk supply chain, improve milk quality. We look at these companies their solutions in detail.


Founded in 2015 by Lizzie Chapman, Priya Sharma and Ashish Anantharaman, ZestMoney is one of the largest AI-driven digital financing platforms in India. The company provides affordable instant EMIs to online customers, thereby enabling shoppers with no credit card history to shop. For this, the company has built a platform that facilitates real-time credit decisions based on alternative data sources.

“We strive to empower every Indian through affordable credit. Many of our customers have no access to credit cards or other formal financing options due to insufficient credit history” says Lizze Chapman, one of the founders and CEO. To solve this problem, ZestMoney has come up with a B2B2C model. The company work closely with over 3,000 partners and offer credits to their customers to avail services from these partners. The company till now has over 6 million registered users. A large part of our customers is from tier II and III cities,” she adds.

AI-based model

ZestMoney has an automated back-end with an AI-based machine learning decision engine. “With the use of machine learning and alternate data, as well as the data from our customer base, we have built a risk assessment models using AI. This is incredibly accurate and is able to analyse an impressive number of data points,” says Chapman. “We have continuously experimented with new sources of data and keep our model updated. Our early bets on AI and ML give us a distinctive edge from other players in the ecosystem,” she says.

Apart from this, ZestMoney also uses AI-based assistance for voice-based interaction and vernacular application and uses intelligent OCR and document enhancement processes to serve its customers.


Founded by Ranjith Mukundan, Ravishankar G, Shiroor Praveen Nale, Ramakrishna Adukuri, and Venkatesh Seshasayee in 2011, Stellapps Technologies has developed a line of connected products and solutions to optimise the agricultural supply chain across milk production, milk procurement, cold chain, animal insurance, and farmer payments.

“In the Agri sector, especially in dairy farming, there is a huge need for remote management and control. Agri is rural and remote,” says Mukundan. “Because of its very nature, it is difficult to get local expertise on-premise. With AI and IoT based technologies, we can immensely improve the farm productivity levels, quality of the farm produce and efficiently track supply chain inefficiencies,” he says.

AI aids farming

Stellapps uses AI to increase productivity in the milk supply chain, improve milk quality and enable traceability. From credit linkage for farmers to monitoring animal health, AI finds application in several of Stellapps smartMoo suite of applications. The sensors in the farms automatically acquire data. “This data is captured and analysed by our machine learning algorithms on the cloud,” Mukundan says.

Stellapps has developed its farmer creditworthiness score called mooScore. The AI-powered mooScore calculates the farmer’s creditworthiness based on his or her milk, pouring data and credit history. mooScore thus gives banks a reliable real-time measure of a farmer’s creditworthiness. Stellapps also uses AI to enable Facial recognition of cows. Apart from these AI is used in cold chain analytics and assessing cattle health.

 As a next step, Stellapps is exploring new use cases for AI-powered predictive analytics models to enable preventive healthcare of cattle and ensure preventive maintenance of supply chain equipment. “This is expected to create cost savings for both dairy processors as well as smallholder farmers. We also plan to use Natural Language Processing to enhance usability and create user-centric solutions,” Mukundan sums up.

About the author

KTP Radhika

KTP Radhika writes on business and technology. She has worked with Network 18 Group, The Indian Express Group and Deccan Chronicle. Currently, she is a consultant writer with Business Today and NASSCOM. Her work was shortlisted for the Shriram Awards for the year 2019.

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