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It's called branchless banking: the ability to provide small, abundant access points and mobile solutions for the rural population living outside the range of most banking institutions. In this audio interview, Sheela Sethuraman speaks with one of branchless banking's greatest proponents and the co-founder of Eko India Financial Services, Abhishek Sinha. Beginning in 2007, Abhishek and his brother Abhinav began conceptualizing ways in which small, local businesses could provide the brick-and-mortar storefronts for rural banking customers, while basic cell phones would meet all of the technological needs. Having now partnered with India's two largest banks, Eko India provides customers with the ability to set up their own bank in less than 15 minutes. Creating simple methods to convert physical into electronic currency has streamlined rural remittance transactions, and is just one of many reasons that Abhishek and Abhinav Sinha have been named The Tech Awards 2011 laureates of the Flextronics Economic Development Awards.
Abhishek Sinha believes in creation of wealth and degrees of freedom. He started his career with Satyam Computers and worked for their telecom division for a couple of years. In 2002, he co-founded Six Dee Telecom Solutions (6d Technologies), a telecom value-added services company. He grew this business to span nine countries and fifteen operators. He implemented m-commerce products in his last start-up and always wondered why the focus was not on serving customers who had no bank accounts and cards. He exited Six Dee in February 2007 to pursue his vision to promote mobile phones as a financial identity for people at the bottom of the pyramid. This was was further validated when he won the TIE-Canaan Entrepreneurial Challenge in 2006. Abhishek holds a BE in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra.