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Why Yodaa?

Imagine yourself graduating at the age of 22 with the bachelor's degree of your choice and a job offer paying the desired financial incentives. It should have been a smooth ride forward from there right? 

Expect that now comes the real-life hits with bills, a need to save and invest. You are never trained in budgeting or in the creation of wealth.

Unlike western society, in India and SEA teens are dependent on their parents for daily expenses and often stay with them until they graduate. Teenagers have very limited options to learn about financial literacy. They have been trained in applied sciences and fine arts, but nobody taught them about wealth, the value of compound interest, and how much of an impact careful financial planning can have on their future financial freedom.

Financial management is best learned through, well, managing finances. However, teenagers are usually stuck with a parent’s secondary card, with no visibility on how it works and no modern ways to manage their own allowances.

- 78% of teens in India & SE Asia use cash to manage day-to-day expenses
- 45% of teens in India & SE Asia do not get pocket money, hence never learn money management or savings habits
- Teens are traditionally dependent on their parents’ cards for online or offline card-based purchases
- Teens do not have any formal exposure to financial education; this is not taught in schools, leading to potentially costly financial mistakes later in life.

Yodaa’s development will occur in tandem with the needs of its teen community, essentially allowing them to BYOB (Build Your Own Bank).‍

Through Yodaa, we’re attempting to empower teen users, by providing savings products that reward good financial decisions and by providing access to microcredit to inculcate sound borrowing mindsets. As our users navigate this newfound financial freedom, they will also have access to Yodaa’s curated learning platform, unlocking new benefits for taking the time to study the basics of personal finance. Instead of rewarding users for excessive spending, Yodaa’s rewards are linked to good financial awareness.

The Challenge

community driven

Our goal for the project was to build a teen bank that enables them to learn, save and understand money better. We wanted to empower GenZ by giving them the financial freedom to make their own transactions online or offline. The responsibility was to enable the young generation to be prepared for later life and teach them money management. This involved making them save money, helping them invest, and also optimizing the spending. 

The other persona was the parent, who is always worried and wants the best for their teens. Till now parents have never been comfortable with teens making their own financial decisions. Our aim was to build a product that is joyful to use for the teens and trusted by parents.

To add to the complexity, we were also among the first ones to do this, hence we were not just building a product we were actually defining a category in itself.

Phone 04.png


from fragments

After the wireframe, the product team started shaping up the product really quickly, defining exactly what we wanted to build. The primary focus was to build something which induced the right financial behavior in the teens.

The brief we all finalized was


"Yodaa will allow teenagers to send-request money, save money, manage money and split bills with their siblings and friends. Also allowing to consume expert-curated learn module rewarding the right financial behaviour.

For parents, it would be the safest community their teen could be part of and transfer their teen's personal expenses to their Yodaa card on the fly. They could view transactions and contribute their part to the teen's stash."

We were clear the privacy of teens to be completely preserved as a high priority, hence checks and balances were also put in places on who could see their profile on Yodaa, who could chat or transact with them, and if parent can access their transactional data.

The Design Phase

Introducing Yodaa

In the fast-moving world of today, we enable GenZ to transact freely and make financial decisions wiser and simpler. The core design philosophy was to increase the "Happiness Quotient" as the user interacted with the product. Each journey was crafted and iterated to deliver delight to the users.

The Onboarding

We were not just designing the product, but we're building a behavioral change in young teens. We were sure about users having many doubts and questions as Yodaa was something new and unfamiliar. Hence we spent hours building an onboarding flow that was intuitive, fun, and self-guiding. To start with was taking the decision to have an explore module that helped the users to understand the product and get a full experience before signing up. This did help us to educate the users before they onboarded and also build the trust factor in the early steps itself.

We had two onboarding flows in a single app, a "Teen" or a "Parent". We iterated each flow to align ourselves with the compliance of our banking partners preserving the onboarding time to be less than 5 mins. for each user.

Kick - off

Working backwards

from perfect

During the pandemic when the world has come to a halt, we decided to embark on a journey to build a teen bank. After the initial brief, we decided to do a small survey to discover the financial needs of a GenZ.. We also did 1-on-1 interviews to understand the pain points.

The survey helped us understand a few behavioural traits of GenZ. 


With the insights from the survey, the product team decided to define the scope. We decided on the building that would cover the financial needs as well as embed the social aspect into the product. 


This marked the beginning of the design sprint, starting with the making of the wireframes.

My Resposibilities as a Product Designer

  • Ideate and create a delightful experience for the end-users.

  • Build a robust design foundation for the product with scalability in mind

  • Build and manage the design team for Yodaa.

  • Collaborate with other stakeholders and different teams


2019 - Present


Atlantis Tech

Reference Link



Building a Teen Bank

Building a Teen Bank

My Resposibilities as a Product Designer

  • Ideate and create a delightful experience for the end-users.

  • Build a robust design foundation for the product with scalability in mind

  • Build and manage the design team for Yodaa.

  • Collaborate with other stakeholders and different teams


2019 - Present


Atlantis Tech

Reference Link

Website Link | App Link



Priortizing Saving over Spending

With Yodaa, we wanted to bring a significent dent in the consumer behavior. What better way than teaching teens to save before spending with a financial tool in their hand. We made a digital experience which is seamless with an option to make recurring auto-debit saving plan. This worked as seamless as setting up a recurring event on Google Calendar. 

We also took help from Parents to encourage their teens to actively save. We enabled parents to join their teens savings plan and chip in their contribution at the end of each month. This was to instill a emotional aspect in teen making them understand saving for long time can get greater incentives.

The above was the easier part, but discouraging teens to withdraw their savings needed us to look further. We knew we had to give teens the freedom to withdraw their savings at their own will, but breaking the stash meant discontinuing a active habit of saving. This took us to building Yo-Cash, another hero-feature and a emergency cash reserve tool for the teens. We also introduced a deliberate obstraction while withdrawal which intends to make the teens re-think before each withdrawals. 

A friend in need is a friend indeed

Yodaa as a brand has always been focused on being a friend than a just payment instrument. Every month end there is a time when every teen needs an extra buffer of cash. We made Yo-Cash as a feature which offers 15 days interest-free credit to teenagers. There were two reasons for buidling this. One being a easy accessibility to emergency funds for teens while the other was to discourage teens from breaking their stash. 

We also introduced something new to the world of credit finance by introducing tip fee. This was not interest but a token of thanks which users left to Yodaa as they used Yo-cash.  They could leave a tip as minimum as Rs.10 and use the Yo Cash.

What schools don't teach

Building a smart teen community needed a module that helped teens to understand the world of finance and acquire new skills. We curated some of the best resources available on the internet which just covered topics across , history, life lessons, and finance. Some of the resources were accompanied by quizzes and rewards in the form of Yo Coins. 

Invest as you spend

Learning about investments and multiplication of your savings through investment is essential for creating wealth. The investment options for the teens are very limited from the regulatory point of view and the best low risk solution was investments in digital gold. We enabled teens to invest in gold as they spend with just a toggle button. The concept was simple old fashion, investing the spare change after rounding it up to the nearest multiple of 10. The another benefit was the teens can actually mint their gold coin with a minimum value of 0.5gms. This was just to encourage them to invest further and also make them realise how the ocean of wealth is created by just adding drops. 

Socials and community

To build a community, it's important to connect this community together as well. We took a step in this direction by introducing a sharable Yodaa Page and also a feature to discover other teens who shared your interests. 

The profile page was to like a personal website that you could easily customize, update your bio and social links. This helped teens to build their own identity in the community. On the other hand, the discover feature was to connect with similar community members based on age, location, and interests shared. Both these features helped knit the social factor into the product thus helping the business achieve to build a very highly socially valued community of smart teens.

Managing it wisely

Knowing where the money was spend or transfered to is the key to building a better financial habit. We enabled teen to gain insights to their spending. We also added Expense Tracker where teens can record other expenses which were not Yodaa spendings. This was never an ask from the customer but as a habit builder tool we felt the necessity of it.

For parents, we enabled the power of setting budget on each category of spending. Thought they could only access the teens spend data with the permission of their teens.

The Evolution

It's still Day One

As we launched, we knew we were at war. We were closely watching each of the onboardings and user actions on the app.  We knew that there were big gaps in the product and needed to form a plan to prioritise fixes.


Some of the key learning we gained were as follows.

- Parents were too busy to help the teens to complete the onboarding and get the cards approved for their teens

- Indian market loves Freemium products 

- Referal programs really needs to be too exciting to be true.

As we learned, we immediately started with fixing. There were some problem which clearly didn't have a quick turn around. Some of the iteration delivered did increase our key metrics significantly. 

We revisited the pricing model from where we started. We did introduce a Freemium plan for basic users. The onbaording was focused on teen rather than on the parent. We allowed teens to complete the KYC of their parents and get their card created. This two major changes helped us to increase customer onboarding significantly. 

Coming to the referrals we tried three different approaches, before settling for the referral code based program. We were highly unsuccessful in nailing the FOMO based referral program as the reward was less exciting itself and it involved a lot of steps.

After operating the product for over a year and onboarding 1K paid users, we decided to put the product to a pause and divert our energies to a bigger problem to solve. Hence the team set the sails towards the fascinating yet the UNKNOWN world of Crypto. 


What I learned

As we reached the launch date, I as a designer have got far from where I started. If someone had asked me whether I was happy as I launched Yodaa. I would be partially lying if I say I am. But when I reflect now back in time, I am really proud of the things as a designer I have accomplished for Atlantis and Yodaa. The app needed to launch to test our hypothesis. We were brilliant with somethings, we did make our share of mistakes. The launch of Yodaa did expose the things which were broken and which needs critical fixing. We did end up making some of the non-essential, non-critical features which made us release not-so-well polished product. 

With launch of Yodaa, we as a team got our process corrected. We took an oath saying we will only build products or features which customers really want.

Accepting USDC payments with BizFirst

Designing the Web3 Payments & Loyalty Infrastructure for SMBs and Freelancers

Making transfers and splitting bills easier 

A conversational UI to send and request money with split bills feature built-in, yes that's what the want was for teens. The chat module made it easier for users to track all their transactions and bill splits from a single screen. Also enabling images and GIFs to be sent in chat made payments fun driven with context and conversations. 

Product Designer, UX Designer

Hi  👋🏽, I’m Anil Nair

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