One is an "embedded model" for gig platform companies, where pinBox embeds its pension tech interface on workers' apps so they can simply "punch a button on their own app and set up a pension account," making regular contributions thereafter.
"So if you're a fintech or if you're an agri-tech or whatever, we're happy to white-label the thing and give you a button on your app, which allows your constituency to set up and manage pension accounts," Mr. Bhardwaj said.
For the second model, pinBox works with "aggregator partners," such as women's or farm cooperatives, effectively a business-to-business-to-consumer model.
The third model is pinBox's "gift a pension" program where, for example, a family with a live-in maid could help her set up a retirement account and offer matching contributions.
Mr. Bhardwaj said while that "gift a pension" offering has just gone live in India, pinBox is also talking to potential partners in Singapore to launch a similar program there for the 300,000 to 400,000 domestic helpers employed in the city-state.
"There is a need for these women … to start saving because most of the higher income that they're generating while they're temporarily in Singapore is really resulting in a temporary jump in consumption for their families back home," rather than any savings, he said.
Finally, the fourth delivery method for India is a "direct to citizen" model, relying on a global partnership pinBox forged with WhatsApp allowing any of the 500 million people in India using WhatsApp today to set up a retirement account on the app within minutes, Mr. Bhardwaj said.
If the company hopes to get 100 million Indian workers on the path of retirement savings within five years, its ambitions remain global. Mr. Bhardwaj predicted pinBox's growing capacity to engage with a greater number of countries could bring roughly 50 million more workers onto that path as well over the same period.
"To a certain extent, we've been able to solve the problem on ... the mechanics" of saving for retirement in these countries, like making it easy and simple for a woman in a remote village in Kenya — where a pinBox program just went live this year — to use her mobile phone to open a "national ID-linked, digital micro-pension account and start putting aside half a dollar a day at minimum transaction costs," he said.
Still, a lot of work remains to be done in the area of behavioral psychology, Mr. Bhardwaj conceded. "How do we motivate a 19-year-old in Kenya to actually think about retirement at the age of 19? How can we ensure that she continues to save regularly month after month, and year after year," he asked.
Meanwhile, said Aon's Mr. Palmer, companies like pinBox will face the same "balancing act" as other retirement programs in providing savers some access to their savings for emergencies vs. ensuring money is put aside for the future.
"Within this ecosystem, there is also a key role for affordable and adequate insurance solutions to provide protection benefits which act to avoid ... erosion of retirement savings," Mr. Palmer said.
Mr. Bhardwaj said his company's answer to that challenge, in India and Kenya, has been to dedicate roughly half of workers' contributions to illiquid retirement savings products while putting 40% in liquid products from which "you can withdraw and no questions asked," and then roughly 10% in an insurance bucket which covers "lifecycle risks." That sort of flexibility, he noted, makes "the illiquid part" of the program much more acceptable for a lot of people.
For now, pinBox could be the only company working to solve the problem of retirement savings for informal sector workers across different countries, but to the extent the company enjoys success, others are likely to jump in and that will be all for the good, Mr. Bhardwaj said.
"There's no way that one company can solve the problem," he said.