India: Payments start-up Payism aiming to raise $25m

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Payism Technologies India Pvt. Ltd, which facilitates cash-based as well as cashless transactions, is looking to raise approximately $25 million in growth equity capital to fuel its expansion plans, a top executive said.

The Bengaluru-based firm, founded last year by Nandish Domlur, a serial entrepreneur and a cardiac surgeon by profession, and investment banker Rajiv Kochhar, plans to use the proceeds to roll out PoS (point-of-sale) machines, expand its retail presence, forge new tie-ups with services and product providers and expand its team.

Payism, which is targeting under-banked markets, facilitates transactions such as mobile recharges, domestic remittances, utility bills payment, Aadhaar-based transactions, e-KYC bank account openings under one roof. It operates through three business segments, namely cash-based business through retailers, prepaid cards and mandi business.

The company is introducing a feature-rich PoS machine, which enables retailers to conveniently carry out various types of transactions, eliminating the need for a customer to go to multiple B2C (business-to-consumer) service providers.

“The key to our business is that all our customers are in the unbanked markets in India. We are a very niche and mainly B2B business and also B2C, unlike all bigger players in the space which are primarily B2C. Our focus is mainly B2B,” said Kochhar.

The company has already deployed its application with around 19,000 retailers on mobile devices across Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab and Tamil Nadu. It is now also planning to expand into untapped Tier II, Tier III towns across India.

The firm is working with a district administration in a south Indian state to replace existing cash-based transactions between farmers, traders and merchants at an APMC (Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee)-regulated mandi (wholesale markets for agricultural products) with cashless payments. Kochhar declined to name the state. Additionally, it is introducing prepaid cards to corporate employees and consumers through the existing retailer network respectively.

“Payism is a scalable platform across B2B, B2C and G2C. Our focus is targeting 76% under-banked population. We believe that growth comes from more portfolios of services and across geographies,” said Domlur.

Apart from India, Payism also has plans to expand its reach to other markets like Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

“There are sort of under-banked to unbanked markets like Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. All are unbanked and very cash-sensitive markets like India. We want to focus and create our volumes in India for at least one year. So, what we are trying to do is use our experience in India and then grow the business out there. We want to take it eventually to Middle East and Africa as well,” Kochhar added. Payism has also created a holding company in Singapore through which it will focus on these markets. Moreover, the company has also created in Singapore a global advisory board of technology experts who have earlier worked in Silicon Valley and other strategic directors.

The company has a monthly revenue of about $4.2 million and is targeting to grow this to $11.2 million per month in the next 4-6 months.

Domlur has more than 15 years of entrepreneurial experience. In 2001, he founded Paprikaas Animation Studios, a digital content services studio, which was eventually sold to Technicolor in 2010. He then founded Xentrix Studios, an animation company, in 2010,

Kochhar is the founder and CEO of the Avista Advisory Group. He has over 20 years of experience in financial services with experience across corporate finance, structured trade finance, M&A, financial restructuring and business advisory.

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This story was first published on Livemint