Attention to detail, the key

Fintech 35

Citrus Payments, which was recently acquired by Naspers-owned PayU, offers a range of digital payment solutions with detailed reporting and analytics especially for merchants. Jitendra Gupta, the founder believes that, attention to the finer needs of merchants and consumers is critical to winning their loyalty.

Jitendra Gupta, CEO, PayU Biz

Jitendra Gupta, now the founder of Citrus Payments, had over a decade of experience in the financial services industry across investment banking, retail and corporate banking. Through these years, he got a good perspective of payment processes, the needs of banks and merchants and the typical challenges involved. Sometime in 2010, Gupta took a break to explore some entrepreneurship opportunities. He realized that the payments industry in India needed a makeover. And, globally – in the US, Europe and China – payments tech was a booming sector, with ton of venture capital dollars chasing good startups. He had had his eureka moment and Citrus Payments was born.

Our focus is to create solutions that customers can intuitively use rather than make them change their thinking

The Solution

In 2011, Gupta started Citrus Pay with Angel funding to develop a solution to bridge the expectations of merchants versus what banks were offering. “Even basics such as connectivity issues and reporting were not being addressed. We created software and connectivity layers to address known issues,” explains the founder. This led to a huge adoption of Citrus’ payment solutions by the merchant community. It is like a real wallet, containing provision to load cash, credit card and ID. After the first transaction, details are stored for faster processing the next time.

Soon after, consumers too started signing up for the Citrus Wallet and in 2012, the company raised US $1.8 million from Sequoia Capital.

Recently, the company got bought over by PayU, an online payments company owned by South Africa’s Naspers, for US $130 million and offers a comprehensive range of digital payment solutions, including UPI – unified payment interface. This makes money movement between individuals and individual to banks easier and all it needs is creating a virtual payment address that can be linked to any bank, and enables cross platform payment.

The other area the company is focusing on is analytics, since data plays an important role today. For example, with this, it also hopes to recreate the trust common between kirana stores and their regular customers, where buying on credit is common practice. “Our focus is to create solutions that customers can intuitively use rather than make them change their thinking,” explains Gupta.

The process for onboarding of merchants has also been simplified and within 10 minutes, they can start receiving payments. Gupta is of the firm belief that paying attention to the nitty-gritty is critical to win in the payments space, and that has been Citrus’ strategy all through.

Fintech Challenges

“One of the greatest challenges in this segment is that you cannot do it alone but need a very supportive ecosystem – banks, compliance, technology, to name a few key aspects. The time to market is dependent on the speed of these partners as well.

The second challenge has been the kind of noise other players make without necessarily having the backing of a sound product. This affects consumer perception and impacts the market. “Say, for example, Wallet is only 2 per cent of the total digital payment market, but because of this miscommunication, the media attention turns to that,” he points out.

Moving Forward

Gupta has set his sights high but he believes it is doable – create a digital bank in India which requires no visits from the customer. “We expect to achieve this through our app. This segment is going to experience lot of disruptions,” he says with confidence. Leveraging experience and intelligence around consumer behavior, personalization of services will enhance the banking experience for consumers, all this will be done digitally, explains Gupta, as he wraps up.


Venture: Citrus Payments acquired by PayU Biz

Started: 2011

Focus: Digital payments

Funds: Angels, Sequoia Capital, Acquired by PayU

Meera Srikant has been working with publishers and publications since 1993, writing and editing articles, features and stories across topics. She also blogs and writes poems, novels and short stories during leisure. Writing for The Smart CEO since 2010, she is also a classical dancer.

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