Nirvana and Faering Capital India-backed Transerv, a payments enabler, was setup with the goal of building unique payments experience which not only facilitates payments but also delivers convenience and engagement to the consumer. Its goal for now remains consolidating its services and maintaining profitability through sustainable operations.
“Back in 2010, the digital revolution led to a massive rise in smartphone adoption as well as Internet penetration in India. As a result, the country’s economy – which was driven by cash – witnessed an exponential rise in the number of digital payments processed,” recalls Anish Williams. However, despite the rapid growth, end-user transactions often suffered due to a lack of payments flexibility and a broken experience. “This was partly due to a heavy dependence on promotional offers, discounts and deals as tools to aggregate customers. These often left payments service providers with little resources to invest into improving the robustness and the experience of their platforms,” explains he.
Identifying this as a gap in the Indian digital payments industry, he and his co-founders established TranServ as a payments enabler and the Udio brand as a fintech platform that leveraged technology to deliver highly efficient, flexible and seamless payments solutions to both consumers and businesses. “Today, with demonetization gaining steady focus from the Government and even consumers wanting to go cashless, we believe Udio brings in a community-driven aspect to digital transactions,” adds the co-founder. Through the platform, one can utilise features such as bill-splitting, sending/requesting money and social gifting. The company also has a digital/physical card linked to every wallet which increases the payments flexibility for its users and allows them to seamlessly transact across online and offline channels. “This integration of consumer-centric approach and technology differentiates Udio from the other digital wallets and is setting new benchmarks in terms of consumer engagement, quality and ease of transactions,” says a proud Williams.
Our focus for the moment is on consolidating our services and maintaining profitability through sustainable operations.
With a team of 180 employees, TranServ has been built as a capital-light company, not driven by discounting. Currently, it has eight million customers on its platform, over 6,000 merchants and corporates and has close to 80,000 cash loading points plugged in to its platform. The company’s revenue has grown by 10 per cent month-on-month which can be attributed to its conservative spending pattern apart from a growing market.
Not just a digital wallet
TranServ offers a host of B2C, B2B and corporate payments-related services that add value and convenience to user transactions, under the brand name Udio. Its product suite for businesses, which provides API-based native wallet solutions to partner merchants, allows them to use the wallet as a promotional tool to engage and interact with their customers.
The company has also ventured into the corporate expense management segment through its Udio Corporate Solutions that include features such as meal/medical/fuel reimbursements, rewards and recognition programs and more. Additionally, it has created a digital payments ecosystem through developments such as native phone integrations with Micromax and cash-to-digital remittance programmes and linking of Visa prepaid cards (both physical & digital) with Udio Wallet. Udio is also the first non-banking entity to offer mVisa to its consumers.
Consolidation – the key
The company is looking at consolidating its services by enhancing its product offerings and technological infrastructure. “The priority, at the moment, is to add greater value to the user’s transactional experience,” says Williams. It is already working on leveraging its partnerships with Visa and Micromax in order to jointly implement payments products such as mVisa across merchants, toll booths and petrol stations. This will allow the mVisa enabled app consumers across banks to digitally checkout at these outlets across the country.
“Demonetization has been the answer to the prayers of companies like us in the digital payments ecosystem. We have seen massive growth in the usage of our Udio wallet and also the demand for the Udio physical and digital card,” adds Williams. The company is also ramping up capacity to meet this massive influx of demand and anticipates that over the next few months, as it on-boards more users and merchants on its platform, digital payments will become a habit for many and not just a compulsion.
Adoption – a key challenge
One of the major roadblocks that the digital payments industry in India currently faces is the lack of a widespread adoption of the digital medium as well as the continued affinity towards cash. Despite witnessing impressive smartphone adoption, less than 30 percent of the country’s population currently has access to digital devices. Moreover, despite the entry of 4G-LTE services within the country, there is still a significant portion of the country’s population which does not have access to high-speed Internet facilities. The dependence on cashbacks and discounts to drive adoption by most of the digital wallet service providers is another obstacle that is holding back the Indian digital payments ecosystem in achieving its full potential.
Where to from here
The company aims to build an end-to-end payments infrastructure which caters to several aspects of the overall online and offline transactional experience such as online payments, merchant payments, mobile-based push payments for consumers and merchants, device-based frictionless checkouts for online purchases, and P2P payments. And working towards this vision, it has already partnered with Micromax and Visa. Moreover, it is looking to invest into new product lines such as micro-lending, in order to enable small-ticket, easily accessible loans for the country’s growing digital consumer base. The aim is to popularise digital payments in India by creating a well-integrated nexus of virtual and physical prepaid solutions and provide users with the best payment experiences.
Talking about fund raising, William opines that one of the main reasons why the company has been able to gain and retain investor confidence is its business model, which integrates sustainability with scalability. The company raised its first round of funding in 2014 from Nirvana Venture Advisors Private Limited and also secured Series C investment of US $15 million in funding led by Micromax and IDFC SPICE Fund. Its existing investors Nirvana Venture Advisors and Faering Capital India also participated in the Series C funding. “Hence, our focus for the moment is on consolidating our services and maintaining profitability through sustainable operations,” says Williams on a concluding note.
Founders: Anish Williams, Aditya Gupta, Sandeep Ghule & Anand Kapadia
Concept: TranServ is a fintech company focused on creating the payment experiences for individuals and business partners.
Investors: Nirvana, Faering Capital India Evolving Fund, IDFC SPICEFund and Micromax Informatics