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Wave and pay with SoftPos – BUSINESS STANDARD

Pranjal Sharma, 11th Dec 2019

Gesture control has a magical quality about it. Much like royalty, things happen with a wave of your hand. In the feudal world, people scurried when a lord waved his hand as an order. In the world of technology, a wave of hand triggers bits of information zipping to complete a task. Popular use of such gesture-based activity has centred mostly around mobile phones, credit cards and hotel keys.

Phones can share information and even payment using near field communications (NFC) technology. Same with credit cards too. Hotel keys waved at a door is easier than putting the card in a slot. A new wave of technology is now ready to change the mobile based payment system once again. SoftPOS or software that replaces a point of sale (PoS) machine is graining traction across the world.

A typical PoS machine has chip-based connectivity that enables payments for consumers and merchants. The next wave has been led by SoftPos which is embedded in phones which enables them to connect and communicate with each other. For this the phones need to use NFC technology. Global communications and payment giants are now coming together to promote SoftPos since it reduces the need for physical machines for most transactions. There are two advantages that SoftPos has. A retailer doesn’t have to invest in a physical machine. Secondly, the retailer will not have to pay heavy fees to a third party POS provider.

A SoftPos service provider is expected to charge much less for similar service. A retailer can download the SoftPos on its own phone or tablet. Visa, Fiserv and Samsung have come together to promote SoftPos globally. It can convert smartphones and tablets into a contact payment terminal. SoftPos can be done using QR Codes, sound/ultrasound and NFC. In India, startup is taking SoftPos to a wide audience by eliminating the need for NFC.

“Our proprietary software doesn’t require NFC enabled phone for contactless payments,” says Founder Jaijit Bhattacharya. “Just 2 per cent of mobile phones are NFC enabled. So consumers and merchants can make contactless payments with any smartphone using our app.” The penetration of PoS machines is still very low in India. Less than 4 million of the 32 million registered merchants have a POS machine. Another 100 million merchants are not registered. Contactless phone-based payment system can bring millions of merchants into a formal system. “We have created a technology that allows even the cheapest of phones to be able to have contactless transfer of data without NFC,” says Bhattacharya. SoftPos like Zup also obviates the need for exchanging a phone number while making transactions.

The company is targeting 500,000 merchants over the next 18 months. Global contactless market is expected to rise from $8.75 billion in 2017 to $27.23 billion by 2023 according to Allied Market Research. SoftPos is emerging as an important driver of financial inclusion and digital payment. The government is encouraging the use of digital transaction but the high cost and fees of POS machines have been holding back rapid growth.

As SoftPos increases and its adoption picks up, merchants can ditch POS machines. The next 100 million merchants will have the options of using digital transaction using secure SoftPos options. The entry of companies like Samsung and Visa will further accelerate the use of SoftPos and financial inclusion.

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Meet the four Indian startups selected for Anthill Ventures’ A-Scale programme – TECHCIRCLE

Shweta Sharma 15 May, 2019

Early-stage investment firm Anthill Ventures has shortlisted 15 startups for its six-month market access programme A-Scale, which is focused on the Asian markets.

According to a statement from Anthill Ventures, a cohort of 15 startups from Singapore, India, Israel and the US with cutting-edge solutions for health-tech, media-tech and urban-tech have been selected from a poll over 300 startup applications.

Anthill Ventures had launched A-Scale in March 2019.

Out of the selected 15, four startups are from India.

The programme has been supported by Enterprise Singapore, a government agency aimed at developing organisations. Anthill Ventures is part of the agency’s ‘Startup SG Accelerator’ initiative providing mentorship and resources to support the growth of startups based out of Singapore.

The programme aims at speed-scaling 18 startups every year by providing them with targeted mentorship on business model refinement and go-to-market strategies.

Through A-Scale, the shortlisted startups will gain access to over 100 global subject matter experts, over 50 corporate partners and an opportunity to implement their smart products and solutions in the public sector via government organisations.

The programme will help each of the selected startups to raise funding of up to $1 million and an additional syndicated $20 million smart capital via Anthill’s co-investor network. Below are the four Indian startups shortlisted for the programme:

QuaQua: This media-tech startup was founded in 2016 by Sandesh Reddy and Purav Shah. The Hyderabad-based company is a travel platform that integrates 360-degree virtual reality content for the global travel and tourism industry.

Grene Robotics: This Hyderabad-based startup was launched in 2009 by Kiran Penumacha. The company has built an internet-of-everything (IOE) platform that helps in bringing people, process and data of an organisation onto a single unified platform such that they can all communicate with each other seamlessly.

Rooter: This New Delhi-based company was founded by Piyush Kumar and Akshat Goel. The startup is a sports technology platform that manages live sports and engages fans during live matches.

Zerone Microsystems: The New Delhi-based company has developed a virtual point-of-sale machine for smartphones based on ZPI, its patented proximity payment technology. Users can make payments via ZPI by swiping a smartphone against another.

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