Innoviti Payment Solutions, a payment acceptance technology firm backed by Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy-promoted Catamaran Ventures, has raised Rs 120 crore (about USD 18 million) in its second round of funding from SBI-FMO and Bessemer Venture Partners. The company's plan is to grow further in the tier-2 and 3 cities in the retail payments space.
“The new round of funding will be used to meet our goal of rapidly expanding to mid-tier (tier-2 and 3 locations) retail market over next 2-3 years," said Rajeev Agrawal, chief executive officer at Innoviti.
"It will be used for the uniPAY Next platform and smelending.com product to target payment and lending in order to facilitate working capital loans to kirana stores, small merchants and brand franchises right across the supply chain,” he said adding that technology must solve problems within the given infrastructural challenges.
The core problem in digital transactions slowing remains the reliability and user experience of digital payments, Agrawal told Moneycontrol.
Comparing the user experience to Google Maps, Agrawal said: “We have used the technology to look ahead to figure out which path of payment should the merchant use. The way Google senses traffic and best routes on the fly (live), the consumers and merchants can use the best route of payment channel.”
Innoviti is a Bengaluru-based digital payments and point-of-sale (PoS) deploying company that helps merchants accept payments across channels including internet, mobile, in-store or at the time of delivery. It also operates smelending.com, a platform that helps small merchants get short-term loans to manage their cash flows.
Singapore-based SBI-FMO Fund has led the fund infusion in Innoviti with further capital from existing investor Catamaran Ventures. Innoviti previously raised USD 5 million from Catamaran in Series A funding in June 2015.
SBI-FMO is a joint venture between Dutch development bank FMO and Japan’s SBI Holdings Group which is a spinoff of Softbank, and invests in fintech companies majorly.
Innoviti Payments also plans to use the fresh funds to target retail outlets like restaurants, apparel and grocery stores to tap the potential of rising volume of digital payments post demonetisation. UniPAY is an offering that allows merchants to accept digital payments through various modes such as cards, wallets as well as UPI.
Innoviti processes around Rs 20,000 crore worth of transactions annually, growing almost 100 percent in terms of value and volume of transactions over the last year.
Innoviti has tied up with about 20 banks including leading names like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank and even card companies like American Express and meal-voucher companies like Sodexo to offer multiple payment options to merchants. At present, the company works with major retail chains like Lifestyle, Reliance Fresh, Tanishq and Inox, to manage their card payments. The company recently launched UPI payments through its terminals as well.
On the retail side, cards still account for over 98 percent of total transactions with UPI picking up fast and eating into the market share of cards.
Innoviti’s smelending.com platform enables loans as small as Rs 30,000 for periods as short as 15 days for merchants. The website processes more than 1.5 lakh loans annually for over 30,000 such small businesses and has so far disbursed loans worth over USD 500 million.
According to Agrawal, investors are keen on investing in technology-based lending platforms focused on small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
“Very few companies accept all form of digital payments whether it is a wallet, debit or credit card. The merchant does not care which payment channel is used or who the issuer is. Very few payment companies allow this," said Vishal Gupta, Managing Director, Bessemer Venture Partners.
"That is where Innoviti comes in as it is neutral and it also allows the new channels such as UPI and BHIM. This also means lot of integration with banks and merchants," Gupta added.
The private equity fund will continue to invest in consumer internet and financial services firms.
Innoviti has already deployed around 50,000 terminals across 700 cities with over 100 merchants and process more than Rs 20,000 crore of payments annually through more than 12 crore transactions.
With rapid acceptance of digital payments, “more marketing and awareness with offers and reliability increasing”, the company hopes to add another 1,000 merchants in smaller towns and double the transaction volume over the next 12 to 18 months.