Gramateller - Low-cost ATM for Rural India

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The Economic Times is running a interesting seven part series on unconventional businesses. In their concluding edition, they feature the Chennai base start-up Vortex Engineering, which is building a low-cost ATM for rural India. The start-up was incubated at the Tenet Group at the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai (IITM). Other Tenet incubated social enterprises include Rural Opportunities Production Enterprise and Desicrew Solutions

You can read the ET article here. Below is an excerpt highlighting what makes the Gramateller an ideal solution for rural markets.

Conventional ATMs consume about 1,800 units of electricity a month, but Gramateller requires 72 units, says Vijay V Babu, CEO, Vortex. Less power means less heating and therefore no need for air-conditioning. “Frugal engineering definitely helped,” he adds.

The ATM runs on Linux, which is an open source software, unlike conventional ATMs that run on Windows for which licence has to be purchased. It also has a built-in UPS, which ensures the ATM doesn’t go down when there are power cuts, and the option to run on solar energy.

Other unique features include fingerprint-based biometric authentication and the ability to dispense soiled notes. Vortex started with seed funding from Venture East and Aavishkaar in 2006. Ray Stata, founder of semi-conductor firm Analog Devices and Switzerland-based Bamboo Finance invested in 2008 and 2009, taking the total VC investment to Rs 30 crore.

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