iKaaz processes 250K transactions every month, plans to foray into B2C segment next year in India
Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled mobile payment service has been a buzzword over the past one week as Apple is set to release its NFC based mobile payment service, Apple Pay, around the third week of this month. While Apple Pay is all about NFC based tap & pay model for the developed countries, iKaaz is evangelizing the same technology for emerging market like India, and Africa.
Hailed as one of the early adopters in NFC enabled mobile payment in India, iKaaz’s growth over the past few years has been encouraging. “Overall, it's a very encouraging response. As we are going after specific verticals driven approach, consumers and merchants will soon see a huge real benefit in terms of using NFC based mobile payments,” says Soma Sundaram, Founder and CEO, iKaaz.
The company initially launched its mobile payments platform addressing both merchant and consumer ecosystem in June 2013. “Subsequently, we released NFC terminals to make the tap & pay solution more convenient and secured. Our platform can be launched in any country with very minor modifications,” adds Soma.
iKaaz’s NFC reader plugs into any mobile phone and converts a mobile phone into a mobile POS (point of sale) device. iKaaz is inter-operable across device manufacturers and works across all the mobile operators. At present, it is processing about quarter million transactions a month spanning across 5000 merchants using the company’s platform.
Besides India, the Bangalore-based startup also expanded its footprints in African countries like Nigeria and Kenya this year. Currently, it operates on a B2B model, providing the platform and associated tap & pay solutions on a licensing model in Nigeria and Kenya.
“We already have several banks licensed our platform. As our platform's foundation is based on cloud computing, we are super confident that we will be in a position to penetrate more countries as we move forward and of course without comprising on the regulations and security,” points out Soma.
When asked about profitability, Soma adds, “We’re expecting to be profitable by 2016 and we are very much on track for the same.”
Difference between Apple Pay and iKaaz
Apple Pay supports NFC enabled phone along with fingerprint, tapping on to the terminal and completing the payment transaction.
iKaaz Payments supports NFC enabled tags to support any existing phones and tapping on to the terminal and authenticating with PIN for high value transactions. It provides competitive NFC based mPOS solutions as well to the merchants.
B2C model on the card
The company is also gearing up to penetrate the B2C model in Bangalore initially, and then to all the major cities in India. “This will happen early next year. Subsequently, we will penetrate tier II and III cities,” adds Soma.
Unfazed by competition in the space, iKaaz is completely focused on how it can bring in more and more innovation in the payments domain. “We strongly believe that innovation and flawless execution will take care of competition. Also, market is so big that there will be room for several mobile payments players,” concludes Soma.