Momoe intends to expand to six Indian cities in the next one year


"The intent with Momoe has been to enable individuals to use their mobile phones to eat, shop and commute. We started with restaurants because it's a place where people go to at least thrice a day. It meant more usage and more visibility," says Karthik Vaidyanathan, Co-founder, Momoe. Started in December 2014, the company raised its seed round of funding of USD 1.2 million led by IDG Ventures India, Jungle Ventures and India Quotient in March this year.

Today, Momoe has over 1,050 merchants across different sectors apart from its initial foray into restaurants. After getting the reach and visibility from fine dining restaurants and breweries, Momoe expanded to grocery stores, spas and salons, apparel stores and hyperlocal apps. Currently, it processes close to 1,000 transactions in a day, with an average ticket size close to Rs 900. "When we got our funding this number was at 50 transactions in a day," adds Karthik.

Evolutionary journey

When YourStory spoke to Momoe in December last year, Karthik had said the company aimed at providing a smooth and simple way for people to pay.

We believe mobile payments will happen and Momoe will spearhead the change. Changing user behaviour is challenging but if you believe that’s where the world is headed, triggering the change can be very fruitful.”
Team @ Momoe

Even today, the organisation holds true to this core philosophy. Karthik says that being a digital payment solution organisation, Momoe aims to bring cashless and mobile payments to the real world. The journey, however, has seen its own set of hustles and challenges. He says one of the biggest challenges the team faced in the initial days on the merchant's side was in making the brand sound credible. He adds that they were used to processing their transactions through established and traditional banks. Momoe, on the other hand, was a startup, and a name they hadn't heard. It took at least three meetings to close a client.

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The core team had to work hard to sell their idea to the merchants and to partner with them. Now the team gets merchant inbounds asking Momoe to partner with them. Neelesh Bam, Co-founder, Momoe says,

Merchants love Momoe since there is no additional investment required to accept payments. Even smaller merchants who do not have a card swipe machine are now accepting card payments by partnering with Momoe."

Karthik adds that now they are even looking at 'non-human' ways to close a client. He says that on boarding of clients can happen digitally to increase the number of merchant acquisitions for Momoe.

Solving problems on the go

Apart from merchant acquisition, another challenge the team looked at combating was the time taken to complete a transaction. Initially, the app had credit, debit cards and net banking needing a two-part authentication. This took close to 30 to 60 seconds per transaction. And in most cases the customer wants to pay and leave immediately. Understanding this pain point, the team made the app payment agnostic, which enables customers to pick whatever mode they are comfortable with.

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The company’s new vertical Momoe Express works in partnership with several banks and acts as a wallet. People can now load in the money and it takes less than a second to complete a transaction. He adds that the beta testing of Momoe Express was initially done with close to 10,000 customers, and an invite system was started for the same. Close to 7,000 people are looking to add this option on their Momoe app.4

"We understand consumer behaviour, look at various instances of payments, and device cool ways to pay on the phone. We focus on user experience and simplicity," says Utkarsh Biradar, Co-founder.

Changing behaviours

On the B2C side, Momoe has close to 1,50,000 users, based out of Bengaluru. Karthik adds that 50 per cent of the transactions that happen on the app are by repeat customers. This, according to Karthik, is a great validation for what the team intends to do.

He adds that one of the biggest things the team intends to do is bring about a behavioural change: a shift from cash or cards to mobile for real world transactions. Today, the team is looking at radios and other mediums to onboard customers. This, Karthik says, has helped bring in credibility to the brand. "Radio really helped us. Media helps brands build trust. We also do a lot of hyperlocal and instore marketing," adds Ganesh Balakrishnan, Co-founder.

Passion says it all

In the last month, Momoe has been actively hiring and this will increase in the next six months. "We want people who're passionate about what they do. They need to believe in disruption. There are multiple startups doing what we are doing, but it's not a model that has been proven, and we want to be the first in the globe to do so," adds Karthik.

The team plans to bring five to six Indian cities in its fold in the next year and it will be launching Momoe in the next city shortly.