With over 15 years of entrepreneurial experience, Prabhu is today the driving force & mentor for Paynear Group of Companies, As Managing Director & Chief Strategy Officer for Paynear. His vision and passion has accelerated Paynear to be one of the fastest growing companies in payment space.
Team Estrade: Can you unfold the story behind Paynear?
Prabhu Ram: Paynear was founded by a group of payment industry professionals with 10+ years of experience in the payments Industry. Before starting Paynear, I headed EBS (online payment gateway), which got acquired by a French Conglomerate (Ingenico) in 2013. Using our payment industry expertise and knowledge, we wanted to build a valuable product in the ‘Card Present Space’ that is simple to use, affordable and easy to get – especially for the SME’s. The result is Paynear mPay – a mobile point of sale solution.
Even though cards issuance is increasing rapidly, the mechanism to accept cards has not yet reached its full potential. As of April’15, there are a total of 2.12 Crores credit cards and 56.5 crores debit cards issued in the Indian market. The number of POS machines to handle these figures are just a mere 11,25,715 leaving a huge gap between the number of cards issued and the POS terminals deployed.
We believe every small and medium business should be able to accept payments without having to incur high cost infrastructure. We wanted to provide an innovative and reliable payment solution that provides a secure and streamlined customer experience irrespective of the channel. Paynear mPay is our flagship product, which was launched in November 2014 and is enabling merchants to accept card payments using their smartphone/tablet.
Team Estrade: How do you plan to upskill & explain payment solutions term to the local kirana and medical traders? How do you strategize doing this?
Prabhu Ram: Thanks to the Indian Govt.’s initiation of financial inclusion and the launch of schemes such as Jan Dhan Yojana and Digital India; there has been a decent traction in this space. Indian population has now being equipped with bank accounts & debit cards, which is a positive thing to all the merchants. Merchants are now realizing the importance of accepting card payments for their business set ups and don’t want to restrict themselves only to cash as the mode of payment.
Our direct sales team is present in all the metro cities and through our strategic tie ups in tier II, tier III cities are reaching out and explaining the long term benefits of mPOS to the huge merchant base. This also helps merchants to organize their businesses in a much better manner and do it continuously as a process in making them realize all the value added services they are missing – we are by and large successful. We don’t do a sale, we educated the merchant and act as a consultant to them.
“Wanted to build a valuable product in the ‘Card Present Space’”
Team Estrade: Currently how many Merchants Paynear has and how do you plan to increase this figure?*
Prabhu Ram: Paynear ‘mPay’ went live in November 2014 and presently has close to 5000 merchants using mPay on a daily basis. mPay is targeted towards all types of merchants regardless of their industry and size. Anyone from a retailer to a kirana & general store, supermarket, grocery store, electronic store, bakery, food joints, hotels & restaurants and even individual professional such as doctors, fitness professionals can use mPay. By end of this financial year we plan to sign up 15000 merchant’s & through our sales teams along with channel partners and distributors in tier I, II, III markets we expect to reach this figure.
In the month of Sep 2015 we launched our 2nd solution which is a Value Added Service called Paynear ‘SPOT’ to our entire existing and new merchant’s.
Team Estrade: Geographically speaking which key cities are you targeting?
Prabhu Ram: Even though weare present in all the metro’s, our prime focus is on tier II, III markets where there is a huge opportunity and unexplored market place.
Team Estrade: Could you tell us about your product SPOT and how it’s beneficial?
Prabhu Ram: The new service is called Paynear ‘SPOT’ – a convenient way to earn additional income through recharges, bill payments and bookings. SPOT is an app, which has close to 100+ services available for merchants to make use of. On every recharge, bill payment and booking they receive a commission. If you run a kirana/general store, Internet cafe, pharmacy, grocery store or any other small business you can now generate additional income by performing recharge & bill payment services to your customers. Recharge prepaid mobiles, pay postpaid mobile bills, recharge DTH & data cards, pay insurance policies & utility bills such as electricity, book cab, bus, train, flight tickets & earn commissions on every transaction.
SPOT can also be used by individuals who are looking to earn from a low investment & zero risk business opportunity.
“You have plenty chances to be innovative and chances for you to reinventyour product”
Team Estrade: What metrics have you used in the past to manage your firm’s technology investments and operations?*
Prabhu Ram: Technology investments more than metrics, they are based on identifying the bottlenecks in the market, opportunities, size of the potential market and our ability to cater to them. Operational expenses is purely depending on sales numbers, given a fact that wehave built a system that can be scaled without any issues or facing any glitch.
Team Estrade: How do you ensure innovation in product development?
Prabhu Ram: Being a company which is in fastest to growing space, you have plenty chances to be innovative and chances for you to reinvent your product every 3-6 months. We closely work with our sales channel to get market inputs, and also follow global majors in identifying the new flavors offered which will have a significant positive impact on our customers.
Team Estrade: What are the key company milestones for the next 6-12 months that need to be achieved?
Prabhu Ram: We’re aiming to have 15000 mPay merchants’ signed up and 20000 SPOT merchants all across India.
Interaction with Mr. Prabhu Ram, MD & CSO, Paynear unfolding the story behind mPay – Your Business Companion