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PayMate plans to partner with IRCTC for railway tickets booking

by Asfaq Tapia

Mobile payment company PayMate India, which recently raised $9 million in a second round of funding which took the total funding received by the company till date to $14 million, is planning to partner with IRCTC (which runs Indian Railways’ online passenger reservation site IRCTC.co.in) for railway tickets booking. “We also plan to increase our visibility in Sri Lanka and Nepal and are looking to enter the Middle-East,” Ajay Adiseshann, CEO of PayMate, told AlooTechie in an interview.

by Asfaq Tapia

Mobile payment company PayMate India, which recently raised $9 million in a second round of funding which took the total funding received by the company till date to $14 million, is planning to partner with IRCTC (which runs Indian Railways’ online passenger reservation site IRCTC.co.in) for railway tickets booking. “We also plan to increase our visibility in Sri Lanka and Nepal and are looking to enter the Middle-East,” Ajay Adiseshann, CEO of PayMate, told AlooTechie in an interview.

PayMate has been very active in the last year, tying up with banks and other services. What are your plans for the future?

We at PayMate plan to continue to build the ecosystem. We currently partner with ten banks and will look to focus on building the retail space by expanding our 9000+ merchants database. We plan to introduce mobile recharge options soon. This year, we plan to increase our visibility in Sri Lanka and Nepal and are looking to enter the Middle East. We are also going to partner with IRCTC for railway tickets soon.

When you first rolled out the service, Citibank was one of your bank partners, why have they now backed out?

Yes, we did pilot with Citibank but their priorities changed and certain situations in the company forced us to discontinue our association with them. However, we remain hopeful of partnering with them again.

How is the PayMate platform different from that of your competition?

The platform for PayMate is operator and handset agnostic and no applications are needed to use the service. Therefore, it can work with any phone that has SMS capabilities. We also have a flight booking application for CDMA users of Tata Teleservices. The main advantage we have is direct connectivity to banks, which allows us faster transaction processing times.

How do you plan to use the $9 million you just received in funding?

Though we are currently unable to give you any numbers, this will be a mixed bag. Our thrust will be on improving our infrastructure and technology and increase our marketing budget. We don’t want to market ourselves very aggressively right now and are quite content to keep our focus on a small target group.

Reports suggest that you might have received the funding earlier than announced because you wanted to time the announcement to match RBI’s guidelines on mobile payment. What’s your comment on that?

All I have to say is that it wasn’t engineered. Legal documents and agreements take time to be made and that caused us to make the announcement at this time. RBI announcing its mobile payment guidelines in the same timeframe is purely coincidental.

How big is your team in Mumbai? Do you plan to hire more people?

We have over 50 people working out of the Mumbai office right now. We will look to increase the team by 25-30 very soon.

What is GiftMate? Which are the new shopping portals you plan to associate with in the future?

GiftMate is a gifting service, which works like PayMate, the difference being that customers can send gift vouchers to anyone using this service. Though the service runs on the PayMate platform, it caters to an audience with different aspirations and consumption patterns. We have associations with most of the top online shopping portals but we are open to new opportunities that arise.

If both the services run off the same platform, is there any plan to merge PayMate and GiftMate any time in the future?

As I said, both the services cater to different audiences and therefore as of now we don’t have any plans to merge the two.

When according to you will be the tipping point for mobile payment platforms in India?

I am a little sceptical of answering questions like these because it is like looking through a crystal ball and trying to predict the future. We have faith in our services and we believe that we can do well, irrespective of a tipping point.

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