In Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland, when Alice is perplexed by all the action down the rabbit hole, the Queen of Hearts tells her:
My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.
That’s the truth staring at the mammoth financial institutions around the world. Nimble startups have been disrupting the industry by developing and deploying technology – from cryptocurrency blockchains to payment gateways, remittance channels, and lending platforms. To keep their place, let alone move ahead, the tech giants have to innovate and do it fast. What better way to do that than to make room for innovative startups within one’s own walled garden?
Top payments company PayPal (Nasdaq: PYPL) set up its own incubator called Start Tank to find and mentor young fintech startups two years ago. The incubator, housed in PayPal’s technology center in Chennai, provides startups with technology and business mentorship, infrastructure support, and networking opportunities with investors and customers.
Earlier this year, PayPal invited applications for a place in its incubator from startups focused on core payment features such as wallets, gateways, and remittances, as well as payments enablers and adjacencies like biometric authentication, security, and financial inclusion. From over 125 applicants, four were picked as winners. Here they are:
CashFree enables digital payments for businesses and attempts to make cashless payments smoother for consumers. This includes payments for food delivery or express checkout at supermarkets. The bill comes to the app and can be paid by cards or wallets integrated with it. This Bangalore-based startup was founded by Akash Sinha and Reeju Datta.
D-Rewards is a mobile based, real-time, digital plug-and-play customer relationship management (CRM) tool for small businesses. It helps businesses create loyalty programs to connect, engage, and retain customers. This Chennai-based startup was founded by Vijay Krishna and Shoaib Mohammed.
“It has been an exciting journey so far, engaging 20,000 consumers from 48 outlets across Chennai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad using our product to give out INR 850,000 (US$13,000) in loyalty and selectively target customers with customized offers,” Vijay Krishna, co-founder of D-Rewards says.
Ftcash aims to power mobile payments for micro-merchants. It builds tools for them to accept payments through multiple payment instruments, including debit cards, credit cards, and mobile wallets. This Mumbai-based startup was founded by Sanjeev Chandak, Deepak Kothari, and Vaibhav Lodha – alumni of IIT, Wharton Business School, and Shri Ram College of Commerce.
Notifie is an app for business-to-customer communication. Founded by Dr. N. Raja Chinnathamby and Arun Nedunchezian, the Chennai-based startup already has paying customers from the education, financial, and retail industries.
Before starting Notifie, Raja was working closely with banks and ATMs, providing them with accurate GPS location information. His co-founder and CTO Arun was working with Deloitte earlier as a platform architect.
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