PayMate is the pioneer of onset of digital payments in India. Setup by Ajay Adiseshann in as early as 2006 in which technology was in full gear in India, Ajay foresighted the need of digital method of payment mobilisation in the country. Over the years PayMate has diversified and transformed into a B2B digital payments provider in India. Being founded and headed by a tech-geek and experienced entrepreneur, PayMate has come a long way since its inception.
PayMate is designed for a vast range of services meant for a company or an organisation. It reduces the manually created and under-managed heaps of heavy paper load related to the daily working needs of the entity. For example, it helps one through the complete process of sales and purchase assistance like invoicing, reviewing, payments module, cash flow management etc which are high end accuracy demanding tasks and inevitably the routine for any organisation big or small.
Like other technology ventures of Ajay, this also has a strong recipe of being technology – driven and essential features for the commoners in order to create disruption in traditional spaces or improve efficiencies. Having a strong foothold of the market and the loopholes, calculation of expanding the simple and direct payments mobilisation module to a cloud based payments platform to help smoothen out the payables and receivables for businesses, proved to be right on point.
The team is further on their path to create a holistic ecosystem for all the business operations needs from procurement to payments for all dimensions of businesses in India, whether MSMEs, corporate, start up, or a conglomerate. The risk taking ability and the out of box thinking are two key ingredients to cook a successful venture and Ajay has got all of it in right proportion to not only establish themselves in this hostile era when technology is born and outdated on a daily basis, but also successfully drive through various ventures to create not just products but experiences that speak for themselves.
Read on to know more about the exclusive interview with Ajay Adiseshann, which we say is nothing, less than an inspiration.
1. What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
The name of my venture is PayMate India Pvt. Ltd.
2. Who is your target Audience/clients?
Largely our target audience is Enterprise, SMEs, MSMEs and Banks.
3. Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & What are your geographical target areas?
PayMate is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
Today, India is our target market.
4. What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
Receiving and making payments, invoicing, reviewing and approving payments, settlements, managing cash flow, applying for and managing credit for working capital needs, are all critical functions for any size business. However, for most Indian businesses these are manual, paper heavy and inefficient processes that end up costing the business more time, money, and competitiveness than they realize.
In order to tackle this, PayMate offers an integrated cloud based B2B payments platform which enables automation of payables and receivables on a single platform for Corporates and SMEs along with real-time reconciliation. The platform helps businesses optimize payments from procure to pay across supply chains involving buyers and suppliers in various B2B ecosystems or verticals.
Businesses have access to scheduled payments, invoicing, workflows, accounting integration, vendor and reseller boarding and EKYC, and tax payments on a single platform. PayMate uses data and analytics to provide businesses transacting on its platform credit via its lending partners for working capital.
PayMate’s unique proposition of payments automation and data driven credit for B2B ecosystems helps unlock value across supply chains.
Some of the platform’s unique features are:
The platform allows user to receive digital payments securely into a business bank account. Payments are transferred via NEFT, RTGS, Credit card, Debit card, or Net Banking. Payment reminders can be scheduled or one-time reminders can be sent instantly. Businesses can send payment requests to their vendors who can then simply click on the link and pay.
PayMate simplifies payment process by sending digital payments easily by making one-time payments or bulk payments. These can be either paid immediately or scheduled for a later date. Businesses can continue to use their existing payment approval workflow or enhance it by easily configuring a new one on our system by assigning maker/checker/approver roles on our platform.
The platform allows businesses to easily make your GST and other statutory payments instantly or schedule them for later payment.
Businesses can generate professional looking and GST compliant invoices that can be customized. These invoices can be composed on the desktop or on PayMate mobile app on the go.
Multiple Payment Modes:
The platform supports multiple modes of payment including NEFT, RTGS, IMPS, Credit card, Debit card, and Net banking.
Enhance your Business Processes and Controls:
Businesses can easily configure the maker, checker, and approver process you want to use. This could replicate an existing business process or enhance it.
All your payments in one account:
The PayMate platform allows business to manage their cash flow at their convenience and helps in connecting with all customers and suppliers on a single platform seamlessly. Payments are processed at a fraction of the time and cost of cash and cheque payments.
PayMate is available as a mobile app that allows users to compose or approve payments anywhere, anytime. The app also allows users to send payment reminders while in the field or at a customer site. PayMate can also be accessed via mobile web.
Easy to use:
The interface is simple and easy to use give a clear, real-time visibility into all receipts and payments in a single window. Reports are easily available to filter, sort and view that helps in tracking the status of payments to see when they have been received, reviewed, approved and paid.
Secure and Cloud based:
PayMate’s cloud-based platform is a more secure and controlled way to manage business. The platform adheres to global standards-based for security and encryption keeping data and transactions protected at all times. Safety and privacy for users data is of top-most priority. The cloud-based access needs no installation and provides free upgrades, anywhere access on any device.
Trusted by Banks:
PayMate has partnered with the leading national and private banks in India. Additionally, PayMate has a key B2B partnership with Visa.
Quick and Easy access to capital when needed:
Every business needs capital for growth and expansion. We make it easy for businesses to access capital for their working capital needs.
5. Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it come to existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
PayMate is my third venture as an entrepreneur, and each of the ventures I set up has enriched me with experience and knowledge that ends up being the biggest asset any entrepreneur can count on. I have a strong penchant for technology and all my ventures thus far have been centered on leveraging technology in order to create disruption in traditional spaces or improve efficiencies. PayMate in particular, was first started in 2006 with the idea of allowing consumers to use their mobile phone to send and receive money via text messages. This was a revolutionary, first of its kind product in the market at the time and didn’t rely on data connectivity, which had an extremely low penetration. We mounted our product on the mobile operator’s platform providing a frictionless experience to the end user. While this was a success in our initial years, we did realise along the way that while individuals had little reason to migrate to digital payments at the time and in fact businesses had a greater incentive to ease their financial supply chain, thereby reducing time and resource costs, that are typically incurred by any business’ finance department.
That’s when we pivoted our business model to build a Cloud based payments platform to help smoothen out the payables and receivables for businesses. Today our platform serves over 25,000 customers across Logistics, Manufacturing and FMCG with annualized TPV(Transaction processing volume) of US $3 billion annually. Our partnership with leading banks and card networks to enable payments for their corporate clients has resulted in exponential growth over the last few months. With the recent acquisition of Z2P technologies, we have added another dimension to our payments platform, which will help us combine our payments stack with a lending stack to provide a unified, powerful and seamless payments and credit stack for enterprises and SMEs in supply chains ecosystems.
6. Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
We compete with banks and several other payments service providers largely with a B2C focus but now also entering the B2B payments space. There are also a few emerging, pureplay, B2B focused players which is validation of the enormous opportunity. We have relentlessly focused on building our product with a goal to make it an indispensable tool in supply chain ecosystems for enterprise and SME and the rapid adoption of customers and partner banks is validation of the superiority of our product. Our product combines digital workflow with supply chain integration and seamless credit which is unlike anything available in India or even globally for that matter.
7. How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us something about your co-founder/s.
PayMate was incubated in my earlier startup and same founding team which comprises the core management at PayMate moved into PayMate after it was acquired.
8. How did you hire your first team members? What skills do you want in your employees/team?
Initial hires were largely through my own network since I had already been in the technology space for a few years leading to founding PayMate. Immediately thereafter we worked with specialist agencies to hire the next layer of talent. From a skill perspective you always want to hire the most skilled people with a successful track record to help you build the business-this is standard. But more importantly you are looking for talent, especially the core team, to be able to survive ups and downs that is almost guaranteed and the ability of the core team and employees to weather these storms and survive critical periods to win in the long run. The skill is be able to fight through these periods against the odds in most cases. The other important skill which needs to align with the purpose of the startup itself is the desire to make a change, make an impact, improve things and disrupt status quos.
9. What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
We want to build an efficient payments ecosystem for the average Indian business and continue to be focused on enhancing our offerings to meet their evolving requirements. With the credit piece, our platform now becomes more robust and reliable for our customer base. We are confident about the advent of digital payments for businesses in India, and we are geared to serve every business’s needs in the payments space now and will continue to do so in the future too. PayMate has currently over 25,000 users on its platform. By the end of the financial year, we hope to have grown that figure to 75,000.
10. Where do you want to see yourself in the next 10 years?
I envision India realizing its digital vision in the coming 10 years, with Indian companies fully digitized, and PayMate playing a leading role in helping achieve this.
11. What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
We at PayMate are constantly adding new features to the platform. We will continue doing so, with the pace accelerating. In the coming months we will have a full-procure to pay platform with supply chain financing.
12. Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
PayMate’s current investors include Lightbox Ventures, Mayfield fund and MayFair 101. The company had been earlier funded in by Silicon Valley-based venture capital companies Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures.
13. What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
Prior to our B2B pivot, we were a consumer facing mobile payments company. As there was no precedent, we had to navigate uncharted territories where telecom met financial services. We had to examine regulatory implications some of which were non-existent, since this was far ahead of where regulators were at that point in time. Subsequently, we settled on a bank driven model where we would move money between bank accounts with simple text instructions with adequate security in place. In fact, it was so early that I have a granted patent for mobile payments in India. After our B2B Pivot, the challenges were the long sales cycle, developing a pipeline and being able to predict the adoption and corresponding growth to scale the business. Apart from the usual hustle, we decided to focus on building the best B2B payments product with a customer centric approach which over time has yielded the desired results. A superior product has helped us acquire great partners and many new customers to scale our business
14. What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
When we started out in 2006, mobile phones were available in different Operating Systems and to make a product that works on every single system proved to be a challenge. To tackle this, we introduced SMS based transaction model that worked on 70% of phones. Then, with the entry of smartphones, applications worked to 90% phones.
Another key issue that we faced were the regulatory challenges as regulations had not been defined in terms of mobile payments or digital payments in India. KYC proved to be a hurdle since there were many forms that had to be submitted for verification and also to verify all of them was a time-consuming procedure. Eventually with the growing number of digital payment companies, the Government also found the need to introduce and streamline regulations.
15. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Aside from my work which is my biggest hobby, I like to run to keep fit and participate in half marathons once a year. I also enjoying reading and watching sports. My new year resolution is usually to take up golf but I have been unable to keep it.
16. What is your favorite food & holiday destination?
It’s difficult to pick one type of food and in Indian food South Indian is my favorite and I am very picky about the taste. Japanese would be my pick amongst international cuisines. Favorite holiday destination is Europe overseas-I especially enjoyed Iceland when I was there last and Goa/Sikkim in India.
17. Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
I find motivation all around me and draw inspiration from people I interact with on a day to day basis, successful or otherwise, several amazing people who I am drawn to, so I don’t have any idols per se. However, I am a great fan of Roger Federer. He is a class act and an inspiration to people across walks of life.
18. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Entrepreneurial qualities exist like risk taking, out of box thinking, proactive mindset and disruptive bent are not only found in startup founders but also in employees within companies who demonstrate these qualities-one could call them Intrapreneurs. Then you have another set of employees who are more suited for defined roles and people can excel across these types. You need these different qualities as a team to be successful.
19. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. You are doing things differently and better today because of what you experienced in the past.
20. Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
I think this is a great time in India to be an Entrepreneur. There is critical mass adoption of Internet and Mobile coupled with so many aspects across our day to day consumer or business lives which need to be digitized and streamlined. In addition, the plug-n-play technology stacks that are available make it easy to jump start compared to say a decade ago.
21. Tell us something about your education & family background
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. And now attending University of Life
22. What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains?
Our strength lies in being a technology driven company that gives us an edge to develop products that will help our customers that will ease their time and effort in conducting business payments. PayMate solution helps them to alleviate the ambiguity around the cash flow that a business can expect and also help drive efficiency that can help save both time and costs for both corresponding parties involved. It is due to this capability, we consider ourselves to be a ‘TechFin’ company instead of a ‘FinTech’ company. It is because of our products that we were the early adopters of digital payments in the country and are currently a pioneer in B2B payments.
23. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
We are living in the age of FAANG(Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) and don’t forget the Chinese behemoths and Reliance in India. So startups are always at a threat when you see the scale of these businesses.
24. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
I think success for me is that I am able to think of opportunities to disrupt, impact or reshape existing systems and actually get to implement these ideas by using technology. In that respect, I am satisfied.
25. Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person Details.
Name – Ajay Adiseshann, Founder & CEO, PayMate
Address – A – Wing, Sundervila, Swami Vivekanand Rd, Santacruz West, Mumbai, +91 22 26616170
Website – https://paymate.in/