Mumbai based Citrus Payment Solutions, founded in 2011, has been trying to make digital payments and online checkout easier. The company, founded by Satyen V Kothari and Jitendra Gupta crossed a total of 12 million transactions last month.
The startup has been trying to solve the issue of how payment can go from being an infrastructure issue, where it is about processing, to understanding what users want from it in a daily life and to fulfill those needs.
In December 2013, the payment solution provider raised $5.5 mn from Econtext Asia and Beenos Asia, two Japanese companies, along with existing investors.
Satyen V Kothari recently spoke to NextBigWhat about the challenges in the Indian payment ecosystem and the company’s plans to tackle it. Here is an excerpt from the Interview.
What do you intend to use the newly raised Series B round for?
We intend to improve services around India and Asia largely on mobile solutions. Our big focus is on mobile and secondly on the growth into the Asia Pacific region using our solutions. A lot of the problems we face in India is also quickly emerging in other countries like Philippines , Indonesia etc.
The 2 new investors, Econtext Asia and Beenos Asia, are Japanese companies with very deep experience in the payments as well as e-commerce space. They already have an established presence in markets like China, Hong kong, Japan and Indonesia and their experience is also great validation for Citrus.
The fund also gives us the liberty to experiment how payments can become better in every sphere of life. We will launch a line of new products this year, starting February.
How many transactions have you crossed so far & what percentage of them were through mobile devices?
We have carried about 12 million transactions till date. We saw 2 million transactions in January 2014 itself. In June 2013, 3% of the transaction going through our system was through mobile devices and by December, this volume grew to 10%.
Existing players have been saying that new VC funded companies like yours are undercutting rates & that it’s not sustainable. What is your take?
They have a right to their opinion and they are also our elders in the space. They created the market, they did all the hard work in exchange they got to take the cream of margins and numbers. Now we are the new wave, the next generation. We never sell at a loss. We charge a lower amount because we have faith in how we execute across the board.
Also no investor is stupid enough to throw $5.5 million on a complete loss making company.
What are the current challenges? And likely solutions?
The biggest challenge is convincing the Indian consumer, who traditionally rely on cash for transaction, to trust third parties to carry out transactions.
The new generation is more savvy and more comfortable with online transactions. The ecosystem has to move to being one of convenience and ease from being a perceived as a necessary evil.
Getting new customers onboard is another big challenge. Till date SMEs have had the toughest time receiving online transactions. Easing the process to help SMEs integrate and accept payment online is another important factor to take care of.
What is NextBigWhat for Citrus?
Real mobile solutions as opposed to just mobile payment processing. India can be the global leader in showing how payments can become frictionless, friendlier and smarter. With our software DNA, we want to be leaders in the Indian payment space, be its consumer or merchant payment.
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