Facebook planning to tie up with Indian mobile payment startup

Nov 5, 2014

facebook-planning-to-tie-up-with-indian-mobile-payment-startup

When using credit cards or internet to buy goods is still remains a matter of concern and that people are still not comfortable with it, a payment solution where in you don’t need o use credit cards or the internet can be a big relief.

Bengaluru-based startup, JunoTele, is offering a payment solution like this that allows users to pay through their mobile talk time. This is what is attracting a lot of new-age, mobile-first companies from Silicon Valley that although find it easy to attract consumers in emerging markets such as India but face big impediments in getting them to pay for products and services. The social networking giant Facebook happens to be one of them.

“They (Facebook) have shown interest in using our product,” said Sekar Rao, chief executive officer of JunoTele, which has patented a way for users to pay for digital goods from their mobile talk-time account. Rao, 49, said executives from Facebook’s Singapore office had spoken to him about aspects of his company’s product, including the core offering — direct billing from carriers. Facebook declined to comment.

The Indian mobile payment startup bypasses credit cards and the internet with the help of a telecom operator’s signal in order to carry out transactions just the way it happens when you make your regular phone calls.

There are various other companies in the market who cater to similar needs but they mainly make use of a robust internet connection to carry out a part of the transaction.

This would certainly work in filling a critical gap in emerging markets, where the majority of consumers don’t own credit cards. Moreover, due to the high processing fee on credit cards during the transactions, developers earn little on the products they sell.

“The opportunity of payments is significant in the emerging markets,” said Mohammad Chowdhury, telecom leader at PwC India.

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Headquartered in Bengaluru, JunoTele’s 30-member team has five global customers and is eyeing a turnover of $3-5 million (Rs 18-30 crore) next year.

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