Startup Telr aims to create payment ecosystem for SMEs

Payment gateway startup Telr recently launched its operations in India. The startup is backed by a founding team of experienced e-payments experts with more than 20 years experience with PayPal, WorldPay, Standard and Poor’s


Payment gateway startup Telr recently launched its operations in India. The startup is backed by a founding team of experienced e-payments experts with more than 20 years experience with PayPal, WorldPay, Standard and Poor’s, among others. Telr CEO Sirish Kumar is a Chartered Accountant and prior to co-founding Telr, he was the CFO for PayPal in ASEAN and India. Speaking to Tech2 about his company, Kumar says, “By launching Telr, our prime objective was to create from the very beginning, a local payment ecosystem that would enable and empower SMEs to start accepting payments online and facilitate their growth in India and other emerging markets. As one among the leading e-payment solutions, we offer a set of unified APIs and tools that instantly enable businesses to accept and manage online payments via web, mobile and social media such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.”

Kumar believes Telr offers secure, reliable and innovative online payment processing services, with a strong anti-fraud platform facilitating high success rates of transactions for SME online sellers without compromising security. “Furthermore, we provide additional services of a creating an online identity through a store builder or website and short term merchant cash advance to help the online entrepreneurs scale their businesses faster,” adds Kumar.

The Telr team is spread across operational hubs of Mumbai and Dubai and beyond. The model is focused on adding new revenue streams, optimising costs by leveraging technology and capturing more value from existing merchants and customers across multiple geographies. Kumar says that the technology they keenly invest in is for enhancing merchant experience, in enabling the merchants to create their identity online and to offer multiple payment methods across websites, social media or mobile apps to their customers. “We are focused on providing customized solutions to SME, in line with their business type. Furthermore, our automated on-boarding processes for merchants, proprietary risk management and anti-fraud solutions to SMEs, simple API and customer support are specific differentiators to address their pain points and offer a solution that is both, simple and ubiquitous for micro, small and medium sized enterprises,” shares Kumar on how technology makes the platform easier to use for its customers.

Telr secured institutional investments from Singapore and Middle East in 2014. They were also able to forge partnerships with credible banks, non-banking finance companies and license technology to a large telecom group company in South East Asia. Telr is now engaged with strategic investors in India and beyond, who will help accelerate their growth.

Startup Telr aims to create payment ecosystem for SMEs

When asked about the road map for the future, Kumar informs us that it continues to entail their contribution towards developing local e-commerce ecosystem beyond credit and debit cards in multiple geographies. Merchants should be able to enable their buyers to pay from ATMs, cash collection points and online banking. Subsequently, with the right partnerships Telr would like to help a majority of the unbanked section of Indian economy to operate business online, thereby fostering entrepreneurial spirit. “Furthermore, I envision an environment that enables completion of transactions through social networks. E-payments are not just a utility but a technology enabler in the economy. We would fundamentally like to disrupt the “one size fits all” approach when it comes to payment solutions and drive in enough innovation to customise our solutions as per the Business Type and other segments,” says Kumar.

Kumar strongly believes that India will enable more people to leverage internet, thereby multiplying its GDP growth in the next few decades. “Since payment solutions are connected with SMEs, logistics management, digital outreach, I would personally like to connect the dots and have a robust, interconnected and self-sustaining ecosystem in place; one that is supportive and innovative, and removes fragmentation from the system,” explains Kumar.

Kumar says Telr’s focus on the SME and start-up industry differentiates it from its contemporaries. He says Telr reduces on-boarding time by over 50% by advising on the specific documentation based on company type and ownership structure and allowing electronic uploading of the same. For now, the company is focused at emerging markets, notably India, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. Their target market in India alone is expected to reach 45 billion dollars by 2020. Furthermore, Telr intends to evolve to an integrated transaction model, combining both the online and offline transactions. This further enhances the scope for the business, taking it to a 1 trillion dollar addressable market in the next 4-5 years.

Telr has also tied up with lending partners, to help online SMEs fund their business growth by unlocking their working capital, with less documentation and processing time. “Although currently that is a 15-25 billion dollars market, by 2020 there will be over 5,00,000 SMEs transacting online across our target markets, further extending the reach of our business,” shares Kumar.

“We need more banks to process e-commerce transactions as this will expedite increase in share of cash less transactions in India and other emerging markets. We are in the forefront of engaging with banks to help them acquire merchants in e-commerce space as we have the full stack only payment technology including automated on-boarding for merchants, risk management and anti-fraud solutions,” says Kumar, signing off.

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