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Raman Khanduja, Co founder and CEO, MintOak Innovations

28 Feb 2022 , 01:12 PM

In an interaction with Mamta Maity, indiainfoline.com, Mr. Raman Khanduja, Co founder and CEO, MintOak Innovations Pvt Ltd. said, "the core of Mintoak platform comprises a robust omni-channel payments platform that accepts all forms of traditional payments and new-age payments."

Brief us about the company products and its operations

Mintoak is an India-based embedded Fintech company powering merchant payments and financial services. Mintoak has built a modularized, cloud-native, API-first payments Platform-as-a-Service ("PaaS") that allows their banking partners to deploy and rapidly scale value-added services (payments, lending, engagement) to their tens of millions of SME customers. Mintoak has already begun deploying the platform via exclusive partnerships with India's two largest merchant acquirer banks in one of the world's most dynamic and rapidly growing payments markets, India as well as engaged with leading Banks across the Middle-East, Africa and South-East Asia.

While Mintoak offers a comprehensive platform for merchants encompassing payments, business solutions and access to financial products; it also offers its banking partners the unique flexibility to identify and deploy only the features that are relevant to their business strategy through its modular architecture and subsequently grow their merchant ecosystem by tapping into Mintoak’s product suite.

Explain your business and industry ecosystem in India

Banks realize that pure-play payments are no longer enough for the SME segment. A comprehensive, unified, commerce enablement platform is the compelling demand from SME merchants. Therefore partnering with a fintech helps traditional banks get to the market faster with plug-n-play implementation and overcoming the constraint of legacy infrastructure live over a large operating business thus limiting their ability to innovate.

The go-to-market combines the brand, trust and distribution of the bank with Mintoak’s API first, cloud native platform to seamlessly deliver payment acceptance, commerce enablement solutions and financial services for the merchant in one place to create ecosystem platform and not just payments platform. While payments form the rail-roads, it is the ‘Adjacent Services’ riding on those tracks that significantly enhance the value proposition for the merchants.

These include real-time analytics for the business owner, customer recognition at point of sale, an ability to capture feedback seamlessly, easy-to-use tools for DIY rewards and marketing communication. The intuitive UI makes the platform easy to use and the relevant VAS tools ensure enhanced engagement between the merchants and their respective customers thus improving loyalty for customers of these merchants.

What are the challenges and opportunities in the segment

Growing competition and struggle for relevance — Merchant payments has historically been an established and successful entry strategy into SME merchant relationships. However, the penetration of these services has historically been limited due to large capex and opex requirements linked to hardware deployment and cost of managing and servicing such a portfolio. With the advent of digital payment solutions deployed on merchant phone, such limiting cost structure has been done away with thereby leading to multiple FinTechs vying for merchant share of wallet and thereby creating a struggle for relevance for the FinTechs and Banks.

A comprehensive merchant ecosystem, that is able to provide solutions that drive business growth for merchants, integrated with payments platform, such that data from payments can be leveraged to provide business insights, growth drivers and access to financial products for the merchants is therefore evolving as the key differentiator that will command and drive consolidation of offerings at merchants’ end.

Growth and Profitability — Merchant acquiring and payments business have traditionally been challenged for profitability saddled between high operating and capex costs; and reducing revenue pool on account of compression in merchant discount rates (MDR) on card transactions and zero fee on UPI transactions. Consequently, while digital payment volumes have surged over the last few years; a sustainable business model is yet to emerge. Mintoak platform, deployed by Banks on a white-labelled format, combines the technology and product capability of Mintoak with trust and distribution of Banks and together the proposition is already witnessing industry leading transactions and engagement as well as very high interest for cross-sell propositions such as lending and deposit solutions. This approach is therefore enhancing the profit pool from the merchant ecosystem and is poised to drive deeper penetration of SME ecosystem by Banks in the country.

What is the USP/Value Proposition?

The core of Mintoak platform comprises a robust omni-channel payments platform that accepts all forms of traditional payments and new-age payments. Merchant needs just one platform to accept both proximity and remote payments such as Cards, QR, UPI and SMS/ link-based payments. The platform offers a single view across all payment forms thus taking care of reconciliation effort seamlessly in real time. While payments form the rail-roads, it is the ‘Adjacent Services’ riding on those tracks that significantly enhance the value proposition offering a comprehensive, unified, commerce enablement platform, which is the compelling demand from SME merchants.

Furthermore, Mintoak offers its platform on white-labelled format to its banking partners, and thereby adopts a partnership and collaborative approach in solving for merchants rather than adopting a competing with Banks, like some other FinTechs.

The platform currently serves around 500,000 merchants across 4 Banks in India and the Middle-East and is already demonstrating consolidation of payments for merchants and enhanced financial access for them including improvement in activation rates and improvement in total payment throughput and higher merchant engagement score.

Could you tell us the outlook for 2022

Mintoak’s platform currently serves around 500,000 merchants (30x growth in last 12 months) across 4 Banks in India and the Middle-East and the platform is seeing great traction with its existing banking partners who are aggressively deploying the platform with their existing merchants and current account holders.

Furthermore, Mintoak is in conversations with 10+ Banks across South-East Asia (Indonesia, Singapore), the Middle-East (Oman, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia), Africa (Sub-Saharan Africa), and Indian sub-continent.

Mintoak is targeting over 2mn merchants using its platform over next 12 months.

Who are the founders

Raman Khanduja, CEO & Co-founder - Raman has over 20+ years of corporate experience in financial services and payments. Before taking the entrepreneurial leap, Raman was head of Business Development at Visa and worked with leading financial institutions in India. Prior to Visa, Raman has experience in retail strategy, portfolio management, analytics and consulting across HDFC Bank, Centurion Bank, American Express and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Raman has an MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta and a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering from T.I.E.T, Patiala

Rama Tadepalli, CPO & Co-founder - Rama has around 21 years of professional experience across diverse industries such as retail, telecom, banking, cards and online grocery retail. Rama has held leadership positions with revenue responsibilities was the head of Products and Innovation for Visa India and South Asia. Rama has a Master’s degree in International Business from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Delhi and is also post-graduate in Mathematics from Delhi University.

Sanjay Nazareth, COO & Co-founder - Sanjay has over 19 years of experience in payments across diverse organizations. Before starting on the entrepreneurial adventure, Sanjay was head of Client Support and Services for Visa India and South Asia. He was instrumental in setting up the Rupay brand. Prior to his NPCI stint, Sanjay was head of direct banking operations at HDFC Bank. He is a commerce graduate from Mumbai University.

Related Tags

  • Fintech
  • MintOak Innovations Pvt Ltd
  • payments and financial services
  • Raman Khanduja
  • SME merchants
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