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3. Ezetap

Mobile payments for emerging markets

Founders: Abhijit Bose, Bhaktha Keshavachar
Launched: 2013
Funding: $34.1 million
Valuation:
N/A
Disrupting: Electronic payments
Rival: mSwipe

There are nearly 1 billion cellphone users in India, and with that number comes immense opportunity. Just ask the founders of Ezetap. The India-based company launched in 2013 and aims to be for the developing world what Square is for developed countries — a mobile payment platform that can turn any smartphone into a point-of-purchase terminal. It's starting with its home country India, but as CEO Abhijit Bose told TechCrunch, "From day one, we wanted to go global and really felt that mobile payments is a great opportunity for emerging markets."

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Like Square, Ezetap's device has a card and chip reader. The device costs around $50 and, according to the company, "will change the way the entire country pays for things." The market is beyond enticing. According to Ezetap, India has seen more than 100 million new bank accounts created in the past six months alone. That's a huge market to tap for the next convenience in payments. There's also a large swath of citizens in India — everyone from rickshaw drivers to rural grocery stores owners — who are considered unbanked. They may never have a traditional bank account, but with Ezetap, the company says they can become financially included with the rest of the country.

"Over the next decade, India will move from a cash-based, opaque economy ... to an economy that is digital, instantaneous, and where every citizen is not just on the grid but the quality of their families’ future will be materially better." -Bobby Bose, co-founder and CEO

Venture capital investors, including heavyweights Social+Capital Partnership — the Silicon Valley firm led by former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya — Helion Advisors, and Horizons Ventures, are clearly excited about the potential of bringing mobile payments to the developing world and have poured $34 million of financing into the company's coffers. Ezetap already has more than 70,000 customers in India, ranging from large enterprise customers to tens of thousands of small retail businesses, and is signing up more every day. And since the country's telecom infrastructure has improved dramatically in recent years, folks are getting much more comfortable using their smart phones for more than phone calls and texts.

Ezetap co-founders Abhijit (Bobby) Bose and Bhaktha Keshavachar
Source: Ezetap
Ezetap co-founders Abhijit (Bobby) Bose and Bhaktha Keshavachar

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