AS Technolutions aims to revolutionise the way retailers, businesses and professionals accept payment from their clients and customers, through its merchant friendly mobile POS
AS Technolutions is an early stage revenue making fintech startup based out of Gurgaon. Founded in January 2017, the startup’s operations went live in mid of 2018. It is an innovative alternative to card swipe machines which empowers merchants to accept card payments from customers using a smartphone only, without any hardware attached to it.
“We have also partnered with HDFC Bank to offer merchants to accept UPI which will make AS a one stop solution for payments. In addition, AS offers several other value-added services like cash register, bulk messaging feature, make your team, analytical dashboard, etc., which are specifically beneficial to small and mid-size merchants, enabling them to track and manage their payments better, manage their team etc,” says Anubhav Saxena, Founder, AS Technolutions.
The target customer segments for the company are – micro, small and medium sized retailers; corporates which are into home delivery segment or home services; and professionals/ freelancers.
The company gives its clients two key benefits which have a significant impact on their business – cost advantages and operational effectiveness. “Swipe machines are hardware based thus have a manufacturing cost which is cascaded to the merchants. Subsequently, merchants pay heavy monthly rentals and periodically incur repair and maintenance. In addition to the cost, the machine need daily charging, has network issues, more than one machine to accept multiple cards, inconvenience of carrying machine for home delivery orders, needs bluetooth connection to phones while transacting, etc. These concerns add on to the operational complexities of using swipe machines on a daily basis,” he says, adding that his company has smartly addressed the above mentioned issues by simply migrating from hardware to a mobile app which not only brings down the cost but also takes away the operational efforts mentioned above.
AS replaces swipe with a scan which is the key feature of the product. “Which means AS scans the card and executes the transaction using the two-factor authentication. AS takes away the need of machines from the market,” states Saxena, adding that from the card industry perspective, AS has smartly integrated the “card present” scenario with “card not present” process to empower merchants to accept cards with just a smartphone. And the “pull mechanism” based transaction flow is much more convenient and safer than machines. Along with scan option, AS also empowers merchants to send link and accept remote payments and UPI to accept payments via QR code or intent.
Speaking about the marketing strategy, Saxena says that for retail, they have their feet on the street, which is the direct sales channel. The company has four strategies under indirect sales : “CIP” i:e customer is promoter – the current users/merchants refer new merchants in bulk and get incentives; network partnering with banks; and BTL activities like merchandise at retail points, kiosks at big markets to bring awareness to the end customer, etc.
With the next round of funding, the company is planning to engage in extensive marketing across digital and non-digital platforms specially newspapers in local languages, radio, movie halls, etc., to build awareness and trust among end customers / card holders and also to increase retail and corporate sales.
Saxena believes that channel partners by virtue of their operational expanse and years of existence can be a great sales and branding/ customer awareness platform for new startups. “They have a direct reach to the customers, a significant influence on generating demand and provide a direct link for customer feedback. In the retail market, our schemes like Customer is Promoter (CIP) encourage retailers to tap into their network and promote new downloads for AS. The channel partnering gets further beneficial if the tech based solutions are capable of signing up the merchant in real time using the technology which helps the organisations to not only penetrate faster but also the adoption. We are also in conversation with banks to look for synergies on the channel partnering,” informs Saxena.
He acknowledges that the pace at which technology is evolving, one needs to think of the next tech disruption/enhancement asap. “The success of AS in a highly saturated fintech space is dependent on the innovations we are able to provide to make payments effortless and safe. It is important for industry leaders to accept that technology’s longevity has decreased, and thus makes the technology vulnerable in less than three to four years. A clear roadmap is a prerequisite with radical changes every two years in the product line for similar offering,” he states.
From time to time they bring in SMEs and consultants to challenge the AS team, innovate and ideate on product enhancement. “We have also partnered with ethical hackers to ensure we are ahead in the game and can anticipate as well as mitigate any potential threat. The team also participates in sandbox challenges, industry and academy forums to bring in the best of thinking to evolve AS,” he shares.
In the future, AS Technolutions aims to become a one stop solution for merchants. “We envisage to be partners with merchants in their day to day business life. We are absolutely focused on our next big release i:e tap payments which will allow customers to tap the card on the app, which is in merchants phone followed with in-app billing, mobile ATMs, full-fledged payment gateway, virtual credit cards, BQRs, etc. Our strategic expansion plan is clear in terms of both customer acquisition and product. We tend to penetrate other major cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and even cities like Jaipur, Ahmedabad and destinations like Shimla, Manali, Coorg, etc. At the same time, we are in conversation with bankers for becoming network partners with us as “SOFT POS” or say hardware less solution to accept card payments,” explains Saxena. The company is exploring alliance partnerships with banks, NBFCs, etc. to penetrate deeper and faster in 2020 and open more revenue sources.