Bangalore-based mobile payment solutions provider iKaaz Software Pvt Ltd has raised an undisclosed amount in seed round of funding led by Ananda Kallugadde, managing director of NeoBytes Software Solutions, with participation from a group of other unnamed investors. The capital will be used to expand its operations, primarily in India and Africa.
This is the first external investment raised by iKaaz, which is now planning to raise its Series A funding. "We have already appointed a tier-I investment banking firm and are in the process of raising Series A to the tune of $5 million," iKaaz founder and CEO Soma Sundaram said.
iKaaz was founded by Sundaram, who has two decades of experience in the software industry particularly in the payments, social networking and open source domains. Earlier, he held a senior management position in Nokia's global mobile money division. Prior to that, he was VP (product engineering) at Obopay.
iKaaz refers to digital money and is a name derived from Tamil word Kaas (money). It offers a mobile payments platform to enterprises, business correspondents and merchants in developed and emerging markets. Its flagship product is iKaaz M-POS that can replace expensive PoS (point of sale) equipment with a feature phone, claims Sundaram.
For the same, it provides an NFC tag (which costs less than $2) that can be installed in any feature phone, turning it into a PoS facilitator. Also, a customer can link the iKaaz NFC tag to his/her bank account, pre-paid account, debit or credit card, and once that is done, the device acts as an extension of the account.
The firm recently launched an NFC-enabled (Near Field Communication) reader for merchants/enterprises to use as a mobile PoS. Besides Bangalore, the firm has offices in Washington in the US and Nairobi in Kenya.
The lead investor in the seed round of funding, Kallugadde, is an alumnus of National Institute of Technology (Karnataka) and had previously worked at Capgemini in the US. In the past, he had also worked at Ernst & Young and LEC India.
Early this month, Mumbai-based mobile PoS services provider Mswipe Technologies Pvt Ltd raised $10 million in Series B round of funding from Matrix Partners and Axis Bank.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)