Bangalore-based mobile payment solutions provider iKaaz Software Pvt Ltd has launched its Near Field Communication (NFC)-powered mobile payment solution in Nigeria. A cloud-based solution, it will enable consumers to make payments at select merchant outlets just by tapping their feature phones. The firm also has partnered with First City Monument Bank Plc in the country to provide the service.
iKaaz was founded by Soma Sundaram (CEO), 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.
The name iKaaz refers to digital money and has been derived from the 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 a mPOS solution 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, customers can link the iKaaz NFC tag to their bank account, pre-paid account, debit or credit card, and once that is done, the device acts as an extension of that particular account. The firm recently also launched an NFC-enabled reader for merchants/enterprises to use as a mobile PoS. In addition to the NFC support, iKaaz also supports SMS-based payment transactions. Besides Bangalore, the firm has offices in Washington in the US and Nairobi in Kenya.
Late last month, the company 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 is being used to expand its operations, primarily in India and Africa.
iKaaz is now planning to raise its Series A funding to the tune of $5 million, and has already appointed a tier-I investment banker to run the mandate.