Amazon users may soon be able to make payments using ToneTag’s sound wave technology

Amazon users may soon be able to make payments using ToneTag’s sound wave technology
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13 Jun, 2018

ToneTag has partnered Amazon to offer the e-commerce giant’s customers contactless payments on certain offline touchpoints, besides enabling payment on delivery through the startup’s sound wave-based tech, The Economic Times reported.

Only last month, Amazon had invested nearly $5 million in ToneTag in a round that also saw participation from Mastercard and existing investors 3one4 Capital and Elevate Innovation Partners, going by regulatory filings, said the ET report.

Speaking on the startup's plans, ToneTag's founder-CEO Kumar Abhishek said a 'shop, eat and go' model is possible, the ET reported. Under this, an Amazon Prime customer can eat at a restaurant and pay the bill automatically while walking out. He said that his company was looking to offer the service across 8,000 restaurants in the country in the next 12 months.

The report also said that startup ToneTag was looking at using the sound technology in parking lots. The tech is already in use in tolls in highways.

Besides, the company also has partnerships with more than 300,000 offline merchants, who will all start accepting payments through sound.

ToneTag is also part of a pilot project on contactless payments conducted by state-run digital payments supervisor National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). Besides ToneTag, NPCI has selected PhonePe, and Ultra Cash for the project.

Interestingly, while speaking to TechCircle in May, Abhishek had said that his company was looking to make use of sound-based technology for better offline retail experiences in the country. As an example, he cited the Amazon Go shop in Seattle in which a consumer is automatically billed for items as he or she exits the shop. 

Explaining this model, Kumar had said that offline retailers in India had less customer data than online retailers such as Flipkart. "In such a scenario, a new payments model, in combination with butler-like services, could easily solve the pain points for offline retailers," he had said.

The startup, which was founded in 2013 by Kumar Abhishek and Vivek Kumar Singh, had raised Rs 8.5 crore ($1.33 million) in a round of funding in January this year. Previously, in 2015, ToneTag had raised $1 million from Reliance Venture Asset Management, the venture capital arm of Reliance Capital Ltd.

In November 2016, the company had raised funds from Nasscom foundation trustee Arun Seth, former Infosys finance head TV Mohandas Pai, former Snapdeal chief product officer Anand Chandrasekaran and Gencoval Strategic Services chairman Deepak Ghaisas.

The company is also backed by Elevate Innovation Partners and Aakash Prakash, founder of Singapore-based Amansa Capital, who was formerly director of investments for India at Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings.