"AI is Accelerating the Velocity and Ease of Payments for Consumers"
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With the Indian B2B segment rapidly evolving, it only makes sense that technology-driven models are deployed for effective management of not only specific processes but also entire businesses. Also, with automation and disruptive technology being at the forefront, the need of the hour is for seamless integration of these within business management solutions. In this regard, Entrepreneur India interacted with Varun Rathi who is Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Bengaluru-based Happay which harnesses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to further smart workflow management processes:
Analysing need for AI in various business management processes – In tracking expenses
When it comes to management of various business processes, smart solutions should be devised for aspects which potentially require micro-management. A classic example here is expense tracking.
“AI is accelerating the velocity and ease of payments for consumers,” states Rathi to Entrepreneur India.
This is applicable to organizations which have financial teams that need to audit the genuinity of expense claims submitted by employees. This process should reap the benefits of automation (AI) considering the sheer amount of data generated and manual auditing being time consuming.
“Happay’s system automatically checks the claims submitted by employees with policies and in case there are violations, it triggers notifications to employees and approvers to take corrective action,” adds Rathi.
He also informs that after automated audit, questionable claims or anomalies are automatically forwarded to the right approver with the help of deviation workflows defined in the Happay system.
Apart from expense management, aspects such as fraud prevention (within organizations), Accounting, and travel expense management could also be mitigated effectively through AI-driven models.
AI has a major role in digital payments
With digital payments also on the rise, especially after the Indian government’s Digital India initiative (enhanced post demonetization), AI and related disruptive technology such as Deep Learning and Machine Learning (ML) have found relevance with respect to making transactions secure and easier.
“Merchants along with digital payment companies are using machine learning to identify a new set of customers by evaluating the digital footprints related to customer’s recent purchase history. Advanced algorithms are able to find new or complimentary services that the same customer may value,” says Rathi.
At this juncture, it is worth noting that WhatsApp would integrate within its messaging app the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) for its payment service on the messaging app. This enables users to send and money receive through their UPI-linked bank accounts to ensure relatively fast and swift transfer of money without having to store balance in a wallet.
Tracking Happay – From a funding perspective
Happay, founded in 2012 by Varun Rathi and Anshul Rai, in February this year raised its second Series B funding worth USD 10 Million, from Sequoia Capital and Singapore-based Axiom Capitaland Singapore-based Axiom Capital. AME Cloud Ventures (led by Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang) and existing investor - Prime Venture Partners among others also participated in the round. With this venture capital raising, Happay’s total VC funds are now close to nearly USD 19 Million.
When it comes to raising Series B, Rathi states that the Happay platform that integrates deeply with payments infrastructure of enterprises caught investors’ attention.
“The fact that the platform is highly configurable and caters to diverse use cases a business may have; connected with Sequoia,” he informs.
Also, Happay has inked partnerships with HDFC and RBL banks to enhance technology-driven offerings of these financial institutions.
“Bank are able to increase customer stickiness by offering a solution that takes care of not just payments but also end-to-end spend management. By bundling their existing corporate offerings with Happay’s technology banks are able to boost per account revenue by increasing the number of cards in the market and also increasing spends per card,” he states.
For the newbies – Raising Series B from leading investors
When asked about fundraising strategies which the relatively early Series B seekers could potentially follow, in a bid to get leading investors to pump in venture capital; Rathi states that the key criteria would be to have scalability in business whilst deploying technology-driven models for all categories of businesses whether these are small, SMEs, mid-sized, or large enterprises.
“We also continue to enhance our API library to make it easier for our partners to plug into our platform and to drive more traffic and business through APIs,” he signs-off.