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The Man With A Voice Kumar Abhishek, founder and CEO, ToneTag aims to bridge this gap and provide voice technology and audio services to anyone and everyone who wishes to use them

By S Shanthi

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In the past decade or so, the fintech industry has emerged as one of the fastest-growing areas not only in India, but worldwide. However, voice technology is yet to penetrate the far corners of India. A substantial percentage of consumers as well as businesses are still dependent on traditional methods of commerce and payment. Cash, credit and debit cards are, despite their shortcomings, the preferred mode of transaction for many.

Kumar Abhishek, founder and CEO, ToneTag aims to bridge this gap and provide voice technology and audio services to anyone and everyone who wishes to use them. This includes a wide spectrum of solutions such as voice-based UPI, hands-free engagement and checkout experience in stores, voice-based orders and payments from home and on the go, faster and safer checkouts, contextual commerce, and so on.

"With the help of these services that we offer to customers and businesses alike, we aim to put India at the forefront of voice and audio technology usage in the years to come. Moreover, there still exist a wide number of Indian citizens without proper access to smartphones or the internet. Our voice-based UPI solution, VoiceSe, is one of the first in the country that has enabled such users to make digital payments using their voice, with or without the internet," says Abhishek.

"It also helps us facilitate online payments for consumers that are not digitally literate or internet-savvy, as the technology that powers this UPI platform allows users to make payments with just a phone call," he adds.

To achieve this, the company has made its technology heavily based on audio and voice. From retail solutions to customer-centric services, voice technology forms the foundation of its suite of products. "Furthermore, under the guidance of the RBI, we recently partnered with IDFC First Bank to launch the CBDC pilot program in select states across the country in 2022. With over 5000 retailers and 50,000 customers already onboarded to CBDC, we are positive that we will be playing an integral role in its coming phases as well, by partnering with more banks and helping CBDC reach the masses," he adds.

Abhishek also shares his advice to entrepreneurs starting out in the game. "Put your best minds together and come up with a solution or service that stands out from the overload of competition that exists in this industry. It is easy to get lost in the crowd, but if your idea is unique and your technology is sound, no one can stop you from becoming a success."

Currently, the startup is working towards enabling CBDC across the country, for both retailers and customers alike. It is also looking at developing the means to enable offline UPI payments for customers, which it hopes will truly help spread the wings of digital financial inclusion in India. Furthermore, the startup is also in the process of offering Audio Out-Of-Home or Audio OOH solutions to brands and retailers.


  • Total funding raised so far: 10.3 Mn
  • Year of inception: 2014
  • Key investors: Amazon, Mastercard, 3one4 Capital, Elevate Innovation Partners, T K Kurien, Mohandas Pai, Anand Chandrasekaran
  • Number of employees: 70
  • Customers: Amazon, ICICI, IDFC, NPCI, FINSERV, others
S Shanthi

Former Senior Assistant Editor

Shanthi specializes in writing sector-specific trends, interviews and startup profiles. She has worked as a feature writer for over a decade in several print and digital media companies. 



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