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Zerone Raises $1.3 Mn In A Pre-Series A Funding Round Led By IAN With the latest round of funding, the platform aims to launch segment-specific SoftPOS services along with additional features such as accounting to improve user stickiness

By Prabhjeet Bhatla

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New Delhi-based fintech startup Zerone Microsystems Pvt. Ltd has announced on Tuesday to have raised $1.3 million in its pre-Series A funding round led by IAN with participation from IAN Fund and TCA. Angel investors like Sanjiv Bajaj, Raman Roy, Sanjay Rishi, and Mahesh Ramachandran led the round.

The company claims to have the largest geographical reach of over 30,000 merchants from Ladakh to Nagaland and from Jammu & Kashmir to Andaman Islands.

The startup has developed a cloud-based, ultra-low-cost SoftPOS solution called Bharat ZupPOS. Built on its proprietary technology, ZupPOS converts any smartphone into a payment terminal and allows merchants to accept payment from credit cards, debit cards, and UPI apps such as BHIM without any additional hardware, using only their smartphones.

"In India, a total of 80 million people require digital payment acceptance terminal but only 4 million merchants have the hardware POS machine. So, there is a sizable unmet market demand existing. This is where ZupPOS plays an integral role. It is an ultra-low-cost digital payment solution for merchants and professionals that converts any smartphone into a payment terminal and also enables frictionless payment between smartphones with a simple swipe. We are delighted to have IAN and TCA on board as investors and will leverage the capital infusion to strengthen our platform in providing enhanced services to our users," shared Dr. Jaijit Bhattacharya, founder, and chief executive officer, Zerone Microsystems Private Limited.

The solution provides retailers and professionals with a low-cost digital payments system with support for NFC-based payments, non-NFC card payments, and UPI/ QR Code-based payments alongside others.

"Zerone brings extremely innovative technology to bring a large number of our citizens into the digital payment ambit, effectively leveraging India's UPI platform. We are really excited with the excellent team of Zerone, led by Jaijit Bhattacharya, and do look forward to helping make this another successful company from the IAN stable," added Padmaja Ruparel, co-founder, IAN.

The platform is now preparing itself to further scale its cost-effective SoftPOS offerings and develop new segment-specific SoftPOS solutions. It will broaden its offerings with interactive features such as games, news as well as accounting – making it a platform of choice.

The company's objective is to democratize card acceptance along with the acceptance of other forms of payments such as UPI/QR Code and Bharat QR code. This would enable the 850 million debit cardholders and 50 million credit cardholders to make digital payments to a larger set of merchants, using their cards. It would also enable the debit card holders of the massive number of constituents of the government's Jan Dhan Yojna program to make digital payments through their debit cards. There are over 360 million citizens as part of Jan Dhan Yojna.

"TCA (The Chennai Angels) has been in the forefront of investing in innovative tech startups. We are pleased to invest along with IAN (Indian Angel Network) in Zerone Microsystems. The SoftPOS will enable smartphones to accept physical card payments without the need for hardware-based point of sale devices in addition to supporting QR Code and UPI. This disruptive innovation will create an ecosystem for SME merchants to participate in the digital payment ecosystem" concluded Mahesh Ramachandran, lead investor, TCA, and investment director, Zerone Microsystems.

Prabhjeet Bhatla

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