EKO Financial Services, a mobile enabled banking correspondent for India’s largest public sector bank State Bank of India and ICICI Bank, has raised a Series A round of funding from 4B Capital, Pluggd.in reports. EKO CEO Abhishek Sinha confirmed the development to MediaNama, but declined to comment on the amount raised. Sinha said that they have so far processed transactions of Rs. 400 crore so far from EKO: the first Rs. 100 crore took 19 months to reach, and over the last few months, they’re doing around Rs. 100 crore a month. What’s led this spurt in transactions?
Remittances and money transfers, Sinha says. Those who want to remit money to any State Bank of India branch across India, they give the 11 digit SBI account number to a EKO retail counter along-with the money, and using a mobile phone, the retailer transfers the money to that SBI account instantly. Sinha said that EKO is not being used for merchant transactions yet. EKO currently has a retail outreach of 900 shops – 600 in Delhi-NCR and 300 in Bihar. Sinha said that the company is targeting 20,000 outlets by the end of the year, predominantly in Delhi-NCR, Bihar and Jharkhand. Why is EKO targeting these states? Essentially because the market is driven by the migrant population, which moves to urban Delhi, from the primarily rural and agriculture focused states of Bihar and Jharkhand. “It’s a huge market,” Sinha says.
One should expect transactions to increase beyond SBI for EKO, since the launch of P2P Interbank Mobile Payments a few months ago, supported by seven banks: State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Union Bank of India, Bank of India, Yes Bank, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank. What’s worth noting, though, is that EKO’s retail outlets are single bank outlets – most of them are SBI, and a few are for ICICI Bank. Sinha says that the ICICI operations are fairly small right now since the tie-up took place only in August 2010. But why doesn’t EKO have multi-bank retail outlets? “The banks don’t want it,” he says.