Sound-based proximity payments company ToneTag has raised an undisclosed amount in a round of funding from strategic investors (listed below). Kumar Abhishek, founder of ToneTag, said that the size of the funding was larger than $1 million it had raised from Reliance Capital back in 2015 but declined to to give the exact size of the investment.
The investors coming on board include Arun Seth (former chairman of Alcatel-Lucent and BT India), TV Mohandas Pai (chairman of Manipal Global Education), Anand Chandrasekaran (now heads development at Facebook for Messenger), TK Kurien (vice chairman of Wipro ) and Deepak Ghaisas is (chairman of Gencoval Strategic Services). Abhishek added that the investors would collectively own less than 5% equity stake in the company.
ToneTag’s software development kit (SDK) only requires a speaker and a microphone to work. It can utilize the in-built mic or speaker of any device to enable data transfer through sound waves and hence supports most existing devices such as PCs, POS, EDC devices and mobile phones including feature phones and wearables. The company has a partnership with YES Bank for sound-based proximity payments on their mobile wallet YES PAY.
Note that ToneTag isn’t the only company working on sound-based payments. There’s iKaaz which is working on similar products in the contactless payments space. YES Bank also had a partnership with UltraCash for sound-based payments.
The company says that it will have more than 25,000 merchants on its platform by December and will hit more than 3 lakh acceptance points next year. Kumar Abhishek claimed that its user base has grown to 18 million.
Abhishek also added that the company has applied for a patent for a new contactless payment technology which uses light from a device as a communication protocol. “The patent describes a communication protocol which uses light emitting source which will allow devices to communicate with each other,” he added. Abhishek added that it could find use cases in restaurants where a user could place a device in between light and could order. Not exactly sure how this would work, but we want to see it in action. Proof is in the pudding, right?