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Palo Alto-based POS player Poynt appoints Pratyush Prasanna as India MD

Poynt, a point-of-sale (POS), terminal provider based out of Palo Alto, California, has appointed Pratyush Prasanna as managing director of India operations. According to his LinkedIn profile, Prasanna started working for Poynt in March 2017.

Prior to his current role, he was founder and CEO of  MagicX, an AI enabled chat platform for commerce transactions. Prasanna had also founded PlusTxt which was acquired by Paytm in 2013. Following which, he served as vice president for Paytm and handled new products. At the time of publishing, Prasanna was unable to comment on Poynt’s operational plans for India. We will update once we hear from him.

Poynt was started in 2014 by Google Wallet’s former head and PayPal executive Osama Bedier. It has an Android-based device which features two screens for the retailer and the customer. The customer facing screen can be used to authorize transactions by entering a PIN or signature. The device supports traditional magstripe cards, EMV, NFC, Google Wallet and Apple Pay, Bluetooth, QR codes transactions. It also allows third-party apps which allow functions such employee management, advance orders, bar code readers etc.

The company is backed by Matrix Partners, Oak HC/FT Partners, Stanford-StartX Fund, Webb Investment Network, Nyca Partners, Google Ventures and other individual investors.

Competition and opportunity in India

Poynt will have to compete with more established third-party POS players in India.

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– The most recent player to the POS space is ItzCash and said it will deploy 100,000 POS terminals targeting small businesses and shopkeepers by the end of the year.
– There’s MSwipe which raised $25 million in a series C round of funding from new investors Falcon Edge Capital, Ola Cabs and Meru Capital, and existing investors Axis Bank, Matrix Partners India and DSG Consumer Partners.
– In October 2015, Ezetap raised Rs 150 crore in a round of funding from existing investors Social+Capital, Helion Advisors and Berggruen Holdings and new investor Horizons Ventures.
– In June 2016, payment gateway aggregator PayU entered the POS space.
– Oxigen has a device called SuperPOS which also acts as a Micro ATM at Oxigen’s retail outlets.

The number of POS terminals in India is dismal. For the month of March, there were 2.53 million POS terminals deployed by commercial banks while there are more than 800 million debit cards and 29.84 million credit cards in circulation. A 2015 Ernst and Young report said there were only 693 machines per million of India’s population, compared to similar emerging countries such as Brazil, which has 32,995 terminals per million people and China and Russia, each of which has around 4000 terminals per million people.

That said, there is a concentrated effort by the government to improve the number of POS terminals following the demonetization of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes. During the 2017-18 budget, finance minister Arun Jaitley reiterated the goal of setting up 10 lakh POS terminals in the country. Earlier this month, the Reserve Bank of India started allowing co-operative banks in India will now be permitted to deploy their own and third party point of sale (POS) terminals.

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