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Interview: ‘Digitisation Wave Among SMEs Led Revival Beyond Pre-COVID Levels’, says PayMate

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PayMate is charting a court to go beyond payments and venture lending and enterprise solutions going forward for small-medium enteprises in the country. “We are seeing a digitisation wave for payments and receivable, which is why we are going towards creating a full stack solution with invoice discounting and credit,”  business-to-business payments and lending fintech company PayMate India’s founder and CEO, Ajay Adiseshann told MediaNama

The company has around 150 large and medium enterprises, who in turn connect it with around 60,000 small and medium businesses, to whom it provides payments solutions at present. The company hopes to be an end-to-end fintech player, providing payments solutions, lending products and enterprise based solutions for small and medium businesses in the country, Adiseshann said. PayMate is currently in the midst of testing its new invoice discounting platform with a few clients and expects to roll-out the solution to all its enterprise clients and vendors in the next few months, he added. 

MediaNama: How have supply chains recovered across the country post the opening of the economy?

Ajay Adiseshann: By October and November 2020, we were transacting above pre-COVID levels, around 40-60% higher than pre-COVID levels. Revival was taking place in consumer durables, financial services, fast-moving-consumer-goods and in some pockets of manufacturing, while travel and hospitality remains weak and is still under capacity. Fresh loans to SMEs is still a tough ‘Catch-22’ situation across the country for many lenders, our platform is being able to alleviate some of the risks.

MediaNama: Can the Open Credit Enablement Network help in supply chain finance?

Ajay Adiseshann: While many new solutions in the credit space in India, like the Open Credit Enablement Network is essentially a lead generation tool, PayMate wants to have complete control and be the primary front-end solutions provider for SMEs across the country. Every company needs to evolve its own strategy. Lending is very different from payments, so trying to replicate a UPI model on the lending side will take time because the data needs be made available for such a system to work efficiently

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MediaNama: Can open banking models like OCEN threaten enterprise based fintech platforms?

Many full-stack payments fintechs are looking an e-taliers or online merchants and offline retailers, whereas we are looking at the whole end-to-end digitisation of supply chains, from procurement to sales. There are so many interactions and integrations required, and there is a fair bit of complexity involved, which is what gives us a strong moat. We pitch to the treasuries of large and medium enterprises to get them to use our system and on-board thousands of suppliers. This requires lots of work because for every client, we have to do the Know-Your-Customer for all vendors. It is a very different market compared to what other fintechs may be pursuing

MediaNama: What is the progress on the the invoice discounting platform PayMate recently launched?

Ajay Adiseshann: It is still early days for us, we are turning the screws one bit at a time. The next two to three months will involve a lot of learning as we role out more pieces of the stack. For us, the question is how do we create value-added services for SMEs after they come onto our platform. So this could mean giving them visibility on payments and card-based credit products, and thereafter, invoice discounting. We are also looking to providing SME with the same enterprise tools that large companies use, like in accounting.

Because of the closed-loop ecosystem, we can use existing data on fund flows, invoices and other aspects to apply that towards working capital and credit requirements for SMEs. We have been testing the invoice discounting platform with some of our clients, while the tools are available on the platform we have to test the solution and hand-hold our clients through the nitty gritty. We expect this solution to peculate down our entire customer base in the next two to three months

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(Updated March 13, 2021 5:00 pm). Updated based on Editorial Direction. Originally published February 18, 2021 at 6:20 pm.

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