Chennai and London-based fintech startup inai, which provides no code-low code full-stack payments integration, has raised $4 Mn in a seed round led by Paua Ventures and 9Unicorns. “We currently support merchants on native websites but will be using this funding to support merchants on Woocommerce, Magento and/or Big Commerce, etc.,” cofounder and CTO Karthik Narayanan told Inc42.
The startup plans to use the funds to strengthen its technology team, expand its product portfolio to support e-commerce and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) merchants operating out of India and South-East Asia, and build out its sales and marketing.
The round also saw participation from Uncommon Capital, Soma Capital, Anarko Ventures, Better Capital, and Gemba Capital. Investors Sriram Krishnan, Lenny Rachitsky, Nested founder Matt Robinson, Rocketplace founder Louis Beryl, Comply Advantage founder Charlie Delingpole, Omio’s Naren Shaam and CRED’s Kunal Shah also participated in the round.
Founded in May 2021 by repeat entrepreneurs (who also built wellness startup Auro) Anantharaman Pattabiraman and Karthik Narayanan, inai (which means “connect” in Tamil) was a part of Y Combinator’s Summer 2021 cohort for startups. The startup connects multiple payment gateways in one integration allowing merchants to manage checkout, payments, subscriptions, refunds, cancellations and chargebacks, locally as well as globally.
While Pattabiraman heads the UK-based operation, Narayanan is heading the Indian operations of inai. Talking about the inspiration behind inai, Narayanan said that there are gaps in the market. “We realised that to expand internationally, you will need a different payment provider for many markets; for eg, Stripe does not offer local payment methods in many Asian markets; for Paypal or Affirm, you will need to customise the checkout for each market and integrate with fraud, tax or BI tools.”
“inai abstracts all of this into a single integration with a no-code dashboard. The inai integration will take about 60-120 minutes at best and gives merchants all the payment methods and payment gateways they need. In comparison, every payment gateway integration might typically take a week or more with further additional engineering resources required for ongoing maintenance.”
The products are in an early stage of their life cycles to comment on the revenue and growth of the company, Narayanan stated. “We are working with B2C content companies (for instance, edtech), B2B SaaS companies and cross border platforms (for instance traveltech) to support both one time as well as recurring payments across multiple geographies.”
“For example, we support merchants of Seawise Capital to help them take international payments across multiple markets via a click to pay link which they send out along with an invoice to their end customers,” he added. “We are also seeing interest from higher-risk merchants such as those in crypto space or gaming as they typically need to operate with multiple payment vendors.”
“We are building a single unified API that connects with all of these payment vendors such as Razorpay, Kashfree, Stripe or Adyen. Merchants integrate with inai once and get the flexibility to work with multiple payment vendors and localise the checkout experience by regions: Show UPI and net banking to customers in India via Razorpay but cards and Apple pay to my customers in the US via Stripe,” Narayanan concluded.[Update: Removal of competition landscape as the businesses are inai’s customers.]