When Singapore-based multi language payment gateway Telr announced its entry into the Indian market this year, CEO Sirish Kumar was very sure about two things. Firstly, SMEs in many economies in emerging markets were not able expand online quickly, and the entrepreneurs who were running them, had to put up money up front even before they could start their first online transaction. Secondly, though payments started 18 years back as an alternative to hard currency but it is still the domain of developed economies, with a lot left to be done in emerging markets. So, while India has done a good job that merchants get money in their respective currency but in many emerging markets it does not happen.
It is these very thoughts that had prompted Sirish, who had been CFO at Paypal for South-east Asia and India to start Telr, along with Elias Ghanem in 2013. Telr, which derived its name from the digitised version of a person sitting behind the counter in the banking industry – the teller, intended more than to be just an online payment solution. It wants to solve problems of SMEs in emerging markets who want to come online. Telr seeks to eliminate the fragmentation that exists between key stakeholders in the ecommerce markets such as merchants, logistics services, web store providers and banks in order to facilitate seamless and smooth business growth.
Sirish believes that there has to be an ecosystem where entrepreneurs comes in and are able to use services whether creating an identity in the online world, making payments or making the business grow faster. The first thing Telr does towards this is that it reduces onboarding time by over 50% by advising on the specific documentation-based on company type and ownership structure, and allowing electronic uploading of the same. Next, it offers online payments solutions for merchants using websites as well as social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and mobile apps. Adds Sirish,
“We believe websites are not going to be the future in ecommerce after 7-8 years, there will be another channels to communicate and sell. We are fundamentally merchant focussed who has less time to evaluate options but is very clear as to what he wants from business perspective.”
Based out of Singapore, Telr first entered the UAE market as it had one of the highest smartphone penetration. Now in India, the 15-20 members team is spread between Delhi and Mumbai.
Onboarding Merchants In An Hour
Telr’s proposition is simple. It aims to facilitate any kind of seller to tap their existing network on social media and convert communication into a transaction by providing very simple payment methods and links. For instance, one can sell through social media accounts or through web and mobile by using Telr’s APIs. Thus, it is not necessary for merchants to have an ecommerce website to do business online. One can have a static website and later invest in it, when one gains enough traction.