Pine Labs provides retail PoS solutions which simplify payment acceptance (for merchants), while also offering a host of features to benefit the issuer, merchant, brand and customers.
While Pine Labs made a foray into the financial technology space in early 2000, it took the company close to a decade to carve a niche in the payments technology space. Albeit a silent player, the company has made significant strides in the market, with Rs. 150 crore in revenues (in the last fiscal), with PoS networks deployed across 1,50,000 retail touch points, through marquee clients such as Future Group, Shoppers Stop, Samsung, Airtel, BPCL and the like.
So, what do they do?
Pine Labs provides retail PoS solutions which simplify payment acceptance (for merchants), while also offering a host of features to benefit the issuer, merchant, brand and customers. For example, in early 2000s, when brands such as Future Group and Shoppers Stop were expanding at a rapid pace, they faced recurring challenges in dealing with multiple PoS terminals for different banks. Furthermore, the payment processing from each terminal was not integrated into its mainstream operations. “To ease this process, we developed a network that would integrate the transactions directly from the PoS to the main systems, with a choice of the different banks the brands preferred to work with,” recalls Lokvir Kapoor, its CEO.
With a strong belief that the card system (credit and debit card usage) is here to stay, the company eventually began developing ancillary features based on it, such as accepting sodexo vouchers, partnering with wallet companies to initiate payments, enabling merchants to avail loans through the network and redeeming loyalty points.
While this was the initial model at Pine Labs, with a strong belief that the card system (credit and debit card usage) is here to stay, it eventually began developing ancillary features such as accepting sodexo vouchers, partnering with wallet companies to initiate payments, enabling merchants to avail loans through the network and redeeming loyalty points. “For example, we have a partnership with Bajaj Finance, wherein, our customers can approach Bajaj Finance through our network, request for credit and process it directly instead of approaching a bank otherwise,” explains Kapoor. Similarly, loyalty points can be redeemed through its paybypoints technology which integrates the top loyalty reward programs in India onto a single platform, thus enabling customers to avail it at the time of purchase.
Currently, while 70 per cent of its revenue comes from core payments, 30 per cent is driven through its value added services.
Being a tech-driven organisation, Pine Labs did face its fair share of challenges, primarily around the lack of adequate infrastructure to setup its systems. “While we have made significant investments in ensuring quality deliverables to brands and merchants, the Government itself has taken several strides to ease this challenge for us,” he opines. Second challenge, of course, lay in the initial hesitation among customers to adapt to a technology that was seemingly new. “We overcame this as more merchants began taking to the technology and found it to be effective. From our end, we also began offering better features to ensure ease of adoption,” he adds.
Global & India Impact
Having already captured 20 per cent of the market footprint in India and with a presence across 200 cities, the goal for Pine Labs is to take this number to 40 per cent in the next couple of years. In fact, it has recently forayed into Singapore (its current headquarters) and setup a subsidiary in Malaysia, where it intends to go live with its products by June 2017. “As for our revenues, owing to a successful festive season and demonetization, we it will cross Rs. 200 crore this year, and we’re targeting Rs. 500 to Rs. 600 crore by March 2018,” shares Kapoor.
Poornima Kavlekar is Consulting Editor at The Smart CEO Media Labs, the content creation partner for Beyond Basics@Wealth Advisors. She specializes in writing articles based on interviews with business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors in India. Till date, she has interviewed over 200 entrepreneurs and leaders from India’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. For Beyond Basics, Poornima will specialize in interviewing leading money managers, fund managers and chief investment officers of India’s leading asset management companies.
Year of founding: 1998
Investors: Sequoia Capital
Impact: PoS networks deployed across 1,50,000 retail touch points, presence across 200 cities in India
Clients: Future Group, Shoppers Stop, Samsung, Airtel, BPCL