IMPS platform major Sarvatra Tech eyes $20 mn PE fund

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Sarvatra Technologies, which provides technology solutions for small cooperative banks and handling 30 per cent of the overall IMPS transactions, is aiming to raise USD 20 million from a private equityinvestor in what would be its maiden fund raising from a financial investor.

The company, backed by veteran i-bankerVallabh Bhansali of the Enam Securitiesfame and ICICI Bank, aims to deploy the funds for expansion, a top official has said.

“We plan to raise USD 20 million from private equity investors over the next three-to-four months and are already in talks with a few investors,” Sarvatra founder and vice-chairman Mandar Agashe, whose family has had strong ties with the cooperative baking system for generations, told PTI.

The company sees unified payments interface (UPI) and micro-ATMs as a big opportunity and has drawn up plans to deploy a field force of up to 500 new employees to the existing 250 for the same.

“All these years, weve been focusing on the issuing side of the debit card business and as result almost everyone has a debit card today along with mobile banking facility on her phone.

“For the next five years, we will focus on the acquiring side where merchants will accept these services,” Agashe said, adding the funds raised will be deployed towards this purpose.

The company ended fiscal 2018 with a topline of Rs 70 crore and some profit, he said, adding it notched up a gross transaction value of Rs 27,000 crore during the fiscal, and is set to cross Rs 40,000 crore this fiscal.

Bhansali is the largest shareholder of the company and also serves as the chairman, while other shareholders include ICICI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, and Oracle Financial Services Software.

In 2010, the Reserve Bank gave it a critical nod to act as a switching partner with ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank as its “sponsors”, that opened up newer business opportunities, Agashe said, adding it now serves over 500 non-scheduled cooperative banks across the country and the total monthly transactions crossed one crore in October.

End-to-end backend services are given, which enable small cooperative banks offer services like ATMs, point-of-sale machines, mobile banking and debit cards, Agashe, a popular musician with a number of albums to his credit, said.

He said these cooperative banks pay the company on a per use basis, which is his main revenue stream.

The company chose switching as its niche and avoided going into core bankingsolutions space which had a slew of lenders, Agashe said.

The technology developed in-house motivated ICICI Bank to both invest in the company as well as use the same platform for its own functioning, Agashe said, pointing out that because of this, as much as 30 percent of the overall IMPS transactions in the country are handled by Sarvatra.

The likes of Google and Whatsapp are also using its services, courtesy its relationship with ICICI Bank, which also acts as the intermediary for the global giants’ payments initiatives in the domestic market.

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