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印度移动支付平台ToneTag完成千万美元融资

总部位于印度班加罗尔的移动支付技术平台ToneTag宣布完成了一笔800-1000万美元的新一轮融资,投资方包括知名电商巨头亚马逊公司和支付巨头万事达卡公司。

不过有消息称,该公司还在与其他投资方进行接洽。但对于此传闻,ToneTag公司发言人拒绝发表评论,此外亚马逊和万事达卡公司目前也没有对本次投资交易做出回复。

ToneTag公司成立于三年前,运营母公司为Naffa Innovations Pvt.Ltd,两位联合创始人分别是Kumar Abhishek和Vivek KumarSingh。

该公司支持使用声音(音调)和近场通信(NFC)标签进行移动支付,从而使任何移动设备无需互联网即可进行支付。不仅如此,他们还在商家(移动和销售点)和客户交互点(移动钱包和移动银行应用)上集成了专有的软件开发技术套件。

与依赖于硬件的NFC或QR码不同,ToneTag适用于所有移动设备,包括功能手机,并且不需要对现有基础设施进行任何投资。除了提供支付服务之外,Tone Tag还提供基于位置的服务和商户消费者参与互动解决方案。

Naffa Innovations Pvt. Ltd, which operates digital payments start-up ToneTag, has raised $8-10 million from a clutch of marquee, strategic investors led by Amazon Inc. and Mastercard, said three people directly aware of the development.

ToneTag’s existing investors include Manipal Global Education chairman Mohandas Pai, PremjiInvest’s chief investment officer T.K. Kurien and Facebook executive Anand Chandrasekaran. The start-up is also in talks with other strategic investors, said the people, requesting anonymity.

ToneTag founder Kumar Abhishek and Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the funding round.

The start-up enables contactless digital transactions on mobile phones, card swiping machines, automated teller machines and other payment-enabling devices.

It also offers software updates on regular intervals.

ToneTag, which already has an existing partnership with Mastercard, is in the process of integrating its technology, which uses sound waves to transfer data, with the Amazon platform.

The company facilitates on-delivery payments and peer-to-peer transactions, and works with over 300,000 merchants, including Fabindia and Shell petrol pumps, among others.

It has also forged alliances with a number of leading banks and digital wallets, including HDFC Bank Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd, Freecharge and Airtel.

The companies have integrated their digital applications with ToneTag’s software.

Amazon’s and Mastercard’s bet on ToneTag comes at a time when Google is aggressively pumping money into start-ups and technologies that support Google Assist.

Globally, experts tracking the payments space are expecting sound waves to emerge as the next big thing. California, US-based audio and speech recognition company SoundHound, which uses similar technology, had recently raised $100 million from strategic investors led by China’s Tencent Holdings and Hyundai.

The transaction marks Amazon’s third major venture investment in India in the past six months. It had also bet on online insurance start-up Acko and digital lending start-up Capital Float.

Amazon’s investment in ToneTag also comes at a time when the Seattle-based e-commerce giant is doubling down on its digital payments business globally, especially in strategically important countries such as India, where it has already committed to spend at least $5 billion.

According to recent regulatory filings with the ministry of corporate affairs, Amazon India is preparing to increase its investment in its payments arm by at least five times. It has also increased its authorised capital for Amazon Pay India Pvt. Ltd to Rs2,000 crore ($305 million) from Rs400 crore.


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