Just a month or so ago, in December 2021, SoftBank made an investment that raised eyebrows in India’s fintech circles. One, it invested $50 million, a fraction of the cheque size the Japanese investment powerhouse is known to usually cut—in 2017, it invested $1.4 billion in payments company Paytm*. Two, the startup it invested in has been around for nearly a decade and its payments software is present in almost 300 million handsets. Except, the company has flown so far under the radar that one would be hard-pressed to recall seeing its name in mainstream media.

The founders of Juspay, the fintech startup in question, seem to prefer staying low-key. “I have been focussed on problem-solving. To be a consumer brand that everyone knows of was not a priority back then,” says Vimal Kumar, who co-founded the company along with Ramanathan RV in 2012.

The company is a ‘payments orchestrator’—a tech layer between customers and merchants. It helps improve the online payments experience for the former, while simplifying payments for the latter.

In the last five years alone, the number of payments options has exploded, going from just debit/credit cards and net banking to almost 100 different options, including e-wallets, real-time payments apps, and Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services. Each brings with it more complexity—like EMI options for cards, rewards and loyalty, etc.

Merchants, for their part, want all those options available to their customers, who could be using different payment methods for different apps. This is where Juspay’s Software Development Kits (SDKs), embedded deep within these apps, kick in. They power everything from the time you land on a checkout page—from laying out payments options, to allowing you to ‘save a card’ for future use, to automatically inputting one-time passwords. Everything that makes a transaction more frictionless. The company processed $55 billion worth of payments in 2021—around 15-20% of total online transactions in India that year.

Juspay is also deeply involved with two India Stack India Stack India Stack India Stack refers to a collection of APIs developed by iSpirt that help deliver services for authentication (Aadhaar), payments (UPI), document storage (DigiLocker), consent (Account Aggregator) projects. In December 2016, it built BHIM BHIM The Ken The unlikely story of BHIM, the upsetter of plans Read more , India’s first UPI app, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in three weeks. Currently, Juspay is helping build a credit ecosystem similar to UPI called the Open Credit Enablement Network (OCEN), and Sahay Sahay The Ken Sahay, India’s fintech disruption sequel Read more , the app that will ride on OCEN, much like BHIM did with UPI.

AUTHOR

Arundhati Ramanathan

Arundhati is Bengaluru-based. She is interested in how people use money in the digital age and how new economies will take shape based on that interaction. She has spent over 12 years reporting and writing on various subjects. Previous stints were at Mint, Outlook Business and Reuters.

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