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November 25, 2007

Online bill payment firms make a comeback

With Clearstone Ventures and SIDBI Ventures investing into BillDesk and the Battery Ventures and Greylock combine backing TechProcess (the new avatar of ICICI Venture backed BillJunction), online bill aggregation companies have made a comeback on VC radar screens. Businessworld has an article on the trends in this space and business models of these firms.
“There are only two aggregators in India, and their business models are very different,” says Shalini Mehta, executive vice-president for retail liabilities and branch banking at Kotak Mahindra Bank. “The business for aggregators has grown only over the past two years. Last year, it was estimated that only 300,000 online payments were made. But this year, the number could go to 1.8 million.”

Mumbai’s BillDesk and Tech Process Solutions (TPS) are the two aggregators ploughing this lonely, potentially fertile furrow. Ever since broadband took off in India two years ago, both the companies are waiting for billers, such as utilities and mobile service providers, to get more people to pay online.

...In a study conducted by the IAMAI, 51 per cent of the 3,000 people interviewed were comfortable paying in cash, and 37 per cent preferred to pay by cheque. However, Srinivasu believes although individuals could be shying away from using the internet to pay bills, the number of companies paying bills online is on the rise.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.