Mobile payments tech startup ToneTag secures fresh capital
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Bangalore-based Naffa Innovations Pvt. Ltd, which operates mobile payments technology platform ToneTag, has raised Rs 8.5 crore ($1.33 million) in a fresh round of funding, a person familiar with the development told VCCircle.

The company raised this sum from an overseas investor late last year, the person said. It is not clear whether this is part of a larger funding round. Email queries to ToneTag co-founders Kumar Abhishek and Vivek Kumar Singh did not immediately elicit any response.

ToneTag was founded in 2013. Abhishek, who is its CEO, worked with tech companies Infosys, MindTree and IBM. Singh, a chartered accountant by qualification, is the finance and product chief at ToneTag. He was previously a financial analyst at mobileGullak, a platform that offered frictionless payment and loyalty management solutions for retailers.

In 2015, ToneTag had raised $1 million from Reliance Venture Asset Management, the venture capital arm of Reliance Capital Ltd.

In November 2016, the company had announced an undisclosed amount of funding raised from investors that included Nasscom foundation trustee Arun Seth; former Infosys finance chief TV Mohandas Pai, former Snapdeal chief product officer Anand Chandrasekaran and Deepak Ghaisas, chairman at Gencoval Strategic Services Pvt. Ltd.

The company is also backed by Elevate Innovation Partners and Aakash Prakash, founder of Singapore-based Amansa Capital, who was formerly director of investments for India at Singapore state investment firm Temasek Holdings.

ToneTag enables mobile payments using sound (tone) and near-field communication (NFC) tags, thereby enabling any mobile device to make payments without Internet. It integrates its proprietary software development kit at both merchant (mobile, point-of-sale) and customer interaction points (m-wallet, m-banking apps).

Unlike NFC or QR Codes, which depend on hardware, ToneTag works on all mobile devices, including feature phones, and does not require any capital investment in existing infrastructure. Besides payments, Tone Tag also offers location-based services and proximity-based consumer engagement solutions.

The company recently rolled out a product called ToneTag Retail Pod for retailers. The pod is a device that looks like a round portable bluetooth speaker. Customers just have to tap their phones on the device, which then emits a sound wave carrying data that is received by the mobile phone. Once this happens, the payment is complete.

The company's technology can also be used for contactless money withdrawals from ATMs, cashless payments at toll plazas and parking, and mobile payments at railway ticket counters, according to information available on its website.

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