PayNearby uses its tech platform to turn kirana stores into points of integrated commerce
Anand Kumar Bajaj, founder and CEO, PayNearby
By Srinath Srinivasan,
Mumbai-based PayNearby, co-founded by Anand Kumar Bajaj, Subhash Kumar, Yashwant Lodha and Rajesh Jha, aims to take integrated commerce hyperlocal, via kirana stores, given that these are the closest point of commerce in any given Indian locality, especially in rural India.
At the moment, the PayNearby app has 22 services listed on the app. During the lockdown, the usage of the platform went up, says Anand Kumar Bajaj. “We were able to assist customers through the trusted kirana store – where they could ask for, say, potatoes, onions and also money transfers. Once we began doing this, volumes and number of transactions really shot up, and we had to really do a technological augmentation to keep up with the increased demand, to continue scaling,” he adds.
There are over 17,200 pincodes on the PayNearby platform that are getting serviced and most of them are in rural areas. The shops listed on the platform act as aggregation centres. “When a migrant worker visits a PayNearby kirana store, he can simply swipe his card. Our Aadhaar Enabled Payments System or Micro ATMs will take care of what he wants to do. Transfer or withdraw money, open account or fixed deposit or pay bills,” explains Bajaj.
PayNearby is adding 30,000-40,000 kirana stores every month on the platform. The dwindling ATMs and the cost related to managing them are further contributing factors to the rise of this business. Apart from enabling discovery of local stores, the app lets users place orders online and get items from the nearest stores.
“We have integrated with two large partner banks who are attaching our database to FMCG companies. Because customers place orders on our platform, we can offer data driven insights to FMCG brands about which products sell through the kirana stores and which don’t, across the country,” says Bajaj, talking about the potential of the platform to move up the value chain and enabling inventory management for consumer brands at a hyperlocal level. Bajaj aims to keep expanding the services quarter on quarter.
“We are platform first and network next. We have partnerships with companies such as Muthoot Gold and extended lead for them for gold loan. We have partnered with a few banks to sell lending services,” adds Bajaj. In this whole network, the kirana store owners get a stable technology platform and an incentive for every transaction that takes place on it, through them. Incentives start from 0.5% and goes all the way up to 11-12%.
Today there are over 5 lakh retailers on PayNearby who sell various services and products. It tells retailers what kind of services or products are in demand in a particular area and educates them to sell those more, via videos and other forms of content. They are also given a leaderboard within their pincodes, visible only to them, based on how they drive commerce in their locality.