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On the back of increase in business, post demonetisation, Zeta to invest $25 million in 2017-18

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Zeta got a tremendous boost during the demonetisation period. The client base increased with spike in employee conversions among existing clients. In addition, the RBI’s decision to scrap paper-based meal vouchers in favour of electronic meal vouchers increased the popularity of digitized solutions. Zeta has already invested $19 million and planning to invest $25 million in 2017-18. EC’s Abhishek Raval speaks to Bhavin Turakhia, Co-Founder and CEO, Zeta

Zeta slashes the allowance claim process timeline from weeks to just a few minutes. Please discuss and give example.

The traditional methods of running a tax reimbursement system, which is still followed by many corporations are rife with resource-hungry, suboptimal elements like tedious paperwork, manual verifications, delays in tax calculations and lost documents, among other worries. By leveraging Zeta’s digital corporate dashboard, HR managers can transfer all grants, be it medical allowance, meal vouchers or any other employee benefit, to employees in just a few clicks. And, employees can view these grants in their respective accounts on the Zeta app. Employees can spend these grants using the Zeta Super Card, a magnetic stripe card powered by Mastercard / RuPay or via the Zeta app at several outlets or online stores easily.

Making claims is also simplified for employees. Once the employee makes spends, he needs to merely click a picture of the bills and upload it on the Zeta app or the web version for verification. Once the Optima experts validate these claims, the reimbursement amount will be credited into the employee’s account. HR managers can access reports of all employee claims, which are saved digitally for 8 years at any point of time. By using Optima’s suite of employee benefits organisations can save up to 90% of operations time and resources.

Zeta uses ML and image processing technologies to reduce both, time and cost of processing bill claims. How was it done before and now? how does it bring effectiveness in the HR function?

Zeta products are built around the idea that spending and receiving money should be seamless for everyone. We’ve harnessed our technology to create an advanced, digitised product suite that resolves the inefficiencies of the conventional way that salaried professionals receive and spend their tax benefits. At the center of it is Zeta’s digital payments system that’s intuitive and has some of the most stringent security standards ever built.  Earlier companies were processing bills manually which was a time- and  labour-intensive process. At Zeta we have put in place picture blur and duplicate detection by extracting various features from bill images. This helps the person at the backend to discard invalid bills in an instant and notify users accordingly.  Bills can be thoroughly vetted before approvals are made. This prevents discrepancies and also discourages misconduct of any sort.

From a CHRO angle, please provide the estimated cost saving per employee after having moved over to Zeta. Stats based on your interactions with current clientele.

Since the Zeta solution is fully digitised, HR managers can transfer grants to employees digitally and save resource time, which would have been otherwise wasted in a manual process. With Optima’s suite of employee benefits, organisations can save operations time and resources extensively. This translates to saving nearly 100 hours each month in disbursing and managing employee tax benefits. Additionally, by eliminating a paper-based approach of checking and maintaining files, organisations can save substantial costs and and ensure seamless and fast reimbursements to employees.

Please share the the next set of products Zeta is working on and what makes you think the products will click and that there is a demand for such innovations in the future ?

Zeta’s mission is to digitise employee benefits, cafeteria solutions, and rewards and recognition solutions. We forayed into this journey by launching an innovative cloud-based smart benefits suite called Optima in January 2016. The Optima range includes smart benefits such as digitised meal vouchers, fuel and travel card, communications card, medical reimbursements, gadget card, gift card and LTA card. Employees can spend these benefits via the Zeta app, a Mastercard and RuPay-powered pre-paid card called the Super Card and an NFC-enabled sticker, Super Tag,   We also recently launched Zeta Express, which is a smartphone-based meal ordering and payment solution that is revolutionising the corporate cafeteria space. Zeta Express is complemented by the Zeta Express Kiosk, which is an automated cashier that eliminates the need of queueing up at cafeterias.
We have a strong tech platform which enables Banks and Financial institutions expand their digital footprint in India. The main offerings include:
○ Card Management
○ Corporate Products
○ Customer lifecycle automation

Please share on some of the IT systems that you internally use. The cloud for example, is it based on servers residing in India or abroad?

We use AWS and for compliance reasons we have our own data centers as well. Zeta servers run both in India and abroad. We use micro services architecture which is built on top out micro services framework, providing us with linear scalability. In terms of technologies, we use Java, Node.js, Postgres, Cassandra, ElasticSearch, Redis and AWS.

How did 2016 AD (After Demonetisation) affected companies like Zeta? Share some stats.

The 2016 demonetisation accelerated India towards a digitized economy. With India having over 1 billion mobile subscribers, payments using apps became definitely more widespread. Zeta got a tremendous boost during the demonetisation period. We witnessed an increase in our client base post de-monetization. We also saw a spike in employee conversions among our existing clients. We also witnessed an increase in the number of queries from corporates for our Optima suite of tax benefits products. In addition, the RBI’s decision to scrap paper-based meal vouchers in favour of electronic meal vouchers increased the popularity of digitized solutions like Zeta Optima.

In a media interaction last year, you said that Zeta is open to taking their payment systems to retailers in the future. What’s the update on this?

Zeta helps merchants and retailers explore quick and safe payment options from customers. With each wave of innovation, the payments interface has also become easier to understand and navigate through.

First, we launched the Zeta app with robust security features that enables quick, cashless payments to vendors and also supports payment transfers to banks in a few taps. With Zeta’s digital platform, vendors no longer have to deal with the hassle of cash and providing change. They can receive payments from customers quickly and view their account balance on the Zeta app at any point of time. The payments made by customers via the Zeta app, can be sent to the retailer’s bank account directly. We call this system Shop ID, where each retailer is assigned a unique six-digit code and users can enter this code to make payments to the retailer via the Zeta app easily. This system has been developed keeping in mind small merchants and shop owners, who may not necessarily have a smart phone to accept payments.

Next, we introduced the Zeta Super Card, a magnetic stripe card that can be swiped at any card-accepting retail outlet or online store. Since the Zeta Super Card is powered by Mastercard/ Rupay, vendors don’t have to invest in any additional POS machines.

We also developed the Zeta Super Tag, an NFC (Near Field Communications) Tag – a one-tap payment solution for corporate cafeterias. Vendors can accept quick payments from employees when they just tap the tag on an NFC-reading device to spend their meal vouchers.


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