Sodexo, a paper voucher company has joined hands with Zeta, a financial technology startup, which had disrupted this space with its smartphone-based payments technology solution.
With this partnership, Sodexo plans to tide over a major regulatory hurdle of phasing out of paper vouchers by the end of this year as instructed by the Reserve Bank of India, and also expand its suite of offerings beyond meal vouchers to its corporate clients.
On this Stephane Michelin, chief executive officer, Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services India. said
“The aim is to provide the meal voucher benefits of Sodexo and merge it with the other benefits of Zeta such as LTA, medical benefits, meal and fuel, This will bring together the strong technology solution of Zeta with the market knowhow and reach of Sodexo.”
Sodexo meal vouchers and cards are used by 11,000 corporate entities of India and accepted at around 30,000 merchant outlets and is used by around 30 lakh consumers. The company, which operates in 80 countries across the globe, has the highest chunk of the market share in the Indian meal voucher space.
Highlighting the fact that there are 22 categories under which the Indian government allows corporate entities to provide benefit services to their employees, Michelin said that through this partnership they would be able to use technology to provide the entire gamut of services to their clients who had been long demanding more benefit solutions for their employees.
“In the paper format, it was impossible to provide all services to our clients such as LTA, medical benefits or fuel benefits, but through plastic cards and a smartphone application, they can be provided very easily,” – Michelin explained.
Following the RBI’s mandate to phase out paper vouchers, Sodexo is in the process of digitising the acceptance infrastructure at the 1500 locations in India where it is used.
“We have introduced digital acceptance infrastructure at 700 locations, and we will finish the rest 800 within the next six weeks, We are bringing in both QR code-based acceptance as well as point of sales terminals for card swipe.”
Highlighting the fact that Sodexo is not buying out Zeta or investing in the startup, the company specified that every transaction done on the Sodexo network during the course of the settlement will flow through the Zeta platform as well for which they will be paying Zeta a particular amount.
The partnership gives a major leg-up to Zeta, which has an independent client base of 600 and will now be accepted across all locations where Sodexo is accepted, thereby increasing its reach several times. Further, it will also help Zeta get access to a huge number of corporate clients.
“In partnership with Sodexo, we can reach a larger number of clients and customers, faster and help them benefit from the savings and simplicity our technology can offer,” said Bhavin Turakhia, co-founder of Zeta.
The company, through this partnership, is looking at a 30 to 40% growth in the number of consumers using this payment solution over the next year. While the tie-up is being made applicable in India as of now, Sodexo has plans to take the solution global depending on the success of the partnership.
Source : ET