In 2014 The National Highway Authority of India introduced the idea of FASTag which is a wireless frequency-based identification tag in order to make toll collection more fast and cash-free. Then came an increase in toll collection, from 16percent in the year 2016-17, to more than 96% by 2021-22.
Apart from collecting tolls, the FASTag infrastructure is well-suited for further development.
In order to enable payments by autonomous vehicles, Luke Sequeira and Aprup Shet have seized the chance to make use of the infrastructure and created Numadic in Goa. Numadic in 2016 to create a vehicle interface platform that can be used for creating APIs and apps.
The software-as-a-service (SaaS) startup, which built its vehicle payment technology using the FASTag ecosystem, offers a simplified solution for banks, as well as logistics and automotive OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), to issue FASTags. The company also offers an engagement platform to end users , as well as software for car payments.
The problem is that the statement
Since the year 2016, the company has been involved on the payments for fleets. It has worked with large companies to monitor third-party fleets using GPS in addition to generating invoices.
Luke discovered that, while the logistics and freight space was filled with many participants, there was no technological innovation taking place in the field of digital payment for vehicles.
While at the same time there was an increase in UPI acceptance because of the demonetisation process and the increase in internet usage.
“It is a matter of a few fractions of a second or a few seconds faster that makes payments even simpler and acceptable,” Luke states.
He realized that in order for making payments at the station, motorists needed to open their smartphones or wallets. The company’s founders began working on the issue of automated payments in 2017-18 . They switched from the operational side of managing fleets to the transactional part.
“Payments require digitisation prior to the time that vehicle movements are automated. This business opportunity is the perfect time, as payment for vehicles will be automated in the coming 5–10 years” He adds.
The company was not without its initial difficulties that come with startups, such as dealing with big companies that don’t pay promptly, it was also having difficulties recruiting top talent in Goa because it wasn’t recognized as a serious company because it was an Goa-based company.
“For small companies like Numadic to grow, having access to the top talent was essential and we managed to do that within one year. Additionally, it’s not typical that companies hailing that originate from Goa to be recognized in the technology industry across India,” says Luke.
According to him, until recent, Goa neither had the infrastructure nor had a talent pool to recruit from. Additionally, prior to recent, Goa wasn’t able to attracted people who wanted to stay long-term.
“But the approach has changed since the onset of COVID-19 with remote working now becoming more acceptable, and Goa is being seen with a little bit more seriousness,” He says.
Since vehicle payments were new and the team was faced with doubt about the statement of problem as well as the solutions available and the likelihood that it would succeed.
Numadic has a relationship with corporate customers who license its own SaaS platform for an flat cost that is based on the amount of active users and the revenue generated from certain kinds of transactions.
The B2B company provides two fully-stack payment options for vehicles.
NU Issuance handles the digitisation of FASTag purchases across various platforms , including Google Pay, Amazon etc and also applications for banks. It also allows the sale and purchase of FASTags and other similar products for vehicles.
In addition, NU Toll provides mobile and web-based applications in digital and mobile tolling. success monitoring and analytics for toll transactions. It digitizes the recharging process as well as the continuous management of FASTag and similar payment for vehicles products.
The company develops FASTag APIs that utilize the FASTag network that was developed through National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) for leading FASTag issuer banks in India which allows third party developers to develop applications on top of credit and vehicle transactions, debits, among others. It offers the infrastructure required to make use of FASTags at locations such as parking spaces, fuel stations, traffic stops to facilitate fine collection, and so on.
“So rather than doing multiple integrations with different banks or oil companies, Numadic can rapidly deploy it over FASTag,” Luke says.
The company has partnered to Hindustan Petroleum and Indian Oil to utilize FASTags for fuel payment. The pilot started in October of last year.
In 2021, with the help of scanning tags designed through Numadic, ICICI Bank and IDFC First Bank also introduced FASTag-enabled fuel payment at selected outlets, by linking up with petroleum companies such as Indian Oil and Hindustan Petroleum.
The company is focused on fuel payment but it is planning to create sophisticated collection tools.
Numadic has raised $2.5 millions in a pre-series A capital round that was which was led by 9Unicorns and Venture Catalysts in October 2021. Numadic has a total of 40 members.
Luke is a tech-focused businessman and has held tech roles in India, Canada, and Europe. Additionally, he is the co-founder of StartupGoa.org through which he is determined to encourage the development of technology startups from Goan soil.
Aprup Shet Co-founder and VP of Partnerships as well as co-founded StartupGoa.org. He was also co-founder of the startup for alcohol delivery called HipBar which was recently bought by CRED.
“Depending on the environment, we may push and be more aggressive towards growth, but we are taking a balanced approach right now; and we will wait and watch, and tune up,” He says.
Numadic has processed more than 1 billion dollars in total transactions worth $1 billion.. It is competing against Park+ which is a startup based in Gururgam that makes use of FASTags to make payments in parking garages.
Based on Juniper Research, the global amount of transactions made by in-vehicle payment will surpass $4.7 billion by 2026, up from $87 million in 2021.
“We play a significant role in the digitization of fuel payment. Others are focusing on various aspects, including parking. We can see this happening in the coming years. A significant portion the fueling stations of India will be digitalized, where vehicles will have to get fuel and continue driving,” he signs off.