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How Bhavin Turakhia is trying to disrupt corporate meal voucher business

Bhavin Turakhia, CEO and Co-founder, Zeta

Bhavin Turakhia, CEO and Co-founder, Zeta

Serial tech entrepreneur Bhavin Turakhia’s digital payments platform Zeta has rolled out its first product – Zeta Meal Vouchers –which aims to provide employees access to corporate meal vouchers at the click of an app.

“The corporate benefits and expense management is Zeta’s first vertical, under which the first product is Zeta Meal Vouchers,” Turakhia told Techcircle.in.

“If you look at the corporate tax benefits, reimbursements, and expense management, the processes are extremely cumbersome. Our goal is to eliminate paper and delays from corporate benefits and corporate expense management, and for that we have created Zeta wallet. There will be various instruments in this wallet, and the first product or instrument is Zeta Meal Vouchers,” he added.

Zeta, run by Better World Technology Pvt Ltd, was founded in April 2015 by Turakhia and Ramki Gaddipati.

HR managers, through a desktop interface, can transfer meal vouchers to employees at one-go. Employees can then receive these meal vouchers on their smartphones via the Zeta app.

The Zeta app is supported on Android, Windows and iOS platforms.

Since these meal voucher booklets or instruments are recognised as prepaid instruments by the Reserve Bank of India, these require to be issued by a bank. Zeta has therefore entered into a commercial engagement with RBL Bank for pan-India rollout of the meal vouchers.

These digital vouchers can be used to purchase food and non-alcoholic beverages – irrespective of whether the outlet is a Zeta affiliated partner or not, said Turakhia. The startup has already partnered with 100,000 merchants, it claimed.

“We have a massive team for both corporate sales and merchant sales across the country, including Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, and Ahmedabad,” he added.

As of now, the Zeta Meal Voucher is available to the 1500 employees of Turakhia’s Directi Group. Turakhia said Zeta is talking to multinational companies to get them on board. “In one year, our goal is to get 2 million employees in India to use Zeta meal vouchers,” Turakhia said.

Explaining the business model, Turakhia said Zeta will charge merchants 1-2 per cent commission.

The startup said it will include medical and petrol reimbursements inside the Zeta wallet by March 2016.

Meal voucher spend in India is about Rs 4,000 crore annually. Turakhia said only 1 million employees in India use meal vouchers, compared to about 10 million employees who can use these meal vouchers but do not because companies don’t issue these vouchers as the entire process is cumbersome, costly, and difficult to manage.

Sodexo and Ticket are the two biggest players in the meal voucher business in India. Sodexo Merchant Network is spread across 1,500-plus cities and over 25,000 outlets in India, while Ticket Restaurant Meal Vouchers — operated by Edenred India — is 14,000-plus outlets strong and spans more than 3400 cities in India.

“In two months, we aim to have more merchants on our platform than Sodexo and Ticket have,” said Turakhia.

Zeta was launched with $4 million internal funding, and is open to raising more funds if required, Turakhia added.

The Directi Group is a conglomerate of tech companies operating across India, USA, China, Dubai and Europe. The current revenues of the group touches $200 million. The Directi brands include Media.net, Ringo, Flock, Radix, Reseller Club, WebHosting.info, Domain Advertising, Skenzo and CodeChef.

3 Comments

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Julia Estes Morgan January 8, 2016 22:07

Great job, Bhavin!

Manish Ashar January 9, 2016 2:13

Nice start. Congratulations and all the best.

Rishabh Gupta January 10, 2016 23:08

Awesome Bhavin.

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