On this anniversary of India’s independence, an excerpt from The Hindu…
BeWo Develops Android Tablet-Based Field Device
Plan to raise Rs.20 crore in equity and Rs.50 crore in debt over the next 12 months
Chennai-based BeWo Technologies, a start-up in the financial inclusion and social impact space, has developed a 7-inch rugged Android tablet-based field device.
BeWo, short for Better World, was a project originated at San Diego in 2008. It was incubated by California-based chip-maker Qualcomm. It took a company format in 2010, with founders R. Sampath and P. Sharad moving back to India from the U.S. to run the start-up. It is now planning to raise Rs.20 crore in equity and Rs.50 crore in debt over the next 12 months.
“The money raised will be used for product deployment and building rural infrastructure. We are in talks with domestic and international institutions for the funds,” Mr. Sampath, co-founder and CEO of BeWo Technologies, told The Hindu.
The firm would be completing four years of operations this September. The field device, it is claimed, meets the government’s micro ATM standard and has features such as biometrics, Aadhaar-compliant fingerprint scanner, smartcard readers, thermal printer, regional language capability and point-of-sale. It is also 2G and 3G-enabled. The company also has a 10-inch Android device for retail point-of-sale. Some of the applications of the device include eKYC (know your customer), retail point-of- sale. BeWo is also backed by TT Jagannathan, Chairman of the TTK Group, in his personal capacity. The quantum of his investment in the firm was not disclosed.
Mr. Sampath said that the basic model was priced at Rs.14,000 and the high-end version at Rs.22,000. At present, the device is used for Tamil Nadu Rural Development (TNRD) and National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) pilot in Tiruvallur district.
“We are also planning to roll this out in kirana stores in association with FMCG companies. We have requests from Maharashtra, Punjab and Karnataka for piloting our system for public distribution systems,” he added.