Info-tech

Directi unveils Zeta digital meal vouchers, sees ₹8,000-cr market potential

Jessu John | Updated on January 19, 2018

Bhavin Turakhia

Ramki Gaddipati

Will enable employees to use or transfer vouchers to merchants over mobile



Corporations have for years relied on tax-saving and employee-benefit schemes to help retain and reward employees. Sodexo and Ticket meal vouchers have been popular with HR departments and have helped pay for an employee’s meals at the office.

They’re also redeemed against grocery purchases. But because these vouchers come with an expiry date, unused or undistributed vouchers lend to some losses for the corporation. For Directi Group’s CEO and Co-founder Bhavin Turakhia this was a clear opportunity — Zeta, one of its bouquet of companies, is now a digital meal voucher brand.

“Zeta’s main objective is to disrupt payments and we looked at Corporate Tax Benefit. The meal voucher space has seen no disruption and we’re the first company to have digitised this product,” Turakhia declares.

Being paper-based, meal vouchers have traditionally been cumbersome to carry around.

Employees can now either use or transfer the vouchers to merchants over mobile while HR teams have the ease of one-click distribution via a desktop app. All of this in a few seconds, according to Turakhia who adds that continuing the paper-based model would no longer make sense.

Device-to-device

“In our model, all transactions will take place from smartphones and devices. If there are more than 200 million smartphones in India and the current market for meal vouchers is about ₹4,000 crore, our target over the next year will be to take this to ₹8,000 crore,” says Turakhia.

Zeta’s digital meal vouchers are reportedly tamper-proof and secure, besides being fully compliant with RBI guidelines, the Information Technology Act as well as income tax regulations.

“Connectivity can sometimes be faulty across the country, and that’s why our system makes a difference. Transfer of digital meal vouchers can happen without talking to Zeta’s servers – a one of a kind technology,” explains Ramki Gaddipati, CTO and Co-founder, Zeta.

Zeta is the latest addition to the Directi Group companies, which include Ringo, Radix, Code Chef and Skenzo among others. In India, Zeta will employ a direct marketing and sales approach to promote its digital meal vouchers. On the anvil are other technology solutions “that will change the face of commerce in India”.

“We’ll be operating from 8 offices across the country and our sales team comprises of about 60 people. The way we see it, the process for medical and other reimbursement will be similar to meal vouchers. Our objective is to remove paper and eliminate delays in reimbursements to employees,” says Turakhia.

Zeta partners with RBL Bank to issue the vouchers and manage transactions. Currently about 14 companies are using Zeta’s digital meal vouchers in the pilot stage. Parent company Directi’s 1,500 employees are said to be enjoying the benefit too.

Amreesh Gulati, Head of Transaction Banking & Payments Services, RBL Bank Ltd, says, “Directi’s background is solid on technology and they’ve bootstrapped a number of companies successfully. They’ve also done their homework on the regulations and done a lot of thinking in a space that affects employees and end consumers.”

Other plans

Gulati said that there is a plan to go beyond meal vouchers and tackle medical reimbursements as well as fuel and travel expense claims.

He also indicated that the two entities may partner to co-create products going forward, even entering the retail space at some point.

Zeta reports that about 15 lakh consumers use meal vouchers for food and grocery purchases in India. Turakhia wants to focus on the Indian market before taking Zeta’s solutions overseas.

Published on February 03, 2016

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