After quitting his job at Infosys, Kumar Abhishek set to work on making mobile payments more intuitive. “But it was not easy. We decided to address the gaps in the payment space,” said Kumar, citing the issues that a majority of Chennaites faced in the aftermath of the recent floods.

“Cash dispensers did not work and the POS machines also became dysfunctional as there was no connectivity. It could be a one-off situation, but that only liquid cash helps under such circumstance became obvious,” Kumar, founder of ToneTag, a Bangalore-based start-up told BusinessLine .

Kumar though, had at least two years before the Chennai rains kicked off this venture of developing a mobile payment kit using sound waves.

The company, which was incorporated in 2013 received its first round of funding to the tune of $1 million from Reliance Capital's VC arm - Reliance Venture Asset Management and some angel investors.

“We (I and my friend and co-founder of ToneTag - Vivek Kumar Singh) hired a research scientist from Amsterdam; we focused only on sound waves to develop the software for initiating contactless payment as every mobile device works on this (sound).

ToneTag can integrate with any mobile wallet, work on any operating system including point-of-sale (POS) terminal and power any mobile payment application. All you need to do is download the ToneTag app for initiating contactless payment in a jiffy,” Kumar explained.

“The algorithm of ToneTag ensures secure transaction with three layers of encryption and is therefore highly secure,” he added.

ToneTag is on a pilot run currently. “Banks are interested and so are regulatory bodies. No investment is required for running this application; the technology can sit on a bank application,” he said and pointed out that global banks had evinced interest in ToneTag.

To a query on commercial launch, he said “It has taken more than 16 years for us to have 11 lakh PoS machines. We are hoping that at least one lakh merchant devices will have ToneTag in their machines in say 12 months. We have all the clearances, are working with 11 issuers (including large banks and mobile wallets) and three acquirers. The technology provides tools to all stakeholders – merchants, issuers, acquirers and consumers – to realise frictionless in-store and in-app mobile payments,” Kumar said.