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Future of digital payments – What's next for India's Digital Space: Lyra Network



Future of digital payments – What's next for India's Digital Space: Lyra Network

In India’s journey towards becoming a cashless economy, two words and their impact played a significant role, ‘demonetization’ and ‘COVID-19’. One laid out the foundation of digital payments and another became the main source to build up the digital payments ecosystem.

Back in 2016, demonetization was a push from the government to convert India from a cash-based economy to a cashless economy. But India had witnessed digitization with steady progress way back in the 90s. With technologies like MICR, ATM, credit, debit cards followed by digital wallets, prepaid cards, recharge vouchers, etc., the payment industry was supported by new technologies and innovations. With the rise of Fintechs, the growth of the payment industry has seen many innovative solutions and methods to transact digitally. With astounding initiatives and innovations like, UPI, FASTags, NFC payments, QR codes, interoperable digital wallets, etc., Indian digital payment space certainly holds a promising future.

In the pandemic and the eventual lockdown, the digital payment sector has witnessed ups and downs. The new normal of COVID-19, social distancing, has influenced not only consumer behavior towards shopping but also how they pay for things. However, with the government’s initiative, local and new businesses like online storefronts utility bills, etc. are embracing digital payments and with that’, many digital platforms have seen recoveries. One such platform that has gained enormous popularity is contactless payments.

“Pandemic has created a big opportunity for contactless payments. As awareness about digital payments is spreading pan India, more number of people are actually interested in using contactless payments. They know what contactless payments are, how they work and they prefer to use contactless payments,” Says Rajesh Desai, CEO & MD, Lyra Network.

“While contactless payment is sitting comfortably with consumers, it is crucial for merchants to adapt to such methods, understand them, and cater to the customer needs,” he further added.

Today, more than 60% of Indians use mobile and online banking for financial transactions, and many of them want to continue with digital payments in the post-covid world. But still, four out of five payments are done by cash, and one of the main reasons is the lack of internet access. Though there are many external factors directly or indirectly affecting the growth of digital payments like government’s initiative, the pandemic, digital awareness campaigns by the payment solution providers, Fintechs, banks, and the government, etc., the mobile penetration and a robust digital payment infrastructure will allow for a continuous expansion in digitalization and digitization.

Many digital payment platforms have seen their all-time high during this pandemic, so as many digital payment solution providers. Lyra as a Fintech is also playing a pivotal role in making India’s journey towards the cashless economy.

“Lyra aims to be a ‘One stop solution for all payment requisites’. The backend infrastructure is Lyra’s key strength and the data centers at Mumbai and Bangalore are backbones. Our technology, ideas, and innovations are our greatest allies,” Rajesh added.

Lyra is working in the digital space providing transaction routing and payment processing solutions for more than a decade. For rural India, where there are connectivity and network issues Lyra is providing a connecting platform called ‘Lyra Connect’. With the active partnership with broadband companies, Telcos, several banking business correspondents, Lyra managed services are able to provide secure and stable connectivity and deliver banking and financial services.

Lyra has also introduced secure connections with intelligent platforms for Point Of Sales (POS) terminals with 2G/3G/4G/PSTN (and now Wi-Fi) technology under the fintech industry banner in India. With innovative solutions like Lyra NAC, a secure and powerful server that provides seamless connectivity and fast transaction gateway for payment processing without any glitch, Lyra payment switch, processing, and routing online payments with a higher success rate and faster processing time, Lyra provides efficient transaction services for all sectors.

Businesses are interested in the payment solutions that require much cheaper and less infrastructure to accept online payments. Payment processing industry and payment service providers are launching and researching the products/ services that will change customer service to more on a personal level. For a long time, banks have dominated the finance industry but with the rise of financial institutes, neo banking, and Fintechs, financial services have become more accessible. Now that there is a mobile app for literally everything, all the services are becoming more personalized and customized.

Soon in the future, the payment space will take more advanced and revolutionary routes. We can witness the development of blockchain payments, payments initiated by voice, biometrics and social media accounts, cryptocurrencies, cloud-based payments, AI, ML, IoT enabled payments, and many more innovative methods.

But payment space includes more than just payment methods, in the coming years, there will be interesting development on the side of digital payment solution providers, as they understand their role in the payment value chain and evolve their innovations, infrastructure, security, interoperability with the trends and the government’s regulatory regime.

Though due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic have increased the demand for cash, more people are now shifting towards using contactless payments. In a developing country like India, though financial inclusion has provided an opportunity to adapt to digital payments, the unbanked and underbanked sectors in Indian provide the biggest opportunity for the growth of digital payments. It is safe to say, that for now, due to the pandemic, India’s journey to becoming a cashless economy from a cash-based economy is taking a temporary halt at the contactless economy.


Climate tech Startup Bio-Logical raises $1m Seed round: Kenya’s Agricultural Sector to Get a Boost from Bio-Logicals Landmark Biochar Carbon Removal Facility



Climate tech

Climate tech company Bio-Logical has raised a $1m seed round to scale up its operations in Kenya, facilitating its mission to build climate resilient communities of smallholder farmers around the world.

Smallholder farmers are facing a dire outlook with faltering harvests, increasingly extreme weather and skyrocketing fertiliser prices becoming increasingly common due to climate change. Bio-Logical addresses this challenge through a circular economy, transforming waste into biochar, a super material that sequesters carbon for millenia and regenerates degraded soil. Their biochar is then incorporated into an organic fertiliser which is distributed to smallholder farmers in the region, regenerating land, increasing crop drought resistance and boosting yields by over 50%.

“Bio-Logical was founded on the belief that Smallholder farmers should not suffer at the hands of a climate crisis they have played no part in. At present, soil degradation and changing weather patterns due to climate change is directly threatening the livelihoods of 500 million smallholder farmers around the world.” Rory Buckworth, Co-Founder

Utilising its innovative technology, Bio-Logical’s first site will be the largest biochar production facility in Africa. It will transform over 30,000 tonnes of agricultural waste a year into biochar, sequestering 25,000 tonnes of CO2. This process will generate carbon credits, the revenue from which will be used to subsidise its resilience building fertiliser for smallholder farmers, boosting yields and reducing fertiliser costs.

We believe carbon credits should do more than simply remove carbon from the atmosphere and instead should be used to build the resilience of climate vulnerable communities” Philip Hunter, Co-Founder

The funding round is led by the Steyn Group alongside Angel Investors Rob Konterman, Luke Calcott-Stevens and Jochem Wieringa. The round will go towards the development of Bio-Logical’s first Kenya site which will pave the way for its expansion throughout the region that will see the company scale to support 1 million smallholders and sequester 1 million tonnes of CO2 annually by 2030.

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According to setscale, More than 50% of US Small Businesses are Unaware of Federal Government Contracts, Losing $84 Billion a Year in Valuable Deals



Setscale, a purchase order financing company, reports on small business financing, highlighting the lack of access to US government contracts

Setscale, the purchase order financing company, released today its first-ever report on US small business financing. The report surveyed US small business owners to better understand some of the financial barriers to small business ownership, including their awareness of federal government contracts for small businesses.

69% of US small businesses struggle with cash flow, preventing them from meeting the demand of government contracts.

More than half (52%) of all surveyed small business owners revealed that they aren’t aware of the specific contracts the US federal government awards to small businesses each year, missing out on approximately $84 billion* per year.

Government contracts are well-valued and often serve as a gateway to a steady source of income and small business growth. More than 70% (71%) of surveyed US small businesses say that they’re aware of lucrative and reliable government contracts, but more than half (52%) say they don’t know what specific contracts are available to them. And over a quarter of US small businesses (29%) are completely unaware that the federal government awards contracts to small businesses.

This report highlights that the federal government is investing in small businesses in record-high amounts, but business owners are still struggling to fill open government purchase orders. Almost 70% (69%) of US small businesses struggle with cash flow and working capital, preventing them from meeting the demand of a government contract. Many businesses pursue lines of credit from a bank or financial institution to fulfill purchase orders, but these are costly and hard to obtain. Alternative finance like purchase order financing can help these businesses secure and fulfill valuable government contracts.

Moreover, US small business owners say that a lack of cash flow and working capital prevents them from securing government contracts. At 22%, a lack of cash flow or capital is the second most popular reason that prevents US small business owners from securing a government contract. The most popular reason they aren’t securing government contracts is due to a lack of time and resources (25%).

“Our small business financing report sheds light on an issue that more than half of surveyed business owners know all too well – that even though the US federal government is awarding a record number of contracts to our small businesses, they’re still struggling financially to fulfill open purchase orders, potentially losing out on more than $80 billion each fiscal year,” comments Daniel Fine, Founder and CEO of Setscale.

“Government contracts are fierce competition for US small business owners for a reason. They’re reliable, well-valued, and often lead to steady sources of income. However, due to a lack of knowledge of the specific government contract awarding process, business owners are unsure if they can fulfill the government’s open purchase orders without pursuing a line of credit from a bank or financial institution,” elaborates Fine. “With interest rates at an all-time high, it’s an incredibly bad time to be a borrower. PO financing allows a small business to quickly bid on a contract, finance the full transaction, and scale operations to meet the size of the order.”

*In Fiscal Year 2022, the US federal government awarded $162.9B in federal contracting opportunities to small businesses. 52% of surveyed US small business owners reported that they aren’t aware of the specific contracts the US federal government awards to small businesses * $162.9B = $84B in lost opportunities.

Survey Methodology
Setscale designed and executed research for this report in collaboration with Censuswide. 251 US small business owners in companies with less than 50 employees (aged 18+) were surveyed online in October 2023. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

About Setscale
Setscale is a fintech startup solving the trade financing dilemma for small businesses. Small businesses frequently get purchase orders, but don’t have the money to fill them. Through its PO financing technology, Setscale finances the cost of those goods, allowing small businesses to focus on product and sales, enabling them to scale. Setscale is an ideal partner for SMBs, coming in where traditional financial institutions won’t, enabling SMB’s to finance their growth. Setscale funds supply. You meet demand.

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Monsha'at leads delegation of Saudi startups at Web Summit 2023



As part of its work to showcase the growth of the Kingdom’s SME sector, Monsha’at, the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, took part in Web Summit 2023: one of the world’s leading technology conferences.

Held from 13 to 16 November 2023 — in Lisbon, Portugal — the event provided Monsha’at the opportunity to spotlight Saudi Arabia’s most innovative SMEs. The authority led a delegation of Saudi start-ups, calling attention to their success and contributions to the national economy. Moreover, the event provided a platform for industry leaders, including policymakers, heads of state, and tech CEOs and founders, to address global challenges.

Sami Al Hussaini, Governor of Monsha’at, said: “2023 has been a landmark year for Monsha’at and the Saudi SME sector, with the number of start-ups in the Kingdom growing to over 1.2 million. While we have made a great deal of progress, we can achieve more. Launching innovative partnerships with businesses and entities around the world is essential. Events such as Web Summit 2023 enable us to do that, immersing some of our leading start-ups in an energized environment conducive to collaboration, innovation and growth.”

Saudi Arabia’s start-up ecosystem is currently undergoing a period of rapid growth. Amid the continued expansion of its non-oil sector, the Kingdom achieved one of the highest economic growth rates in the world last year and has been recognized as one of the best-performing countries in terms of leveraging reforms to improve its business environment. In Q2 2023, the Kingdom led the region in VC funding and capital raised, accounting for 42% of MENA funding at a value of $446 million.

Among the Saudi start-ups participating in Web Summit 2023 were: Zid, Lendo, Nuqtah, Syarah, Asasat Advanced Systems, Wosul, Kabi, Master Works, resal, WhiteHelmet, Mustadem, and Tachyon.

Monsha’at’s participation at WebSummit follows its recent participation in other world-class conferences, including SWITCH Singapore, and ComeUp Korea, where it has helped connect some of the Kingdom’s leading start-ups with the international business and investment communities.

About Monsha’at:

Monsha’at was established in 2016 with the aim of regulating, supporting, developing, and sponsoring the SME sector in the Kingdom in accordance with global best practices, in order to increase the productivity of SMEs and their contribution to GDP.

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