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Fintech startup enables VAS revenues

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Retailers are increasing their revenues by hundreds of millions of rands selling virtual products and services known as value-added services (VAS).
These include prepaid airtime, prepaid electricity, gift cards, bill payments, money transfers, e-tickets and loyalty transactions.
But it’s not as simple as selling a normal stock item that sits on a retailer’s shelves.
A Cape Town-based FinTech business, Electrum is providing retailers and banks with the technology platform that they need in order to connect their systems to VAS providers and sell Value Added Services.
Jason Peisl, IS executive of customer applications at Pick n Pay, explains: “Value added services is a major growth area in our business. We are continuously adding new VAS to meet consumer demand for these products, and drive revenue growth. Electrum has allowed us to rapidly expand our market offering and manage the complexity of integrating with more than thirty third party VAS providers.”
The tremendous growth of VAS has created substantial demand from South African retailers such as Pick ‘n Pay for the technology to support the sale of these services. Founded by three of South Africa’s top payments tech experts, Electrum developed a solution to fulfil this need.
Dave Glass, MD of Electrum, says: “When we started Electrum, we realised that retailers needed a solution for processing VAS transactions, something that many of the existing technologies struggled with. Our cloud-based VAS platform is now processing billions of VAS transactions per annum, and we’re helping our customers grow their bottom line.”
The Electrum platform, which runs in the cloud, was specifically designed for VAS management, transaction processing and payments integrations. It provides fast, reliable, VAS integrations and easy-to-use management tools. It runs either as a stand-alone VAS platform or in conjunction with a retailer’s existing payments switch.
Electrum enables retailers to quickly bring VAS to market, reduces the cost of adding new integrations and in turn, drives additional revenue. Electrum is South Africa’s best platform for providing a single integration point that connects a retailer’s payments environment to the relevant VAS providers.
Glass concludes: “One of Electrum’s challenges in meeting customer demand is finding talented software developers as there is very limited supply in South Africa. However, we have found that Electrum is a very attractive place for developers to work, and we have built an excellent team with some real superstars.”
Dominique Collett, head of AlphaCode, a club for fintech entrepreneurs: “Electrum is exciting in that it is solving a real pain point for banks and retailers. The ability to integrate with retailers and banks quickly and seamlessly and allow them to enhance revenue through the sale of VAS, is a real win-win and a great example of value-adding B2B fintech.”