Breaking ground: Ravi Gupta unveils Safexpay's GCC journey and aspirations

Adgully Bureau |
In an exclusive interview, Ravi Gupta, Founder and CEO of Safexpay, provides insights into the strategic decision to expand into the GCC region, with a particular focus on Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Oman. As the digital payments landscape in the GCC experiences robust growth, Gupta sheds light on Safexpay's commitment to offering tailored payment solutions, collaborating with key industry players, and investing significantly in the region. With an ambitious growth projection and innovative technologies like facial recognition-based payments, Safexpay aims to redefine the fintech landscape in the GCC and beyond. Excerpts:

Can you elaborate on Safexpay's decision to expand into the GCC region, specifically targeting Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Oman?

Safexpay's strategic decision to expand into the GCC region, specifically targeting Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Oman, stems from the robust growth observed in the digital payments sector within the region. With the digital payments market in the GCC poised to reach a total transaction value of US$106.30 billion in 2023, and an anticipated annual growth rate of 12.09% from 2023 to 2027, there is a burgeoning demand for comprehensive payment solutions. Notably, the digital commerce segment is projected to lead with a total transaction value of US$61.74 billion in 2023. This presents a significant opportunity for Safexpay to actively participate in the dynamic digital payments and fintech landscape, aligning with the region's governmental initiatives and the substantial drive towards digitization.

How does Safexpay plan to tailor its payment solutions to meet the unique needs of businesses and consumers in the GCC countries?

Safexpay stands out in the GCC market by specializing in tailored payment solutions, uniquely addressing the needs of businesses and consumers. While others focus on payments, Safexpay excels in solving fintech and banking challenges, offering customized platforms that align precisely with client needs. This commitment to customization positions Safexpay as a distinctive and valuable player in the market.

Could you provide more details about the specific payment solutions Safexpay is offering in these GCC countries, such as White Labelled Payment aggregation and Facial Recognition-Based Payments?

The White Label Payment Aggregation platform offered by Safexpay serves as a comprehensive portal with a consolidated dashboard. It encompasses various features, including multiple payment plugins, diverse payment modes, payment links, e-invoicing, analytics, and notifications. The platform is designed for advanced customization to cater to the specific needs of businesses in the GCC countries. In addition to the White Label Payment Aggregation, Safexpay introduces a Facial Recognition-Based Payments platform. This innovative solution is aligned with the global shift towards contactless payments. It enables seamless checkouts through facial recognition technology, ushering in a new era where users no longer need to remember passwords or carry physical cards. The emphasis on identity verification through facial recognition enhances security and convenience in the payment process.

The partnerships with organisations like Magnati, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, and Dubai Chamber of Commerce are crucial for your expansion. How do these partnerships facilitate your operations in the GCC region?

Partnerships with organizations like Magnati, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, and Dubai Chamber of Commerce play a pivotal role in Safexpay's expansion in the GCC region. The collaboration with Magnati, for instance, has already resulted in the successful implementation of the White Label Payment Aggregation platform and the delivery of an extensive suite of payment solutions with multiple value-added services.

Safexpay's strategic approach involves fostering an ecosystem-led platform partnership methodology. By partnering with key players in the GCC region, the company aims to create a comprehensive ecosystem where Safexpay adds significant value and establishes strategic collaborations to deliver advanced payment and solution-based platforms. The focus is on core automation and digitization of existing processes, offering a range of solutions from payment services and digital merchant onboarding to cutting-edge technologies such as facial recognition-based payments and engagement in the metaverse. These partnerships are instrumental in positioning Safexpay as a key player in driving the automation and digitization agenda within the GCC business landscape.

Safexpay is committing a significant investment of approximately 10 million USD in the GCC region. What are the key areas or initiatives that this investment will support?

This investment will primarily support key initiatives in the areas of awareness, market expansion, and the establishment of dedicated sales and product teams within the GCC regions. Recognizing the importance of government support and collaboration with banks and fintechs, Safexpay aims to strengthen its position by actively contributing to the region's digitization journey. The investment underscores Safexpay's commitment to fostering growth and innovation in the digital payments and fintech landscape of the GCC.

Your growth projection of 80-100% annually by 2025 is ambitious. What strategies and factors do you believe will contribute to achieving this growth in the GCC market?

Safexpay's ambitious growth projection of 80-100% annually by 2025 is underpinned by a comprehensive three-pronged strategy. First and foremost, the company aims to build market awareness by showcasing the unique features of its white-label solutions, emphasizing their high level of customization. Secondly, Safexpay is committed to collaborating with key ecosystem players in the GCC region, forming strategic partnerships to deliver tailored solutions and fostering a demand for white-label market development. Lastly, Safexpay plans to facilitate market expansion across various sectors and regions. This involves not only offering its current suite of services but also expanding its range to meet the specific needs of diverse markets and sectors within the GCC region. This multifaceted approach positions Safexpay to effectively navigate the dynamic landscape and capitalize on emerging opportunities for growth.

How do you see the contactless payment landscape evolving in the GCC region, and how is Safexpay positioning itself to be a key player in this space?

We anticipate a significant evolution in the contactless payment landscape in the GCC region, driven by the imperative for secure and convenient solutions post-COVID. To position itself as a key player, Safexpay has introduced innovative technologies, including facial recognition-based payments and metaverse payments. These advancements cater to the growing demand for fast and secure contactless payment methods. We envision a future where facial recognition seamlessly extends beyond unlocking devices to simplify payment processes. The integration of metaverse payments reflects the company's commitment to pioneering novel and user-friendly solutions in the GCC's dynamic payment landscape.

You mentioned a focus on on-boarding around 5000 merchants in the next 2-3 years. Can you share your strategy for merchant acquisition and how you plan to serve their unique needs in the GCC markets?

Safexpay's strategy for merchant acquisition in the GCC markets centers around its role as a B2B2C player, specializing in tailored solutions for banks and fintechs. The company plans to extend similar customized solutions to multiple banks and fintech partners across the GCC, facilitating merchant onboarding through these entities. The focus is on providing solutions like Digital Merchant Onboarding with Value-Added Services (VAS) and Software as a Service (SAAS) to ensure a seamless onboarding experience. Safexpay has dedicated teams for merchant integration and support, aiming to streamline and enhance the onboarding process for merchants in the region.

Safexpay aims to become the preferred payment service provider for customised fintech solutions. What sets Safexpay apart from competitors in the GCC market?

What sets us apart includes our white-label and custom payment aggregation platform, seamlessly adaptable to any fintech or banking partner. Our offerings extend beyond payments, providing a comprehensive suite of services and solutions. With in-house development capabilities and a proven track record in India, we bring a wealth of experience to the GCC region. Moreover, Safexpay stands out by consolidating multiple partnerships, whether in payment modes, banking collaborations, or e-commerce plugins, into a unified portal, offering a streamlined and comprehensive view of services.

The expansion plan in the GCC region is a significant step. Could you outline any plans for further expansion into neighboring markets after establishing a foothold in the GCC?

Certainly, beyond the GCC region, Safexpay envisions expanding its footprint into neighboring markets. The company is keen on fostering partnerships for payment platforms and services in countries like Sri Lanka, recognizing the substantial scope for digitization. Leveraging India's expertise, Safexpay aims to contribute to the growth of its neighboring nations. The overarching goal is to be a catalyst for positive change, acting as an enabler for these nations to progress by leveraging Safexpay's advanced technological infrastructure.

How does Safexpay intend to contribute to the fintech and techfin space by offering innovative solutions in the GCC region and beyond?

Leveraging advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence for metaverse and facial recognition-based payments, coupled with data analytics, the company aims to introduce secure and streamlined financial solutions tailored to the unique needs of the GCC countries. These innovations not only enhance traditional financial services but also pave the way for financial inclusion, digital payments, and personalized banking experiences, including easier e-commerce checkout services. Safexpay envisions a future where individuals and businesses in the GCC region can seamlessly access, manage, and optimize their financial activities, contributing to the region's economic growth and technological advancement on a global scale.

What challenges and opportunities do you foresee in the GCC market, and how is Safexpay prepared to address them?

In the GCC market, we see a significant opportunity in customization, including platform adaptability and multilingual adoption. By offering features such as Arabic checkout pages and customizable templates, the company aims to collaborate with key players and turn these opportunities into success stories. Additionally, Safexpay views existing players in the GCC markets as a chance to identify and address unmet needs or underserved solutions, paving the way for further innovation and growth in the region. Through strategic partnerships and a focus on meeting specific market demands, Safexpay is well-positioned to navigate challenges and capitalize on opportunities in the dynamic GCC landscape.