oliver prill: Tide intends to up its customer base in India

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UK-based Tide, a banking application for businesses, is aiming to increase the number of its customers in India to about half a million from around 200,000 currently.

It also intends to increase its headcount here from around 800 currently to 2,000 in the next three years. Tide had announced its India launch in 2021.

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“The small businesses in the country are digitising rapidly and at Tide we are in a position to help them digitise their financials through our platform,” Oliver Prill, chief executive officer, Tide (Global), said during an interaction with ET.

Prill did not comment exactly on any additional investments Tide will make here, but said he is ready to pump in capital proportionate to his plans here. In 2021, Tide had announced an investment commitment of Rs 1,000 crore in India.

Tide India is run by Gurjodhpal Singh, who was previously with digital payments firm PayU.

It runs a prepaid wallet in partnership with Transcorp, which is a prepaid payment licence holder in the country. Tide offers an expense card which is powered by RuPay on this prepaid wallet and allows its customers to accept payments, manage pay outs and keep a track of their expenses.

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“We will bring the entire business banking stack which we run in the UK to India eventually, but the question is in what sequence,” Prill said.Tide is in an advanced stage to roll out credit for its customers in the country and is already in partnership with some lenders. Explaining its lending strategy, Prill explained that Tide offers a platform to connect small businesses with the right set of lenders, which helps them access credit easily and saves time. In India, it will roll out a similar marketplace platform.

In January, Tide will launch bill payments in partnership with NPCI Bharat Billpay and is set to roll out invoicing, bank transfers and ATM cash withdrawal for its merchant partners in India.

The Tide platform is used by micro businesses and is also designed to cater to the needs of freelancers, including pharmacists, tax and legal professionals, doctors, beauticians and grocery store owners. A bulk of these merchants in India are based in small cities like Bareilly, Kota, Murshidabad, Firozabad, Malda and Bhopal.

“We have around 9% of our entire merchant base from the north-eastern part of the country,” Prill said.

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