International recognition for SA fleet management startup Payment24

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South African mobile fleet management startup Payment24 was recently selected to take part in the Startupbootcamp Smart Transportation and Energy accelerator in Berlin, Germany.

The recognition of being selected by one of the most well known global accelerators comes as no surprise, as Payment24 is innovating in a space that has long required disruption.

The startup has developed a low-cost fuel management platform, designed to eliminate the hassle of managing, monitoring and controlling fleet fuelling transactions using real-time, mobile and cloud technologies.

“Our technology manages the entire fuelling cycle in an integrated fashion, presenting petroleum companies, fleet managers and drivers with a comprehensive, real-time view of their fuelling transactions,” co-founder Nolan Daniel told Disrupt Africa.

“In essence, we reduce fuel fraud by preventing unauthorised fuel transactions by probing pre-configured filling and financial rules in real-time, and we release the fuel pump for a predetermined amount if all the checks were successfully passed.”

For example, if you own a fleet of trucks, the Payment24 technology allows you to specify where each truck may purchase fuel, when they may purchase fuel and how much fuel they may purchase during a single transaction, on a weekly or monthly basis. Fleet owners can also create rules for their truck drivers, with all of this configured and managed in the cloud. Once created, it is effective immediately.

“When the truck stops at a service station, we identify the vehicle and driver using our mobile app, tamper-proof contactless windscreen tags, contactless cards or even automated vehicle plate detection cameras,” Daniel said.

“Once we know which vehicle and driver are at the service station, we check the rules relevant to the specific truck and driver, and set the petrol pump automatically to only dispense the pre-configured number of litres of diesel.”

When a transaction concludes, all stakeholders are notified and the transaction information is available immediately online.

Daniel and co-founder Shadab Rahil met when working as software engineers for a multinational petroleum company, and launched Payment24, initially part-time. They are now focused on the business full-time, and convinced they have found a solution to the outdated way the industry works.

“They either did not provide adequate protection against fraudulent transactions – think bank-issued fleet-cards with a mag-stripe and no PIN – or they were simply too expensive,” Daniel said.

“Cloud and mobile technologies enabled us to build a secure platform that we believe address these shortcomings with an offering that balances security, cost and ease of use.”

Payment24 has been bootstrapping thus far, with Daniel saying the company has no need to take on investment unless it can find a funder that can add to the business in strategic ways. This is due to the “phenomenal” uptake the solution has seen.

“Our mobile strategy and hardware agnostic approach allow us to enter regions with limited infrastructure and we have seen a lot of interest from across Africa,” Daniel said.

Though the startup has projects running in eight African countries, the co-founders see Payment24 as a global business, and are looking forward to exploring the European market via the Startupbootcamp programme.

“We have various income streams. The main one being selling Payment24 as a white-label solution to fuel companies and wholesalers. Another is providing the solution to companies that own their fleet vehicles. Most of our fees are subscription-based, either per vehicle or based on usage,” Daniel said.

As with any disruption, the startup has faced challenges in convincing potential clients to commit to Payment24, since it had no real track-record to speak of. But uptake has gradually been on the rise.

“We were fortunate to get a few “visionary” clients that saw the potential of Payment24 and it helped tremendously with our credibility as a company,” Daniel said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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