It was a pleasure to serve as a judge for the e-Pay Innovation award at the recent ETA Expo in New Orleans, LA. The winner of the $10,000 award was Trak for developing technology aimed at moving Brazil’s population from a paper payment system to a more efficient electronic format.
The ETA Technology Committee oversaw the event, which was part of the 2013 Annual Event and Expo in New Orleans. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided funding for the winner of the e-Pay Innovation Award and offered scholarships for several startup companies to exhibit in the Payments Next Zone section of the Expo.
The focus of the event was to find startup companies that have a unique payment solution to offer to the unserved and underserved populations of developing countries. The Gates Foundation has a core belief that the developing populations around the world can rise out of poverty much faster if they have access to technology. Electronic payment technology can quickly replace ancient barter systems and rapidly increase commerce, especially in countries where the masses are just now gaining access to mobile phones.
The winning Trak system presents a unique electronic method for processing Beleto transactions in Brazil. Beleto is an old way of presenting paper invoices to the end-use customer who then physically presents payment at the merchant’s bank. The Trak Beleto incorporates a smartphone app that stores customer- and merchant-account information and provides a faster, more streamlined way of completing transactions. Trak is using the Beleto offering in Brazil as a proof of concept to bring to other countries that have no advanced method of conducting transactions beyond old fashioned bartering systems.
The ETA Technology Committee will continue working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to discover innovative payment solutions that can be brought to the unserved and underserved populations around the world. The next event will be at the ETA Strategic Leadership Forum which will be held in Scottsdale, Arizona in October. I would welcome the opportunity to continue serving as a judge on this distinguished panel. It was an honor to meet the legends, entrepreneurs and visionaries in the payment industry who have developed unique and beneficial offerings. And I look forward to watching the evolution of these great ideas as they come to fruition and become available to the masses.
About the Author: As Regional Sales Manager for Layered Tech, Steve Chu (@stevendkchu) brings over 9 years of experience to the Payment and PCI Compliant Hosting industry. His background prior to Layered Tech was with HMS/Micros Systems, which provides a point-of-sale solution for the hospitality industry, and also with global IT consulting firm, Sogeti Capgemini.