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Published on: Aug. 7, 2021, 12:54 p.m.
The Fable of plug, play and pay
  • Contractor: creating an efficient platform; Photo: Sanjay Borade

By Lancelot Joseph. Executive Editor, Business India

In June 2021, Mumbai-based Fable Fintech announced the close of its Series A funding. Its investors included marquee names such as Paytm owner One Nine Seven Communications, stock market investors Ashish Kacholia, Lashit Sanghvi and ex-Wall Street banker Sumeet Kanwar, among others. Fable, since its inception five years ago, has become one of the B2B providers of global cross border payment processing platforms to banks and money service businesses (MSBs).

Fable has been growing at a CAGR of 85 per cent over the last five years. The next few years of growth is predicted to surpass the Rs100 crore mark next year. The company aims to make a profit shortly with a predicted annual rate of return of 30 per cent.

This growth is commendable owing to the stiff competition in the segment by large global and Indian players including Infosys, Oracle, TCS, Wipro, IBM, etc. “While the established players were designing custom-made products for the banks, which usually limited the integration capabilities and led to a long implementation period, we sensed the demand for an agile, easy to integrate and extremely efficient cross-border transaction processing platform and delivered it in record time. In the process, we became a niche player that offers a tech platform play across cross border payments,” explains Naushad Contractor, the founder of Fable.

Started by a team of seven professionals led by Contractor, a seasoned fintech executive, Fable today powers more than 30 cross-border remittance and payments processing solutions offered by leading banks, money transfer operators, MSBs and other licensed entities to their retail and SME customers across eight countries. 

Contractor worked across a host of companies including Movida (a Visa JV), Vodafone (Mobile Commerce and Payments) and TimesofMoney – before taking the entrepreneurial plunge. 

“Having worked across the payments chain, it was hard to overlook the immense opportunities offered by a fast-growing cross border transaction processing segment, especially in a flattening world,” he adds. In 2015, he signed his first client, Yes Bank. Today, Fable caters to nine out of 10 top private sector banks in India including HDFC Bank, IDFC First Bank and Canara Bank. In addition, Fable’s platforms are also used by clients in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UK, Singapore, Bangladesh and Canada. 

Increase in digital payments

India is the highest receiver of remittances globally and last year that figure was $80 billion. At the same time, estimated market for small value trade and B2B payments (non-personal) is estimated to be as large as $25 trillion – making cross border processing platforms an essential for banks and financial institutions. As per McKinsey’s 2020 Global Payments report, Covid-19 has led to the reduction of cash and the increase of digital payments. 

Digitising and optimising trade finance transaction processing is the key to Fable’s ambition in the next 18-24 months. They have a suite of near ready products that are ready to get integrated to the ERP solutions of corporate banking customers.

The traditional banks and MSBs often compete with agile fintechs to grab a share of highly competitive cross border remittances. Fable sees a clear opportunity in what it describes as “truly unlocking the fintech potential of banks across the globe”.

  • One in every 4 dollars going cross border would be touching or using a platform from the Fable Family

The global opportunity is clearly visible to Fable post the fund raise. “In the last three years, we have built an ecosystem for unlocking the latent fintech potential in banks, financial institutions and businesses to move money worldwide in a secure, transparent, reliable and efficient manner with zero compromise on global compliance, AML & KYC norms. Our platforms are now ready for global deployment,” adds Contractor.

“Flexibility and integration as a plug and play platform remain at the core of Fable’s offerings. Hence, we are not competing with any solution provider as well as any database provider. This sets us on a unique path to seek growth across geographies”, says Jayanta Gharat, Chief Technology Officer at Fable.

Says Gireendra Kasmalkar, Founder Director at Pentathlon Ventures: “It is the right time to transition these platforms that are already processing large volumes to banks across the world with minor adaptations. This will give the banks the advantage they need before it’s too late and non-banks increase the lead they already have, in such a way that it becomes unsurmountable.”

Commenting on the investment, Ashish Kacholia, a market veteran says: “Fable Fintech counts nine out of top 10 private banks of India as its customers for Fx transfer solutions. Fable can unlock the fintech potential of banks across the globe. 

For the future, apart from foreign expansion, Fable is creating an innovation for banks to offer neo banking for expatriates, participation in the NUE, offering core treasury products, cross border ecommerce payments etc. 

Lastly, Contractor puts it simply: “One in every 4 dollars going cross border would be touching or using a platform from the Fable Family”.

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