What drives us
Bangladesh is a country of immense opportunity, it is a country that possesses great potential and holds the opportunity of becoming the next major IT hub. Yet, we are many steps behind in the world of payments. This is because of the lack of synergy between Banks, Non-Banking Financial Institutions, Regulatory Body and the populace at large. Although a start-up, Panacea has always focused on solving problems which have immediate impacts be it on the open markets, internal matters of a company, or be it Banks trying to bring in more consumer centric products and services. While there is not one silver bullet that takes care of all of this, but having a platform that becomes the one stop hub for all the stakeholders and consumers would solve a lot of issues in the area. That’s where we stepped up.
In this age, the most effective buzz-word is connectivity. The more ubiquitously connected a system is, the more effective is the services it provides. Gone is the age where people switch from one system to another, with shared APIs and interconnectivity, different service provider forms a symbiotic structure that allows them to serve better and and enjoy a Win-Win platform. The Internet of Things is born. And “Payment of Things” is our spin on it.
If one can enjoy browsing the Internet within the frame of a totally unrelated application, why not make the same for Payment? Why not have a unified interface that acts as the new best friend for all stakeholders and gives them a fun way to commit transactions to their desired banks?
We watched the process of buying and selling closely for a very long time and we ended up with the same statement time and time again. The bottleneck is in the payments. This problem reached out to us and we decided to do something about it. We quickly realized that a fully web based service offering would not cover the issues regarding it. Therefore, we decided to be omnipresent in anything that involves payment. We call it, the Payment of Things.
THE JOURNEY THUS FAR
We are heavy proponents of R&D, our journey began with a good amount of it. Since 2011, since conceiving the idea of it, we had done extensive research on the trends, strengths and weaknesses, and need of various technologies (along with combinations) in Bangladesh. On a good summer day in 2012, Panacea took its first step by deploying our very own Cloud, based on Open Source technologies and first of its kind in Bangladesh. With infrastructure at our disposal, we decided that it was time to do something with it, something that nobody thought to do. So we started a service that enabled the Small and Medium Enterprises to take their day to day business activities in the cloud, we called it Plinc Business. The more we delved into the market and talked with our clients, the more we realized that business automation relieves only a part of their headache. What they would like to enjoy is a more unified approach, instead of downloading the bills in an Excel sheet and either via mail or going on their own to their clients for money, it would save time and money had it been done over the wire. Why spend time behind calling or visiting for financial transactions when it could be possible by clicking, we thought. The more consulting we did, the more discussions we had, the more brainstorming we enjoyed, the more we realized that there is a region unexplored, and we had every paraphernalia to explore it, and conquer it. We are currently working with a bank to introduce a new kind of solution that involves acute integration of several finance related end points. Also, we launched (and are in the process of launching) a couple of more, smaller and more focused, services, each takes care of a particular need of a niche, and each of them felt incomplete with the having the payments integrated. So, we accelerated what had been our plan from the beginning and created a core that acts as a super-powered middle-man between the end users, services, and the payment providers. And that solved many of our problems and gave us the ability to dare to think of a lot more innovative solutions to long felt problems.
Financial Technology is new in Bangladesh, but the potential thereof is immense. We are a developing nation with a huge market, and our Internet penetration is blooming, as is the proliferation of the Smart Phone. And it has enjoyed a good rise in the past few years and trends show that it will be even more in the coming ones. There is no better time to have the people introduced to a unique and convenient way of payment. However, as grand as the plan sounds, we had to break it down in phases so that the providers, us and the consumers don’t get overwhelmed with a bombardment of services but enjoy a burst of smaller, focused, and simpler ones. Therefore, we had to go phase-by-phase on our deployment. Each phase has its own set of innovations to attract specific problem domain related to financial transactions. This suite of technologies are called Circle.
Different entities may speak different languages in providing their services, but to the consumer, service is the focus and the underlying complexity is (or at least, should be) hidden. Many services that target a specific entity end up not giving the consumers a unified experience of payment, this might have been a reason why people in general shy away from making online or any non-cash purchases in Bangladesh. In an attempt to solve the issue, Panacea offers a service that hides aways the protocols behind a unified system and the consumers focus on what they ought to, making the transactions and thereafter enjoying the services. This led us to launch our product, Circle.
The idea behind the inception of Panacea arose from a simple realization. The realization that Bangladesh is a country of immense opportunity, with many unaddressed niche needs and unkempt markets. It is a country that possess great potential and can one day become the next major IT hub of the world. Yet, the lack of infrastructure and the general tendency of most firms to shy away from radical innovation is acting as a bottleneck on its way to glory.