The Silicon Review
"We have been creating the Digital ecosystem for MNOs, Banks, FIs and Aggregators through our world class technology and international carrier business. We provide an ideal ecosystem for our customers to flourish by leveraging the maximum potential of our valued workforce that is instrumental in creating the brand that Bankai is."
With the advent of the internet and management information systems (think computers, phones, and software), businesses have been able to transform from local mom and pop shops to international household names. In order to keep up with competition as a result of internet commercialization, companies are increasingly turning to information technology (IT) – or hardware, software, and telecommunications networks – to streamline services and boost performance. As such, IT has become an essential feature in the business landscape that has helped companies cut costs, improve communication, build recognition, and release more innovative and attractive products.
In light of the above-mentioned scenario, we’re thrilled to present Bankai Group, Inc.
Incorporated in 1989 and headquartered in New York, Bankai Group provides Information Communication Technology (ICT), and wholesale and retail voice solutions. The company offers carrier, integrated Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) telephony, SMS hubbing, traffic aggregation and distribution, dynamic routing, and interconnect billing solutions. It caters to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), mobile and retail voice operators, and calling card companies.
Bankim Brahmbhatt, Bankai Group President/CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.
Please help us understand the current market landscape?
Revenue is a game-changer for telecom and financial sectors today. With 5G about to hit the market, IoT running in prominence along with the partnerships across industries, it is difficult for the operators to sustain by only depending upon data or voice services. The market needs a holistic business approach that is not just at par with the current market scenario but also progressively forward-looking.
As far as the fintech market is concerned, the investment in 2015 grew by 75 percent to $22.3 billion. Fintech start-ups are receiving major investments from venture capitalists, corporates, private equity firms and other lenders showing bullish growth hereon. Since 2010, more than $50 billion have been invested in almost 2,500 companies across the world and this makes for a perfect time to innovate, develop and monetize the way money traverses hands.
How is your company positioned in the current market scenario?
Bankai Group has been progressively handling several domains and constantly expanding its portfolio thereby connecting technology with every aspect of a business operation. In consensus with the current market trends, we have been focusing upon the inclusion of artificial intelligence into our technology and making the services and products mobile. This includes the development of our mobile financial solution MobiFin over both independent and shared platforms, connecting 750 operators worldwide over our intuitive platform BridgeVoice Pluto and state-of-the-art SMS Marketing Platform. Our products have been evolving over three decades and are setting trends in the technology domain.
What are the pain points of the industry addressed by the company?
Telecom companies are confronted with the major problem of high operational and capital expenditure. Rising data traffic and increasing network congestion are responsible for rising OPEX. Bankai Group is redefining business models and cost structures to remain competitive in the market and survive in the on-going budget cuts. Our hosted services are aimed at reducing CAPEX and OPEX as well as reduce the time to market.
Recovering from a disaster is yet another problem for telecom operators. A fool-proof and reliable backup solution that guarantees disaster recovery is hence quintessential for telecom operators. Though several disaster recovery mechanisms and solutions are available in the market, not all are budget-friendly and dependable. Bankai’s technology solutions come with disaster recovery module for clients to take backup of network infrastructure and stay secured.
Poor call quality is a major problem faced by all telcos. Bankai Group addresses this issue by developing solutions that reduce redundancy in the network. Our product BridgeVoice Pluto is aimed at automating the carrier business and connecting retailers to operators globally. We constantly try to innovate and strive hard to deliver reliable VoIP termination services.
What are the differentiating factors that set your company apart from its competitors?
Bankai Group’s greatest value proposition is Quality of Services (QoS) and this is what sets it apart from competitors. We have over 2200+ carrier interconnects and fully optimized international routing profiles that guarantee high-quality termination. Our voice, messaging and technology-based products are completely secure and reliable. We not only guarantee seamless international communications but also take care of the security through fraud prevention modules. Our portfolio comprises of comprehensive telco and technology solutions to suit varied needs of the small, medium as well as large carriers, MNOs and MVNOs.
Brief overview of the products and services offered by your company:
Bankai Group is a leading name in Information Communication Technologies (ICT) domain and has dedicated business units in global wholesale voice, retail, VAS and telecom technology.
Broadband Telecom: A global leader in retail and wholesale VoIP termination services and a recognized name in A2P messaging services. Broadband telecom has been terminating billions of voice minutes and millions of international messages across geographies.
BridgeVoice Pluto: This is an automated carrier platform connecting retailers to operators globally. It allows wholesale VoIP providers to engage in business with global operators and generate stable revenue streams in the dynamic telecom ecosystem.
CallnRoam: This is value added retail service offering international long distance calling, mobile airtime recharges and mobile dialer app for users to make and receive calls at attractive costs from anywhere in the world.
We offer technology services under a the brand name Panamax that caters to the telecom and fintech needs of the telcos, banks, carriers, MNOs, MVNOs and enterprises alike. Panamax portfolio consists of following brands:
MobiFin: MobiFin is our Fintech solution offering technology services to both banks and telecom operators. Through MobiFin, telecom operators are able to manage mobile money services as per diversified technology needs and changing business life cycle. MobiFin for banks assists in leveraging mobile convergence for offering banking services to specific customer segments.
BillCall: This is an integrated interconnect billing, revenue assurance platform and fraud management system comprising of reconciliation and settlement features for origination, mediation, termination, roaming and transit traffic.
iMax: iMax is an integrated Class IV carrier switch with an enhanced message and packet processing, high load handling capabilities and independent scaling of signalling and media.
Bridge2Call: This is an integrated service delivery platform with Class-5 soft switch features. This enterprise retail switch is known for delivering VoBB, hosted PBX, unified communication, calling card, contact center solutions and DID retail services.
Managed Services: These services are aimed at enhancing business performance by providing the right resources to support day-to-day operations and processes.
Brief us about the journey of the company from its inception till date.
The journey began almost three decades ago when I forayed into the manufacturing of electronic push-button telephone. The success of this business translated expansion into international markets with Telecom Billing and Engineering Services in the year 2000. The amount of work I put in resulted in the establishment of a technology unit ‘Panamax’ in the year 2001. Sooner the traction in voice carrier business gained momentum and in the next four years, Bankai Group focused on the development and delivery of call center solutions and telecom resource management services. By 2008, Bankai Group started offering global retail voice services. The year 2010 was a turning point for the group when the focus shifted to the development of MobiFin, a mobile finance solution for banks and telcos.
In 2011, Bankai Group announced a mobile commercial partnership with ButtonPay and further diversified into retail segment. Soon after the launch of MobiFin, the product earned ‘Excellence in Branchless Banking Award’ in the year 2014. Understanding the gap between the retailers and operators, the automated platform BridgeVoice was launched in 2016 which now connects over 750 operators across the world. In 2018, Bankai Group launched the Mobile Marketing Solution SMSHop that helps businesses in reaching out to target customers at affordable prices. We take pride in understanding the pain areas of our customers and developing our product portfolio around these requirements.
What was the motivation to start the company and how did it all come together.
We started as a push-button telephone manufacturer in India in the late 80s. That was when the Telecom sector was in a nascent stage but showed great potential for a developing economy like India. I saw this as an opportunity to foray into the segment and stir the flourishing industry. Since then, the company has been driven by a vision to create market-leading technology and setting examples for others to follow. Our expertise is in creating a Digital ecosystem for MNOs, Banks, FIs and Aggregators through our world class technology and international carrier business. We provide an ideal ecosystem for our customers to flourish by leveraging the maximum potential of our valued workforce that is instrumental in creating the brand that Bankai is.
Who are some of your biggest clients? In which vertical do you see the most traction in?
Some of our biggest clients are Coltomoney, Sonatel, Wizall, PCCW, TATA Communications, Cal Bank, Trriple and several other big names from across the world.
We look at MobiFin as the most promising solution considering the growing need of mobile wallet among consumers and high penetration of digitization in the banking and finance sector. With this innovative, state-of-the-art and robust solution, we are helping banks to digitize services by leveraging the potential of omnichannel platforms. MobiFin is also helping telcos to multiply revenue sources by deriving value out of the massive customer base. We recently launched MobiFin PaaS which is a cloud-based mobile financial solution for MNOs, MVNOs, Mobile Money Service Providers (MMSPs), merchants, banks and financial institutions. It helps businesses in creating a holistic financial ecosystem at zero CAPEX and minimum OPEX in just 48 hours.
Testimonials: Elevating Client Relationships
A Leading Service Provider in Africa
“We are thankful to Bankai Group for providing their stellar MFS solution. Their solution makes it possible for us to provide services and solutions to the financial sector within the region and deliver value-added products and services to our customers. We’re happy working with Bankai Group and seek a long-time mutually beneficial business alliance with them.”
"It has been a delight for CalBank to be a part of MobiFin’s success journey. While MobiFin as a product is exemplary which made us mark the deal, Panamax’s post delivery services have taken our association a notch above. We would mention here the excellent experience we had during the project phase with the product delivered custom tailored as per our requirement. We wish good luck to team Panamax and are hopeful of a long term association."
What is the roadmap ahead?
We plan to concentrate upon developing the automated carrier business through BridgeVoice Pluto and helping the retailers explore connections with operators across the globe. With the telecom sector going mobile, we are additionally developing our MobiFin solution to include several new use cases into the existing product that has provided impetus to the digital ecosystem in several countries. The latest in line is the hosted offering that is expected to rise at CAGR of thirty percent during 2016-21, primarily due to the decreased costs and increased flexibility of the system. Driven by innovations in technology, hosted PBX solution provides an affordable on-premises solution that is expected to benefit both small and large customers.
Bankim Brahmbhatt: A Brief Background
Bankim Brahmbhatt is the President and CEO of Bankai Group. With an experience of about 30 years, unparalleled business acumen, ingenious leadership, and foresightedness, Mr. Brahmbhatt has enabled the Group to scale global footprint through leading telecom and technology companies of Bankai Division – Broadband Telecom Inc., BridgeVoice Inc., CallnRoam Inc., and Panamax Inc. Under his leadership, Bankai Group was recognized as Commission India’s First Private Group Telephone Exchange in 1994. An early opportunity identifier, Mr. Brahmbhatt has worked closely with multi-functional teams to develop, launching new products and gaining leadership positions. He has been an innovator par excellence with leading products, such as BridgeVoice Pluto, that have changed the course of online routing.