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Local biometrics startup Touché expands to the Middle East
SINGAPORE tech firm Touché, which offers a fingerprint-based payment and loyalty management system, has made headway in its expansion into the Middle East.
On Wednesday, the startup announced that it has inked a letter of intent with Mashreq Bank, a leading bank in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to explore ways to offer Touché's solution to the bank's merchant clients within the UAE.
"We have already identified a list of potential pilot clients ... to deliver our solution by the first quarter of 2019," chief executive Sahba Saint-Claire told The Business Times.
Touché's system works by detecting two fingerprints for payment. These fingerprints, which are encrypted on a cloud, are linked to customers' credit cards. Credit card details are tokenised for security.
The system also alerts a customer to whatever benefits they are entitled to at an establishment. Touché is also using deep analytics of data to suggest loyalty programmes to merchants.
Instead of paying a licence fee, merchants pay a monthly sum over a two-year contract.
Mr Saint-Claire said that the company is about to sign an agreement with another bank in the UAE and has already agreed with an international hotel group on a pilot delivery.
Earlier this month, Touché got Dubai-based SEED Group on board as its local sponsors and partners. SEED Group is a diversified group of companies that establishes strategic partnerships with organisations in various sectors to accelerate their presence in the Middle East.
"The Middle East, and the UAE in particular, are very interesting markets. We have spoken to a number of companies and regardless of their size, we have found them very entrepreneurial, innovative and open to new technologies," said Mr Saint-Claire.
He added: "The senior executives we talk to get our vision, which is to deliver much more personalised and convenient in-person customer experiences through the Touché solution, whether that is through biometrics, literally at the touch of two fingers, or through more traditional payment methods."
The startup is planning a structured raise of US$10 million - not all equity - before the end of the first quarter of 2019. The funds will go towards growing the team, expanding the markets, and research and development.
According to an earlier interview with BT, the company received US$2 million in funding in June 2016 from Bukit Timah Investments.
Closer to home, the firm announced in May a tie-up with OCBC Bank to introduce its solution to the bank's merchants.
Touché currently has offices in Singapore, Japan and the Spanish city of Barcelona.