Kitesurfing Vacation Thoughts: 2017 Highlights & 2018 Outlook

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I hope that you are off to a great start to 2018! I celebrated the new year with a kitesurfing vacation on the island of St. Lucia. The wind was high and the good times were flowing at Coconut Bay Resort where we stayed. After a long day on the ocean practicing my jumps, I wanted to reflect on Oxigen’s highlights during 2017 as well as outline some of the exciting things in store for 2018.

Oxigen Chief Happiness Officer, Amir Alexander Hasson, kitesurfing in St. Lucia

2017 Highlights

2017 began amidst the aftermath of the major demonetization event that occurred in November 2016. Oxigen India and our customers in India experienced short-term challenges as Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were removed from the economy, increasing the value propositions for digital cash and mobile wallets like the Oxigen Wallet. During that time, our digital payments service helped many NRIs transfer value to their loved ones in India without the need for any cash and I’m proud that Oxigen could play a role in helping people through the abrupt transition.

We launched this Oxigen NRI Life blog in 2017 and one of the first articles was about how Oxigen helped retailers navigate through the turmoil that resulted from demonetization. During the year we published several articles on a range of topics relevant to NRIs, including how to save money, Desi fashion secrets, important H1B visa changes, and NRI Diwali tips.

We also launched our exciting digital gift card service, which allows you to instantly send gift cards for major Indian and global brands to your loved ones in India. We were pleasantly surprised with how interested you were in this new service and, as a result, we kept adding more and more instant gift cards with now nearly 50 major brands to choose from. If you haven’t tried this out yet, you should!

Concurrent with the release of Season 7 of HBO’s Game of Thrones, we launched the Game of Happiness, a GoT-themed game consisting of quests that earn you Reward Points for discounts as well as a Reward Point multiplier for advancing to the next “House” of Happiness. Although we knew that many of you were Game of Thrones fans, we were thrilled to see such a huge response to the Game of Happiness from our customers internationally. To thank you for your enthusiasm, we held a Dubsmash contest for a free Halloween GoT costume as well as a full set of the GoT Series DVDs for the first customer to complete all Game of Happiness quests.

We also signed partnerships for our nationwide business and consumer money transfer services, and launched our business money transfer service in partnership with AFEX in August. This exciting new service enables businesses to transfer money to India at superior exchange rates rather than be exploited by banks that charge wire fees and offer low FX rates. Businesses transferring money to India can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year with Oxigen’s service, and can try the service with no risk as the first transfer of $10 is free. We also introduced the business referral program through which you can earn $100 per business you refer!

We made several enhancements to the Oxigen customer experience in 2017. We introduced Internet and special recharge packs for all mobile operators. We added many new electricity and gas operators and now integrate with over 20 operators to provide closer to nationwide coverage. We made our website completely mobile-friendly, designed to look and feel just like a native mobile app in your hands.

We streamlined the registration and login process with Facebook login while also providing guest checkout as an option. We optimized the transaction flow process, removing unnecessary clicks and steps so that you can complete your transactions at blazing speeds. We made enhancements to our security measures and anti-fraud systems with zero accounts hacked in 2017 and less than 0.05% in loss-generating fraudulent transactions. This is one of the main reasons we are able to provide you with the best prices on the market for your transfers to India.

2018 Outlook

I don’t want to spill all the beans, but we do have some very exciting things in store for you this year. Here are a few of the big ones:

  • Consumer money transfers: in the next few months we’ll be launching our nationwide consumer money transfer service! That’s right, it will no longer be limited to New Jersey and Florida residents. Soon anyone in any State will be able to transfer money to India at the highest True Exchange Rate© on the market!
  • Many more billers: Oxigen is one of the few licensed partners of NPCI’s Bharat Bill Pay System in India, which has enabled digital payments to hundreds of new billers, particularly utility operators. This system also enables unique new features such as bill inquiry, allowing you to see how much is currently due on an account. We have some exciting plans for how we’re going to create a revolutionary new experience for you with this capability that we’ll tell you more about in the coming months.
  • Mobile app: although our website is just a good as a mobile app, we know that many of you still prefer mobile apps so we’re in the process of building a killer app for you, stay tuned!
  • Transfers for Oxigen Wallet: Oxigen Wallet is one of the largest and most powerful mobile wallets in India with over 30 million users, growing every day. We’re working with regulators and banks to enable you to transfer money directly to someone’s mobile in India through Oxigen Wallet. This will unleash a whole new level of convenience and speed for transfers as well as flexibility and value for your loved ones in India.

Thanks for taking the time to review our milestones from 2017 and for 2018! If you have any comments or suggestions, I would love to hear them.

Amir is an accomplished entrepreneur with expertise in international business, IT, and telecom. He received his Master’s from MIT Sloan and has started 4 companies impacting the lives of millions globally. Red Herring featured Amir as one of the “Top 25 [Entrepreneurs] Under 35”. Amir enjoys yoga, kitesurfing, and travel.

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