India's BharatPe valued at US$900M in new fundraise | FI SENSE

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India may soon have another fintech unicorn. BharatPe said it has raised $108 million in a financing round that valued the New Delhi-based financial services startup at $900 million, up from $425 million last year.

Coatue Management led the three-year-old startup’s Series D round. Other six existing institutional investors Ribbit Capital, Insight Partners, Steadview Capital, Beenext, Amplo and Sequoia Capital  also participated in the round, which brings BharatPe’s total to-date raise to $233 million in equity and $35 million in debt.

The startup said as part of the new financing round it returned $17.17 million to its angel investors and employees with stock option.

“With the balance sheet well capitalized more than US$ 200M in bank, we are now going to keep our heads down and deliver US$30B TPV and build a loan book of US$ 700mn with small merchants by March 2023,” said Ashneer Grover, co-founder and chief executive of BharatPe.

BharatPe operates an eponymous service to help offline merchants accept digital payments and secure working capital. Even as India has already emerged as the second largest internet market, with more than 600 million users, much of the country remains offline.

Among those outside of the reach of the internet are merchants running small businesses, such as roadside tea stalls and neighbourhood stores. To make these merchants comfortable with accepting digital payments, BharatPe relies on QR codes and point of sale machines that support government-backed UPI payments infrastructure.

The startup, which serves over 6 million merchants, said it had deployed over 50,000 PoS machines by November of last year, and enables monthly transactions worth more than $123 million. It does not charge merchants for universal QR code access, but is looking to make money by lending. Grover said the startup’s lending business grew by 10x in 2020.

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