Post the landmark demonetisation move, there is a lot of focus being placed on the growth of digital payment platforms in the country. With regard to the same, perhaps Paytm’s closest rival Freecharge, is now raising close to ₹390 crores (approx. $57 million) to further scale its technological products and operations, reports ET.
These funds have been poured in by Snapdeal’s parent company Jasper Infotech and add up to its ongoing efforts of raising fresh capital for its coffers. The details of this capital infusion have been revealed, thanks to a regulatory filing submitted to the Registrar of Companies (RoC) in the final weeks of December. Further, there is currently no confirmation on foreign entities participating in the company’s fundraising round.
There have been speculations that Japanese tech behemoth SoftBank, who already is heavily invested in Freecharge, is now looking to drive a hefty $150 – $200 million investment into the digital wallet service provider. Also, there’s been rumors that global payments giant – PayPal is mulling over the decision to push a similarly designed investment into the company. Both of these companies are looking to secure more than 25 percent stake in exchange for the capital infused.
Once the current fundraising round is complete, the Gurgaon-based digital payments platform is expected to reach a step closer to achieving unicorn status in the country. It is currently being estimated that FreeCharge’s valuation will lie somewhere in between $700 million and $1 billion.
While SoftBank and existing investors are definitely participating in the current funding round, Jasper Infotech officials have confirmed the reports of FreeCharge being in talks with PayPal and other sovereign funds are baseless. There is a possibility that the internet communities could have fabricated the said capital infusion because of the documents of the global payments major filing a complaint against FreeCharge rival Paytm. It has accused the Vijay Sharma-owned platform of infringing on its dual-tone identity and branding to gain recognition.
Further, the said filing from Freecharge follows pursuit to the recent increase in its authorised share capital from ₹6 crores to a monstrous ₹1,006 crore. This increase, which was finalized in the first week of December, has enabled the company to set the stage for attracting more investors to partake in its ongoing funding round.
The platform has also been witnessing an enormous surge in online transactions due to the government’s push for cashless payments. But a majority of users are still banking on the trusty Paytm wallet and application to complete transactions on a day-to-day basis. During the first few days of demonetisation, Paytm had led the race with nearly 1000% increase in money additions. But Freecharge led the innovation race with the release of its ‘Wallet on Delivery’ service in the country.
According to a study by Boston Consulting Group, digital payments in India are expected to reach $500 billion by 2020, with customers’ payments to merchants driving this growth. Thus, there’s still enough juice left in these homegrown digital payment behemoths.