Jasper Infotech, the parent company of e-commerce startup Snapdeal, has now invested additional Rs 30 crore in its payments platform Freecharge. This was revealed by the documents filed with the Registrar of Companies (RoC). As per the filed documents, Jasper purchased the additional shares following a board resolution on February 23.
Some industry experts are suggesting that the capital infusion could be a survival strategy for FreeCharge, mainly to cover costs of operations and vendor payments.
This is the second capital infusion by the parent company in the online payments platform this year. Earlier, in January, Jasper Infotech had invested around Rs 390 crore in Freecharge. Notably, Snapdeal acquired Freecharge in mid-2015 for around $400-450 million.
During the investment in January, the company had increased its authorised share capital from Rs 6 crore to Rs 1,006 crore, setting stage for a significant round of funding to come in. At the time, it was reported that the company was looking for large strategic investors for the platform.
Earlier this month, it was rumored that PayPal, the global leader in the online payments market, was in talks to invest in Freecharge. While that didn’t materialize, it was then said that PayPal is in talks to acquire Freecharge from Snapdeal — more like Snapdeal was keen to sell off Freecharge to PayPal.
The deal was speculated to be around $500 million — nothing compared to what it spend on its acquisition and later invested in the platform. But, all the doors seems to have been closed for the struggling e-commerce platform. A finance worth $500 million seemed like a much needed boost for the company, to keep it running. However, that also turned out to be false.
Jasper Infotech, which has been looking for almost 18 months to raise money for FreeCharge, has found it difficult to rope in investors—strategic or financial—to back its payments unit. The reason mainly seems to be valuation mismatches, reluctance to cede control and the ongoing reluctance of global investors to pump in further capital.
The e-commerce unit of Jasper — Snapdeal is also in a very bad shape. The company is struggling to keep its business afloat and has failed to raise a new funding round. It recently laid-off over 600 employees, and the founders decided to take 100% cut off their salary. These steps have been taken to lower its burn rate and aim for profitability in two years.