India may not be in the best of its economic phases, but investment in startups has been on a high ever since this year’s beginning. Fintech in particular, has seen some aggressive investor interest, an example of which we are witnessing today. Cross-platform QR-code based online payments startup BharatPe has raised a new funding round worth $75 million.
The round was led by Coatue Management and Palo Alto-based Ribbit Capital. In this Series C funding round, the company also witnessed participation from Amplo, Insight Partners, and Steadview Capital.
With this new capital, the company has now raised about $143 million in four funding rounds till date. BharatPe is now reportedly valued at $425 million, much higher that the company’s valuation of $225 million last year when it secured $50 million in Series B funding led by Ribbit Capital.
BharatPe is getting money to focus on a new business vertical. With India further moving away from charges on digital payments, there is no viable business model left for companies looking to just do UPI-based payment. BharatPe, which started with that premise, seems to have realised soon, and has hence applied for a NBFC license. The money is to expand that business vertical. The company is awaiting for its approval from the Reserve Bank of India.
BharatPe said that it will be using around $70 million in equity capital in Resilient Capital, which is the company’s NBFC arm. It now plans to leverage this money by 3-4 times to raise a pool of around $300 million to offer lines of credit to its base of small merchants. The remaining capital will be used to build new technology and products.
Till date, BharatPe has been known for being a service that helps offline merchants accept digital payments using QR codes that support government-backed UPI payments infrastructure.
BharatPe claims to have more than three million merchants across 30 cities and plans to grow that to around eight million by the end of March next year. The company says that it has already supported the lending of ₹100 crore to more than 20,000 merchants in the past seven months. In the next two years, the company aims to lend money to around 300,000 merchants.