Google, which has invested billions across India’s telecom sector, is doubling down on its investments in world’s fastest growing internet market. The search giant has now backed Twid, a rewards-based payments platform, in a $12Mn Series A deal, that also includes Rakuten Capital (the corporate venture capital arm of Tokyo-headquartered Rakuten Group). This brings Twid’s valuation to around $60 million post money, although this could change.
The round also included the participation from ICMG Partners, JAFCO Asia, January Capital, Reddy Futures Fund, and other existing investors, which included Sequoia Surge, the accelerator program of Sequoia India, and VC firm BEENEXT.
The Series A round follows a $2.5Mn round that the Bengaluru and Singapore-based Twid had raised in July 2021, led by BEENEXT and Sequoia Surge.
According to a regulatory filing, the participants of the Series A round – Rakuten Capital, Google, Surge, BEENEXT, and others – have already put in around $9.5 million in Twid. As part of the transaction, Rakuten India CEO Sunil Gopinath, will join the board of Twid.
Proceeds from the funding round will be utilized towards scaling its merchant acceptance network over the next 18 months and drive recruitments across data science and analytics functions to double its headcount by the end of the current fiscal year. It also intends to use the funds to build and enhance its technology capabilities and expand it’s the rolling out of its products.
The two-year-old platform has already carved a niche for itself in the sector and claims to have over 40 million registered users at present. Its revenue primarily comes from the commissions it earns from merchants, and the amount is divided among acquirers, Twid, and reward issuers.
It lets customers use rewards or loyalty points from a range of issuers to make payments at online and offline stores, which they can do via the “Pay with Rewards” option available on the checkout page.
Some of Twid’s partners include online grocery platform JioMart, NetMeds, ticketing platform Yatra and music streamer Gaana, and has worked with brands such as PayU, the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI)’s nth Rewards, IndusInd Bank, and TimesPoint. Both Rakuten and Google are expected to help Twid expand and enhance its existing model.