FreeCharge’s Kunal Shah launches new venture Cred in beta

FreeCharge’s Kunal Shah launches new venture Cred in beta
Kunal Shah
6 Nov, 2018

Kunal Shah, co-founder of mobile wallet FreeCharge, has announced his new venture called Cred on various social media websites.

“Excited to announce Cred, my new startup after 3+ years of playing on the sidelines. Team working hard to get the beta out in a few weeks,” Shah said on Twitter.

In June this year, media reports stated that Shah had raised $30 million (Rs 201 crore) for his new venture from a group of investors led by Sequoia Capital.

Russian venture capital firm Ru-Net, fin-tech-focused fund Ribbit Capital and a few other investors were also looking to put in money into the venture.

“A platform to celebrate and reward the most creditworthy people of India,” Shah added. However, he did not disclose any further details about his new gig.

Mobile text messages sent to Shah did not elicit any response till the time of publishing this report.

In April 2017, VCCircle had reported that Shah and FreeCharge’s other co-founder Sandeep Tandon floated a venture named Whiteboard Capital Advisors LLP and made its first known investment. However, Shah stepped down as a partner from the fund. 

Whiteboard Capital made its maiden investment by leading a Rs 2-crore seed round in ed-tech startup Genius Learning Labs Pvt Ltd.

Shah, along with Tandon, started FreeCharge in 2010. In April 2015, the payments startup was acquired by online marketplace Snapdeal for $450 million. At that time, it was deemed as the largest deal for an Indian startup. 

Freecharge was one of India’s top recharge platforms allowing users to pay their mobile, DTH and other utility bills across major operators.

In July 2017, Snapdeal sold the digital payments company to Axis Bank for about Rs385 crore ($60 million).

Besides being an entrepreneur, Shah is also an active angel investor and has backed more than 20 startups. Some of his investments include co-working space provider Innov8, Gurugram-based used car marketplace Spinny, e-commerce enabler for small businesses Zepo, and online learning platform Unacademy among others.

Shah has also served as an adviser at Sequoia Capital in 2017. Previously, he was the chairman of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) from January 2016 to May 2017. He currently serves as an adviser to US-based investment crowdfunding platform AngelList. 

Other second-time entrepreneurs

Besides Shah, a number of Indian startup entrepreneurs have launched new ventures for the second time.

Most recently, Ashish Kashyap, founder of travel booking firm Ibibo Group, launched a new fin-tech startup named INDwealth. The startup, which will begin operating in January 2019, has raised $30 million (around Rs 219 crore at current exchange rates) from Hong Kong-based hedge fund Steadview Capital.

Another well-known name is Mukesh Bansal, co-founder online fashion portal Myntra. He currently runs health-tech startup Curefit, which raised $120 million in July this year in a Series C round of funding.

Satyen Kothari, founder of fin-tech startup Citrus Pay, established Cube Wealth, a platform that helps individuals plan and manage their money and that also offers investment advice. The startup raised $2 million last week from Singapore-based venture fund Beenext, Hong Kong-headquartered Asuka Holdings and US-based early-stage venture fund 500 Startups.

Amit Gupta, who co-founded ad-tech unicorn InMobi, has launched a bicycle-sharing startup Yulu. The new venture raised Rs 8-10 crore ($1.2-1.4 million) in tranches over the past few months from venture capital firms such as Blume Ventures and 3one4 Capital.

Sumit Jain established Opentalk, a voice-based social networking app, after selling his real estate venture CommonFloor to online classifieds firms Quikr in 2016.