Payments firm BharatPe, which services offline retailers and businesses, is in talks to close $17 million (Rs 122 crore at current exchange rates) in a fresh funding round led by venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India, The Economic Times reported, citing people in the know.
The latest round will value the payments startup between $60-65 million, the report added.
Email queries sent to Sequoia Capital and a LinkedIn message sent to Ashneer Grover, co-founder of BharatPe, did not elicit any response till the time of publishing this report.
The company had previously raised $2 million in seed funding from Sequoia Capital India and Singapore-based BeeNext in October 2018. The round also saw participation from American Express top executive Sanjay Rishi, PayU co-founder Nitin Gupta, and PineLabs chief technology officer Nipun Mehra, information on data platform Crunchbase shows.
Founded in April 2018 by Grover and Shashvat Nakrani, offline retailers can use BharatPe’s app to make digital payments using QR codes via the unified payments interface (UPI) developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). Merchants can sign up instantly and can start receiving funds in their bank accounts. They can accept payments from UPI-based interfaces such as Paytm, Google Pay, BHIM, Mobikwik, Freecharge, etc.
BharatPe works closely with partner banks to develop custom application programme interface (APIs). It claims to have processed over 70 lakh transactions valued at over Rs 150 crore since inception.
Prior to setting up BharatPe, Grover led new business at PC Jeweller and was the chief financial officer at online grocery delivery company Grofers in an earlier stint, while Nakrani is an engineering graduate from IIT, Delhi, their LinkedIn profiles show.
The company competes with wallet firm Paytm and Flipkart-owned PhonePe.
Last month, Paytm Payments Bank Ltd received approval from India’s central bank to start onboarding customers again and to resume know your customer (KYC) procedures with effect from 31 December 2018.
On the other hand, last week, according to media reports, PhonePe received investment interest from private equity firms KKR and General Atlantic. The reports also said that two of Flipkart’s investors, Chinese conglomerate Tencent and New York-based investment firm Tiger Global, are also likely to invest in PhonePe. The deal would value the payments arm at $10 billion.
Last year in December, PhonePe launched its wealth management unit with an authorised capital of Rs 50 crore and paid up capital of Rs 20 crore.
In August 2018, PhonePe claimed to have overtaken rivals Paytm and Google’s Tez to emerge as a leader in UPI transactions.