Stealth mode startup Uni raises $18.5 mn in seed funding round

Stealth mode startup Uni raises $18.5 mn in seed funding round
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6 Oct, 2020

Uniorbit Technologies-owned fintech startup Uni, launched by PayU India co-founder Nitin Gupta, has raised $18.5 million (Rs 135 crore) from venture capital firms Lightspeed India Partners and Accel. The deal marks one of the biggest seed funding rounds in India.

The stealth mode startup, in a statement, said it will target the under-penetrated credit cards market in India, with a focus on internet-savvy consumers, particularly ecommerce users. Uni said it looks to make credit cards more accessible for consumers across different regions.

“Over the past five years, we have witnessed a 3x acceleration of digital and electronic payment platforms. However, the share of credit card payments has fallen drastically. There is an opportunity to expand the market from 58 million credit cards in India today to 200 million credit cards over the next 5 years by building new products, catering to underserved customer needs and getting new customer segments,” co-founder Gupta, also the CEO of Uni, said.

The company also identifies Prateek Jindal, former product and business head of Ola Money, and Laxmikant Vyas, former head of data science at Bajaj Finance, as co-founders.

Gupta, an IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus, co-founded PayU India with Shailaz Nag in 2011 as a unit of Gurugram-based ibibo Group, which was controlled by Naspers Group at the time. He left PayU in November 2016 shortly after it acquired Mumbai-based rival Citrus Pay for $130 million. 

Prior to PayU, Gupta was the founder and CEO of coupon firm Khojguru Infotech. Before that, he worked with US-based Lehman Brothers.  

Also an active angel investor, Gupta has backed startups such as video blogging platform Trell and edtech startup Winuall

“Credit cards is a very large and exciting market. It has over $100 billion in annual spends and still less than 2.5% of the Indian population has a credit card today. The opportunity in front of us is truly immense,” Prayank Swaroop, partner at Accel India, said.

A global venture capital firm, Accel typically comes in at a seed stage and stays with the firm through follow-on investments. Its India investments include Flipkart, Freshworks, Swiggy and CureFit, while global ones include Dropbox, Etsy, Facebook and Spotify. The firm closed its sixth successive India-specific fund at $550 million in December last year, taking its overall assets under management here to more than $1.5 billion. 

On the other hand, Lightspeed raised $275 million from global institutional limited partners for its third fund in August. It has so far invested $750 million in India, backing companies such as edtech major Byju’s and B2B ecommerce marketplace Udaan. Lightspeed and its affiliates currently manage more than $10 billion globally.