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Pine Labs adds Kunal Shah to board ahead of IPO

Pine Labs adds Kunal Shah to board ahead of IPO
Kunal Shah
10 Aug, 2021

Digital payment service provider Pine Labs on Tuesday said it has appointed CRED founder Kunal Shah to its company’s board.  

The appointment comes a month after the startup, which is eyeing a US-listing in the next 18 months, closed its latest round of funding at $600 million. It was led by private equity majors -- Fidelity Management and Research Co., BlackRock; Ishana; Tree Line--taking its valuation to $3 billion. The company is expected to raise another round of funding before the end of this year, as it prepares for its public debut. 

“We are excited to welcome Kunal to our board. He joins a marquee set of investors, advisors, and other visionary board members who are all committed to take Pine Labs to newer heights. Kunal’s deep understanding of the consumer business will be invaluable to us as we explore new opportunities and step into our next phase of growth,” B. Amrish Rau, chief executive officer (CEO), Pine Labs, said. 

Shah started the digital payments platform Freecharge in 2010 and eventually sold it to e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal for $400 million in 2015, making it one of the largest acquisitions in the consumer internet space then. 

Apart from launching fintech startup Cred in 2018, Shah has also served as an advisor to the board of Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd, and was the chairman of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) between 2016 and 2017. He has also served as an advisor to various venture capital firms including Sequoia Capital India and worked as a part-time partner for US-based startup accelerator, Y Combinator.

“The pandemic has catalysed behaviour change among consumers, merchants, and institutions that will drive the fintech sector. Shaping this transformation for the benefit of all stakeholders is a collective responsibility. Pine Labs is a player in digital payments adoption and joining its board is an opportunity to contribute to the ecosystem,” Shah, founder, CRED, said. 

Shah is also an active angel investor and has invested across more than 100 startups in areas of financial services and consumer internet.

Pine Labs has been aggressively focusing on international expansion over the past year. It now plans to take its merchant offerings to West Asia, by next year. “For Pine Labs, there is an expectation that over the course of the next two years, an initial public offering (IPO) should happen. We are still sometime away from appointing bankers,” Rau had earlier said.  

The company recently announced the acquisition of Singapore and Malaysia-based loyalty startup, Fave in April, this year. Through the acquisition, Pine Labs looks to introduce Fave in India and enter the growing consumer payments segment in the country. It also looks to double down in the Southeast Asian market with the Fave acquisition. 

The Paypal- and Temasek-backed company was looking to launch its integrated consumer ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ (BNPL) credit offering across five Southeast Asian markets through a partnership with card network major and investor Mastercard, this year. 

Pine Labs had shortlisted Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia as target markets for the launch of its BNPL services. 

It also had plans to introduce prepaid vouchers and gift cards through its subsidiary Qwikcilver in these Asian countries. 

At present, Pine Labs powers close to 1 billion online transactions every month and expects this number will grow to almost 10 billion in 12 months.