New Delhi-based fintech startup BharatePe has become the 19th Indian startup to enter the unicorn club. Tiger Global led the USD 370 million Series E round at a post-money valuation of USD 2.85 billion, BharatPe said in a statement. The funding round saw the participation of two new funds, Dragoneer Investment Group and Steadfast Capital. Its existing investors such as Coatue Management, Insight Partners, Sequoia Growth, Ribbit Capital, and Amplo Management also pitched in.
BharatPe has raised close to USD 600 million in equity and debt to date.
With this funding, New York-headquartered Tiger Global has invested in over a dozen Indian startups this year and has poured in around USD 300 million in the last seven months.
Founded in 2018, BharatPe was the first to launch an interoperable single QR code to send and receive money using any payment app. At a time when other fintech companies were focusing on acquiring end-consumers, BharatPe was doubling down on its efforts to onboard small retailers. Once it accumulated a substantial number of businesses, it started cross-selling them working capital loans. It claims to work with over 7 million merchants and has disbursed loans worth in excess of INR 1,800 crore (USD 243 million).
“BharatPe will remain maniacally focused on lending as a core business and small merchants as our primary target segment,” said Ashneer Grover, co-founder and managing director of BharatPe.
In June this year, the company acquired loyalty platform Payback India for an undisclosed amount from American Express and ICICI Investments Strategic Fund. BharatPe will use Payback’s promotions and cashback products to drive business to its merchant partners.
The three-year-old company recently entered into the banking business as well. It partnered with a non-banking financial company Centrum Finance to acquire 44-year-old Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank. “We now have USD 500 million in cash on our books and are extremely well-capitalized to deliver on our mandate to build India’s first truly digital bank,” Grover said.