Bengaluru: Flipkart-owned mobile payments start-up PhonePe Internet Pvt. Ltd has crossed over 10 million downloads on Google Play Store, after it witnessed a rapid growth in downloads and transactions following the government’s decision to scrap old high denomination currency notes on 8 November.
In an interview on Tuesday, PhonePe founder and CEO Sameer Nigam said the payments app has launched in nine languages and is also poised to launch on Apple’s mobile app store. PhonePe has already launched the beta version of the app on Apple’s iOS.
“We bet really long on UPI (unified payments interface) and immediately after demonetisation with HDFC and SBI and all major banks coming on the network, we’re best placed to actually exploit the ready network. And that’ll help us grow both our transaction pace, as well as value—and that’s grown by about 80X in the last nine weeks,” said Nigam, adding that PhonePe hit the 10-million downloads figure on Monday.
The Unified Payments Interface is a quick and easy way to send and receive money on the phone using a virtual address.
The latest landmark from PhonePe comes on the heels of the biggest management overhaul in the history of Flipkart, India’s most valuable Internet start-up, which on Monday appointed its first-ever so-called professional (and non-founder) chief executive, elevating former Tiger Global Management executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy to the hot seat.
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As part of the latest management reshuffle, Flipkart has created an apex group structure and appointed Binny Bansal as group CEO, with the heads of PhonePe, fashion retailer Myntra and the core Flipkart business reporting to him.
“Nothing’s changed as such for us. I was reporting to Binny on Monday and I’m reporting to Binny on Tuesday. I’ve worked with Kalyan harmoniously for several years now. So, I’m really excited. He was my counterpart in Flipkart and Ananth (Narayanan) was my counterpart in Myntra for all practical purposes for a while, so the three of us will continue reporting to Binny. So, nothing has really changed,” said Nigam of the reshuffle.
In October, PhonePe crossed over 100,000 downloads on Google’s mobile app store, as it capitalized on the UPI platform amid ambitions of building a large digital payments business.
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“For us 2016 was about placing our bets in terms of what kind of payments solutions and networks we want to work with. 2017 will be the year of the merchant... Our next target will be to see when we hit 100 million customers—nothing in between,” said Nigam, without giving a timeline for that landmark.
PhonePe, launched in December 2015 by former Flipkart executives Nigam, Chari and Burzin Engineer, was acquired by Flipkart in April last year. It was Flipkart’s third major acquisition in payments, after NGPay (Jigrahak Mobility Solutions Pvt. Ltd) in 2014 and FX Mart Pvt. Ltd, which owns a prepaid wallet licence, in August 2015.
In August last year, PhonePe launched its app based on the UPI platform, seeking to take on the likes of Paytm and Freecharge for a piece of India’s fast-growing digital payments business.