Bengaluru: Mobile card payments firm Ezetap Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd has raised 150 crore from existing investors Social+Capital, a California-based venture capital fund, Helion Advisors, and Berggruen Holdings.

Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing, and the Capricorn Investment Group joined this round of funding.

Ezetap, which makes mobile point of sale (POS) devices and uses a pay-as-you-go monthly transaction-based pricing model, plans to use the funds to expand its team and increase the number of POS devices it deploys across the country from 60,000 to 200,000 in the next 12 months.

With customers increasingly turning to cash-alternative payments methods like debit and credit cards, merchants are seeking to adopt mobile POS devices to cater to them.

Ezetap’s biggest competitor, Mumbai-based mSwipe Technologies, also raised $25 million in July.

Bengaluru-based Ezetap raised $8 million in a funding round led by Helion Advisors, Social+Capital, and Berggruen Holdings in February 2014, $3.5 million in November 2012, and an undisclosed amount from American Express in March 2014.

“We’ve gone from 50 (retail merchants) a week to 500 a week, and we see that growing 5x (five times) in the next couple of months. We retail 70% in the top 10 (cities), the remaining 30% in the next 25," said Abhijit Bose, chief executive officer, Ezetap. “The last segment is most exciting to me, because that’s really where we are going to be expanding our market."

The founder of Social+Capital, Chamath Palihapitiya, will become chairman of the board. Palihapitiya was earlier vice president of growth at Facebook Inc., helping it increase its reach, and will lead Ezetap’s effort to do that in India. This is the first time he’s taken such a role in a portfolio company based outside of the US.

Sandy Shen, research director, e-commerce, at technology researcher Gartner, who is based in Shanghai, said the market potential for mobile POS in India can be quite big.

“But there are some challenges. First of all, they need to show how they can benefit merchants, they need to show higher sales. Secondly, the mPOS providers, they are acting on behalf of the banks to acquire the merchant customers," Shen said. “How do you ensure that you are not giving POS to people who will not skim credit card information? You want to make sure that there is enough risk management mechanism before issuing the POS."

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