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BharatPe in talks to raise $350 million

Tiger Global is investing $100 million in the new round of funding in the New Delhi-based startup, one of the two people cited above said (Photo: Mint)Premium
Tiger Global is investing $100 million in the new round of funding in the New Delhi-based startup, one of the two people cited above said (Photo: Mint)

BharatPe is likely to become India’s next unicorn with New York-based Tiger Global Management LLC set to spearhead a likely investment of about $350 million in the fintech startup at a valuation of more than $2 billion, the report says

BharatPe is likely to become India’s next unicorn with New York-based Tiger Global Management LLC set to spearhead a likely investment of about $350 million in the fintech startup at a valuation of more than $2 billion, two people aware of the matter said.

Tiger Global is investing $100 million in the new round of funding in the New Delhi-based startup, one of the two people cited above said. Existing investors Coatue Management and Ribbit Capital will also participate in the round. Insight Partners, Steadview Capital, Beenext, Amplo and Sequoia Capital are the other existing investors in the company, the person said. The transaction is expected to close soon.

BharatPe had in February raised close to $108 million in Series D primary and secondary equity funding led by New York-based hedge fund Coatue Management at a valuation of $900 million.

BharatPe is in advanced talks with the investors for the latest fundraise, which track its plans around the takeover of distressed Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank with Centrum Group.

In a recent interview, BharatPe co-founder Ashneer Grover said the company, along with Centrum Group, will collectively infuse $250-300 million (or up to 2,224 crore) in PMC Bank over the next two years.

The consortium had received the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) in-principle approval for the takeover of PMC Bank in June.

RBI said it has decided to grant in-principle approval to Centrum to set up a small finance bank under on-tap licensing norms.

The new entity has to be operational within 120 days of approval, and only when that is done will the RBI draft a scheme on amalgamation with PMC Bank.

The plan will then be sent to the government for approval and official notification. However, under Section 45 of the Banking Regulation Act, only a bank can be merged with another, and, therefore, the process will start only once the small finance bank is created.

The multi-state cooperative lender was on the brink of collapse when the regulator seized it on 24 September 2019, capped cash withdrawals and launched an investigation into its accounting lapses.

BharatPe declined to comment, while Tiger Global did not respond to an email seeking comment until press time.

BharatPe will offer ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ (BNPL) credit services, as its first product to PMC depositors, through its recent acquisition of loyalty platform Payback India. It had earlier said that it plans to launch its consumer-focused BNPL offering to customers by the end of July.

The company, which has been focusing on its lending operations, has plans to raise close to $500 million in debt by FY23, Grover said in an earlier interview.

Through its recent acquisition of Payback, BharatPe plans to help 500,000 merchants on its platform to roll out loyalty programmes and work as redemption points for customers over the next six months.

BharatPe has disbursed close to $225 million in credit to date and has an outstanding loan book of $100 million.

Through its QR codes, the firm processes payments worth $10 billion annually and expects it to reach $30 billion by FY23. The company wants to have 10 million merchants by the end of March 2022, compared with 6 million merchants at the end of FY21.

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