Home / Companies / Start-ups /  Cashfree invests in UAE-based Telr, explores global expansion

BENGALURU : Payments and banking solutions provider, Cashfree Payments has invested close to $15 million in the UAE and Saudi Arabia-based payment service provider, Telr, as it looks to expand its product offerings in international markets.  

Post the investment, Cashfree will become the single-largest shareholder in Telr. The company refused to comment further on its shareholding in Telr.  

Through the investment, Cashfree will look to introduce its Indian product offerings such as instant payouts, subscription payments and merchant payment verification for Telr’s customers in the middle east and north africa (MENA) market. 

The investment will also allow Cashfree’s merchants to accept payments from customers in the MENA region, as the company looks to develop a unified cross-border payments platform with Telr. 

Integration with Cashfree will also allow Telr to launch support for newer payment modes for its merchants.  

The current investment is a part of Cashfree’s larger plans to expand into newer international geographies in the coming months. The Bengaluru-based startup is actively looking to set foot in Southeast Asian and African markets, apart from the Middle East, over the course of next year, according to Cashfree co-founder and chief executive, Akash Sinha. 

The company will largely follow an inorganic route of either acquisitions, investment or partnership to expand into these international geographies, Sinha told Mint in an interview.  It will look to make at least 2-3 acquisitions over the next 12 months, the co-founder added.  

 “The investment in Telr allows us to expand into a new market, while helping us release our Indian products in the MENA region. It also lets our merchants go global, as the integration will allow them to accept and disburse payments to customers in the Middle East through our platform. Due to its popularity in the region, Telr will continue to be the front-facing brand with Cashfree’s products now offered to its merchant base," said Sinha on the acquisition.  

At present, Cashfree processes transactions worth $20 billion annually on its platform, and has over 100,000 businesses using its payment gateway for collections, vendor payouts, wage payouts, bulk refunds, and expense reimbursements. 

Seven-year old, Telr is a payment gateway that enables handling payments in over 120 currencies and 30 languages. It currently offers its merchants access to several payment methods including – Visa, Mastercard, American Express, UnionPay, Apple Pay, PayPal, SADAD, Mada and STCPay. 

It also provides merchants with e-commerce first solutions which includes helping them roll out Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services, providing merchant loans through Telr Finance and offering Telr Shops, to help them create an online store. 

 “We are excited about this new investment into Telr. Joining forces with Cashfree Payments will further enable us to continue on our innovation and growth journey. Our offerings and partnerships aim to assist in reaching an integrated e-commerce ecosystem supporting the UAE in its transition into a cashless economy. In short, this combined effort will translate into greater benefits for our customers and the markets we operate in," said Khalil Alami, chief executive officer and founder, Telr.

Over the next two fiscal years, Cashfree expects close to 10% of its overall revenues to come from international markets.   

The company is also scouting for acquisitions in its home market as it looks to strengthen its product play in the payments and neo–banking space. 

The company is in final stages to launch 30–60-day merchant loans of ticket sizes up to 50 lakh on its platform, in association with financial partners.  

It is also looking to launch its new banking platform for neo-banks, which will allow them to quickly partner with Indian banks and launch curated offerings for merchants and customers.

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