Indian Fintech BharatPe Becomes Unicorn at $2.85 Billion Valuation

Indian Fintech BharatPe has turned into a Unicorn after raising around $370 million in Series E from Tiger Global, Dragoneer Investor Group, and Steadfast Capital at a $2,85 valuation. The New Delhi-based startup has become the 19th Indian startup to achieve a Unicorn status this year. It is also the only Indian startup to have achieved the status within just three years of its existence. 

Five existing institutional investors: Coatue Management, Insight Partners, Sequoia Growth, Ribbit Capital, and Amplo, participated in the round. With the new financing round, the company plans to ramp up its hiring plans and aggressively scale its business over the next two years. 

Founded by Ashneer Grover in 2018, BharatPe is a startup providing payments solutions and other financial services to small and medium merchants. It relies on QR codes and point-of-sale machines supporting government-backed UPI payments infrastructure to make these merchants comfortable accepting digital payments.

Post the recent funding, Grover, the co-founder and CEO of BharatPe, has now been elevated to co-founder and Managing Director. He will lead strategy, product, technology, capital (IPO, equity, and debt) and drive strategy, product, technology, capital (IPO, equity, and debt the overall people agenda for the company, the company said in a statement. Suhail Sameer, Group President, has been appointed the CEO, the company added. 

 “We now have $0.5 billion cash on books and are extremely well-capitalized to deliver on our mandate to build India’s first truly Digital Bank,” Grover said on the fundraising. 

He further added that the business would scale up to 10x from the current status with the funding in place. BharatPe is looking to triple its point of sale (PoS) business and is targeting $6 billion in annualized transaction processed value (TPV) by the end of this fiscal year (by March 2022), even as most of the small businesses have gone digital because of the pandemic. The company, which raised its first funding from many angel investors and incubators, including Venture Catalysts, serves and has disbursed close to $300 million to merchant partners. 

The startup, which was in the news recently for giving superbikes to the new hires in tech roles, plans to expand its product offerings and work with Centrum Financial Services. India’s banking regulator, the Reserve Bank of India, has granted it a license to set up a small finance bank in equal partnership with Centrum Financial Services.  

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