MobiKwik may raise $150M to join billion dollar unicorn club

Indian mobile payments platform, MobiKwik, is in the process of raising its largest financing from investors till date, states a TechCrunch report. According to the report the company is eyeing a $100 million to $150 million investment in a funding round that will value the company at over $1 billion. With this valuation, MobiKwik is aiming at joining the billion-dollar tech startup unicorn club, which has players like Flipkart, Paytm, Ola, among a select few. However, the payments platform raising funds is not a new story. Earlier this year, the company had announced that it is going to raise fresh funding in three months to ramp up expansion and compete with rival Paytm in the mobile payments/ wallet sector. Around the same time MobiKwik invested about $44.8 million (INR 300 crore) to expand its user base to 150 million and boost transactions to $10 billion by the end of this year. A couple of months back the company had also announced that it is going to expand its footprint to cover 13 cities by the end of March and hire 1,000 executives to drive business growth. The $44.8 million that it had announced to invest was a mix of existing money and fresh funding that it was hoping to raise. The company has seen investments from Sequoia Capital, MediaTek, GMO Venture Partners, Tree Line Asia and Net1, and according to the TechCrunch report, which spoke to Upasna Taku, Co-Founder, MobiKwik, the round it is looking forward to will include one major strategic investor and a number of financial institutions. The report claimed that she expects the round to close in the next couple of months and plans to invest about $45 million, to grow its merchant base and proceed with territorial expansion. Last month Mint also reported that asset management company, BlackRock, and Indian state-run lenders, Bank of Baroda and Canara Bank were in talks with MobiKwik to invest more than $100 million. The report also stated that if the deal went through the payments platform would become the ‘second unicorn’ in the Indian Fintech sector worth more than $1 billion. Talking about the Fintech space, there were also speculations that Snapdeal owned FreeCharge, which is another e-wallet, was being merged with MobiKwik and the combined entity will receive fresh funding of $200 million from a Chinese investor. It seems that the deal never went through as Jasper Infotech, the parent company of FreeCharge made a fresh investment of $3.3 million last month. Having said that, several media reports state that the company is out on the block and is in talks with Bank of Baroda, Times Internet as well as Paytm for a buyout. MobiKwik also claims that after demonetization in India, its user base and merchant base have increased many-folds. After $80 million investment it had raised last year, the current funding to date stands a bit over $125 million, which it aims to more than double with the current investment round. Nonetheless, when it comes to valuation, even if the mobile wallet gets valued over $1 billion, it will still remain number two in the Indian digital payments market, as Paytm has a lead with a $7 billion valuation and has recently raised $200 million from Alibaba followed by a whopping $1.4 billion from SoftBank.

Abhinav Mohapatra

An author who has a keen interest for the ‘off-beat’ <!--more-->An author who has a keen interest for the ‘off-beat’, he has covered and explored multiple facets of the marketing, advertising

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