Indian fintech startup BharatPe has raised $ 370 million in a new round of funding as it looks to aggressively scale its business over the next two years. It is the 19th Indian startup to become a unicorn this year (up from 11 last year), as several high-profile global investors double down on the South Asian market.
The new round, an E Series, was led by Tiger Global and valued the New Delhi-based startup at $ 2.85 billion (post-money), it said in a statement Tuesday night. Dragoneer Investor Group and Steadfast Capital also participated in the new round, which brings the startup’s raise to date to more than $ 580 million against equity.
Tuesday News Confirms June TechCrunch Scoop in which we reported that the four-year-old startup was looking to raise around $ 250 million with a pre-money valuation of $ 2.5 billion. BharatPe was valued at approximately $ 900 million in its Series D round in February this year and $ 425 million last year.
BharatPe co-founder Ashneer Grover confirmed that the startup was actually looking to raise $ 250 million until incoming requests from investors led to oversubscription. The new investment also includes some secondary transactions.
BharatPe, which counts Coatue, Ribbit Capital, and Sequoia Capital India among its existing investors, operates an eponymous service to help offline merchants accept digital payments and secure working capital.
Although India has already become the second largest Internet market, with more than 650 million users, much of the country remains disconnected.
Among those outside the reach of the Internet are merchants who run small businesses, such as roadside tea stalls and neighborhood stores. To make these merchants comfortable accepting digital payments, BharatPe relies on QR codes and point-of-sale machines that support the government-backed UPI payments infrastructure.
The startup, which serves more than 7 million merchants in more than 130 Indian cities, said it has disbursed about $ 300 million to business partners. It does not charge merchants for universal access to the QR code, but seeks to earn money through loans.
The startup plans to expand its product offering, as well as work with Centrum Financial Services, with which it was recently licensed by the Central Bank of India (Reserve Bank of India) to establish a small financial bank. (Centrum Financial Services has collaborated with BharatPe for the license, and the Indian startup says the two are “equal” partners.)
Tuesday’s development further illustrates the Tiger Global’s growing interest in India. The New York-based firm has backed dozens of Indian startups, including social commerce startup DealShare, edtech Classplus, Apna (an app that helps manual workers connect with recruiters) and a home services platform Urban Company In recent months.
On Tuesday, Infra.Market, an Indian startup that helps construction and real estate companies procure materials and handle logistics for their projects, said it had raised $ 125 million in a round also led by Tiger Global.