BharatPe Joins The Unicorn Club With Threefold Rising Valuation to $2.85 Billion

BharatPe, merchant payments, and financial services provider, has raised $370 million in a primary and secondary fundraising round led by new investor Tiger Global Management of New York.

Dragoneer Investor Group and Steadfast Capital are two other new investors who participated in this round.

BharatPe joins India’s burgeoning list of unicorn startups with the funding, with its valuation more than tripling to $2.85 billion in only six months.

In February 2021, the company raised $108 million at a valuation of $900 million.

As part of the current fundraising round, new investor Tiger Global invests $100 million in the firm, with Dragoneer and Steadfast contributing $25 million each.

The existing investors have contributed a total of $200 million to the company’s current Series E fundraise, which includes Sequoia Capital, Insight Partners, Coatue Management, Amplo, and Ribbit Capital.

The round also includes a $20 million secondary fundraising to provide liquidity to the company’s employees and angel investors. For BharatPe employees with vested options, this is the third liquidity event.

Suhail Sameer, the company’s group president, has been promoted to CEO and will be in charge of monetization, lending, and the company’s recent banking foray. In addition, he will also join the board of directors of BharatPe.

Ashneer Grover, the co-founder of BharatPe, will take over as managing director of the company. He will continue to lead the company’s strategy, technology, product functions, and working capital financing efforts.

In an interview, Grover mentioned they planned to raise $250 million initially, but the response was highly overcrowded.

They believe the $350 million quick raise will provide them with sufficient runway for the next three years, following which they may consider a public market listing.

Grover added that they still have cash in the bank from their Series C and D rounds and an overall liquidity runway of $500 million, putting them in excellent stead for future development.

He claims that the present financing would be used to tenfold the company’s existing business lines over the following two years.

In collaboration with Centrum Financial Services, BharatPe would use the money to help troubled Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank. In June, the purchase of PMC Bank by Centrum and BharatPe was approved by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Grover also informed that with RBI approval in June, they will invest $250-$300 million (or up to 2,224 crores) in PMC Bank alongside Centrum over the following two years.

However, Grover refused to comment on the PMC Bank acquisition’s future ambitions.

Merchant payments, lending, and financial services offered to merchant partners are among BharatPe’s core business verticals.

It now has a presence in more than 140 cities and intends to expand to 300 towns in the next two years. It also intends to increase the number of point-of-sale devices deployed from 100,000 to 400,000 during the following two fiscal years.

To far, BharatPe has granted almost $300 million in funding to merchant partners and has a $100 million outstanding loan book.

It intends to increase its entire funding to $3 billion by March 2023, with a $1 billion outstanding loan book.

To support this credit expansion, the company plans to raise $700 million in debt capital over the next two years.

The BharatPe platform now processes about $10 billion in yearly payment value, with the firm aiming to reach $30 billion by 2023.

BharatPe also just announced the purchase of PAYBACK India, a multi-brand loyalty platform, to assist its 7 million offline retailers in implementing consumer incentives and loyalty programs.

This marked BharatPe’s debut into the customer-facing sector, as the business intends to launch “Buy Now, Pay Later” services on the PAYBACK platform.

“For the next three years, we do not expect to make any further acquisitions for inorganic growth and will continue to focus on developing our existing lines of business organically,” Grover added.

By the end of the fiscal year 2023, BharatPe hopes to have doubled its merchant partners to 14 million.

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