New Delhi-based digital payment startup BharatPe said Wednesday it has raised INR 60 crore (USD 8.2 million) in debt funding from Innoven Capital, a Temasek-backed venture debt firm.
This funding comes 10 months after BharatPe’s USD 75 million Series C round led by New York-based hedge fund Coatue Management and Palo Alto-based fintech investor Ribbit Capital.
“As we build the lending business at BharatPe, raising institutional debt is important to us. We plan to raise USD 500-700 million of debt capital over the next 2 years. We are incredibly glad that Innoven Capital is our first supporter on this journey. We look forward to working with Innoven to build a long-term win-win relationship,” Suhail Sameer, group president, BharatPe, said in a statement.
The one-and-a-half-year-old startup is a B2B payments platform that offers merchants a single interface for all existing UPI apps such as Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay, and others and allows merchants to accept payments for free using its QR code. UPI (Unified Payments Interface) is a government-backed payment tool to facilitate money transfer digitally.
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BharatPe is currently building credit products such as providing short-term working capital loans to merchants. In addition, it also rolled out other value-added services like offering merchants a digital ledger service to record their cash and credit sales.
Local Indian payment behemoths, the likes of Paytm, Google Pay, and PhonePe have spent their early years in strengthening their customer-oriented services such as mobile and utility bill payment. As that market gets competitive with top players like PhonePe and Google Pay taking up most of the market share in UPI-based payments, these companies are branching out into BharatPe’s B2B territory. Walmart-owned PhonePe, Paytm, and Google Pay are aggressively partnering with merchants. Last year, PhonePe said it’s going to work with 25 million small retailers by August 2021.
BharatPe claims over 5 million small and medium retailers using its QR code to accept payments over UPI.
“BharatPe is not only helping millions of merchants to accept UPI payments seamlessly but also enabling them access to credit, which has been a pain point. This is a massive market, and we look forward to being a partner in BharatPe’s ambitious growth agenda,” said Ashish Sharma, CEO, Innoven Capital India.
With WhatsApp getting approval from Indian authorities to expand WhatsApp Pay, its payment business late last year, the competition in this space has further aggravated. Soon after getting the nod WhatsApp rolled out ‘carts’ feature that allows retailers to set up their online business on the messaging app.
“WhatsApp is fast becoming a store counter to discuss products and coordinate sales. With more and more shopping happening through chats, we want to make buying and selling even easier,” the company said in a blog post.