New Delhi: One97 Communications Ltd, the parent of digital payments company Paytm on Monday said that it had raised a latest fundraising activity with a group of investors including existing shareholders like Ant Financial, Softbank Vision Fund. New investors includes funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price Associates Inc.
Discovery Capital, an existing shareholder, also participated in the round, the company said in a statement.
Exact numbers are yet to be announced but street estimates suggest that T Rowe Price, Discovery Capital and D1 Capital placed in about $400 million while existing investors such as SoftBank and Ant Financial invested $200 million and $400 million respectively. This takes the total funding at $1 billion (Rs 7,200 crores).
The latest funding helps the company improve its valuation to $16 billion.
Post the announcement, Vijay Shekhar Sharma tweeted that his company would invest Rs 10,000 crores to bring financial inclusion to mode undeserved users in the country.
Today, we open next chapter in Paytm’s journey of India’s financial inclusion. We commit to invest additional ?10,000 crore to serve financially unserved / underserved.— Vijay Shekhar (@vijayshekhar) November 25, 2019
Thank you for your guidance and support.
Dedicating it with my school time favorite Jai Shankar Prasad poem:
"At Paytm, we are committed to bringing half a billion Indians to the mainstream economy by onboarding them in the formal financial ecosystem," said Founder and Chief Executive Officer Vijay Shekhar Sharma.
"This new investment by our current and new investors is a reaffirmation of our commitment to serve Indians with new-age financial services," he said.
In a ToI report, Sharma was also quoted as saying that the company was looking to utilise the funds into applying for a general insurance license and improving on the merchants side. "We are in the final process of applying for a general insurance licence. On the merchants' side, we have 15 million of them and want to add 20 million more in the next two years..." he was quoted as saying.
Speaking about reducing losses, he said, "We are a more mature, leaner and thinner organisation now. We have reduced our burn by about 35-40 per cent in the last six months..."
The company's losses reportedly increased 165 per cent over last year. In 2018-19, its parent company One97 posted Rs 3,959.6 crore in net losses compared to Rs 1,490 crore in 2017-18. The revenue in the same period marginally rose from Rs 3,229 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 3,319 crore in 2018-19.
In its first phase of growth, Paytm pioneered low-cost digital payment acceptability in India using QR-code technology in local shops and retailers. It serves merchants in over 2,000 towns and cities spanning across 650 districts. It aims to support millions of rural Indians towards self-sustainability through job creation.
"In the next phase, we are expanding our offerings in consumer internet and accelerating the vision of bringing new-age financial services such as lending, insurance, investments, stockbroking to the masses. We are also strengthening user engagement with content services under Paytm Inbox that offers games, news, videos and more," it said.
The digital payments market is expected to expand to one trillion dollars (about Rs 72 lakh crore) by 2023, according to a report by NITI Aayog last year. Paytm is locked in a market share war with Google Pay and PhonePe.*With inputs from agencies