SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – In the immediate aftermath of investments made in Flipkart and Snapdeal, another e-commerce giant in India is closing in on another large round of funding in the hopes of tapping into the country’s growing smartphone economy.
Paytm – a digital commerce platform that lets users create online and mobile digital wallets and use its e-commerce platform to pay for goods, services and bills – confirmed this week it received $60 million from Mountain Capital, the investment arm of Taiwan’s semiconductor company Mediatek.
The injection was made after Paytm received a valuation of $4.83 billion, funding which the company plans to use to launch one more financial service, a digital bank for consumers both to save and borrow money.
“We have raised $60 million from Mediatek’s Mountain Capital at a valuation of $4.83 billion,” Paytm’s founder and CEO Vijay Sharma said.
The $60 million is just one part of a much larger round – $300 million – with participation potentially from existing investors Alibaba and Alibaba’s payments arm Ant Financial, as well as other Chinese firms: VC firm SAIF Partners, Foxconn and Fosun. The $4.8 billion-plus valuation is a premium on Paytm’s valuation of $2.8 billion from a year ago.
The company has now raised $760 million to date, Sharma said, a figure the company has never officially confirmed in the past.
Economy of scale is everything in e-commerce, and that is exactly what One97 Communications, the parent company of the Paytm consumer brand, is playing into with this round of funding.
The company says it has two aims for the money.
The first will be an investment into “expansion and scaling up” of its existing lines of business in payments and commerce. Currently, that business gives consumers the ability to book and pay for events, your utility bills, your on-demand ride, your hotels and flights, and a plethora of physical goods in an Amazon-style marketplace. The second target is to use the investment to build and launch its newest service: Paytm Payments Bank, a new online bank that the company has quietly been working on for many months now. One wonders if they will expand their site through the use of subscriptions, which can be made easy by using subscription management software. This would increase the revenue no end as one-off customers become regular customers.
Paytm has been around since about 2010, and it has capitalized on trends that are unique to developing markets like India: a rapid growth of smartphones, and generally improving economies with more disposable income per capita.
A country with a population north of one billion, Indians currently only have about 21 million payment cards in circulation, according to data collected at the end of 2015. This underscores the major gap in the market that existed for effective digital wallets that you could access via smartphones.
The company today has 135 million digital wallets in use, and sees some three million transactions per day. This lays down a track record for the company – and its investors – to believe that it can strike it big again in banking and, crucially, loans.
“The majority of smartphones in India today are sold with Mediatek chipsets,” Sharma said. “So Mediatek wants to expand into security and services because they believe that from chipsets they can grow into services. We can expand our business by integrating into Mediatek’s smartphones, and Mediatek can grow its business by offering security integrations to us and others.”