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Top 5 most expensive fintech startups in India

By the end of the last year, the country hosted around 2,174 startups related to payments, lending, wealth management and insurance

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Top 5 most expensive fintech startups in India. Source: pexels.com

During 2015-2020, India has seen phenomenal growth in new fintech startups. As an innovation hub, the country is attracting many investors. Moreover, it’s fintech ecosystem has doubled its fundraising amounts at a time when the global fintech investment saw a slowdown amidst the global pandemic crisis.

According to Inc42 Plus’ analysis, Indian tech startups have raised $9.4B between January 1, 2021 and May 31, 2021. This equals 82% of the total $11.5B funding that startups raised in 2020. Some of them have even joined the unicorn club due to generous investments.

While the Indian fintech industry is gaining momentum, we decided to take a look at the most expensive fintech startups founded by restless and enthusiastic Indian entrepreneurs. They were all founded less than a decade ago but have already joined the unicorn club.

  1. PhonePe. Valuation: $5.5B. Founded in 2015.
  2. Razorpay. Valuation: $3B. Founded in 2014.
  3. Cred. Valuation: $2.2B. Founded in 2018.
  4. Chargebee. Valuation: $1.4B. Founded in 2011.
  5. Groww. Valuation: $1B. Founded in 2016.

PhonePe

PhonePe is a digital payments provider. Its app users can send and receive money, recharge mobile, DTH, data cards, make utility payments, pay at shops, invest in tax saving funds and liquid funds, buy insurance, mutual funds and gold. This year, PhonePe has reported 300 million registered users. It’s the most popular digital payment method in India, being accepted by 20 million merchants in 11,000 locations nationwide. Since March 2021, Phone Pe has been processing over 1.07 billion monthly transactions across UPI, cards and wallets.

The earnings of the startup rose by 74% in FY20, bringing PhonePe Rs 427 crore in total revenue. At the same time, the company saw a 7% decline in net loss from Rs 1,904 crore in FY19 to Rs 1,771 crore in FY20.

The startup used to be a subsidiary of Flipkart. Since last year, it spun off into a separate entity. Although Flipkart remains a major shareholder, Walmart now owns about 10% of PhonePe stock. As part of the separation process, PhonePe had raised primary capital of $700 million, and acquired a valuation of $5.5 billion. The move gives the startup greater operational autonomy and increases its potential at the new stage of development.

Razorpay

Razorpay is a payment company that provides free e-commerce payment gateway solutions. The company is one of the fastest-growing startups in the fintech segment. Razorpay’s free payment gateway supports net banking, credit & debit cards, UPI, PayLater, eight different mobile wallets, and other alternatives. Businesses get reports and detailed statistics on payments, settlements, and refunds. Flash checkout solution features more benefits such as personal checkout rewards, added offers and discounts, customized UI, a number of vernacular languages for the local population, Razorpay’s Trusted Badge for verified sellers, etc. With RazorpayX – the company’s business banking arm, businesses can get access to fully-functional current accounts, supercharge their payouts and automate payroll compliance. There’s also a loan marketplace called Razorpay Capital among the company’s products.

During 2020, the payment volumes served by Razorpay grew threefold, while the company itself has witnessed 40% month-on-month growth. At the beginning of the year, the startup served over 5 million businesses, but it’s going to target new SMBs and aims to double the number of customers throughout 2021. Razorpay has also recently partnered with PayPal to enable seamless international payments for MSMEs and freelancers.

Cred

Cred has built a unique platform with gamification elements for managing credit card bills. The startup partners with premier and luxury brands to reward its customers at the end of every credit card bill payment cycle. The platform members earn coins and gems for paying bills on time and referring friends. The coins can be used for games and contests that bring more exclusive promotions and cashback offers. In these harsh times, Cred coins can also be donated towards the supply of oxygen concentrators for COVID patients. To encourage its customers to manage their debts wisely, Cred sends timely reminders, offers payment automation, and real-time credit limit updates. Cred Protect also provides category-based analysis of one’s expenses and detects hidden charges.

Cred now serves more than 6 million customers. That means about 22% of all credit card holders, and 35% of all premium credit card holders in the Indian market. However, for the first two years of its existence, the popular fintech app developer had been bearing losses. Currently, the startup is seeking ways to optimize its business model in order to become profitable. Along with its main free product, Cred has launched two lending products. ‘Rent Pay’ gives a no-interest period of 45 days on recurring household expenses and monthly rent payments through credit cards. Besides, a proprietary credit line offers around one-third of current interest rates in the market in association with banks. The third product launched recently is a brand discovery platform called ‘Discover’. Brands pay a fee to list their products on the platform where the users can spend Cred coins to avail discounts.

Chargebee

Chargebee is the SaaS provider. It offers subscription billing software powering end-to-end recurring billing, subscription management, auto invoicing, automated accounting, tax management and more. Customers can connect with Chargebee via API or use PCI-compliant hosted payment pages to collect payments. The startup’s services are being used by over 3,000 high-growth subscription-based businesses from startups to enterprises across 60 countries. The fintech itself grows at a 100% year-on-year rate. During the first two years of operations, Chargebee’s leading marketing metrics have grown 20X. As of April 2021, Chargebee’s revenue has doubled over the year and customer’s revenue has grown by 125%.

Groww

Groww is an investing platform that allows purchasing mutual funds, stocks, ETFs, futures and options, and even gold. With intraday trading enabled, investors can short sell, place a stop-loss order, and track price movements through candlestick charts. There’s also a high-interest fixed deposit option to make your money work. The investment platform doesn’t charge clients for account opening or maintenance, the only applicable fee incurs from brokerage.

Within only 5 years of operations, Groww has attracted over 10 million customers. Most of them are men, so the startup has recently introduced an ad campaign encouraging women to bridge the gender wealth gap and learn about financial instruments. Within the ‘Groww Women’s Week’ they even charged zero brokerage for women investors to facilitate their path to financial stability. It is especially important while many women have lost their jobs amidst the pandemic and may look for alternative ways to support their families.

Groww is literally growing at an enormous pace. The startup posted revenue of INR 76.16 lakh (0.76 Cr) in the fiscal year ended March 2020 (FY20), an 823% year-on-year (YoY) growth from revenue of INR 8.25 lakh (0.08 Cr) in FY19. At the same time, it doesn’t make the platform profitable for its creators. Due to expansion of operations, expenses increased by 2,703%. Thus, the company’s net loss for FY20 stood at INR 7.93 Cr, a 3,348% increase from a loss of INR 23 lakh (0.23 Cr) in FY19.

Nevertheless, Groww aims to expand its product suite and conduct further financial education and awareness campaigns to onboard new customers. The company now also plans to take over the mutual fund business of Indiabulls group for Rs 175 crore. Once the startup gets approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India, it will be one of the first fintech companies nationwide to start its own asset management business.

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