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BharatPe, a New Delhi-based firm that is enabling hundreds of thousands of merchants to start accepting digital payments for the first time each month and also giving them access to working capital, has raised $50 million as it looks to scale its business in the nation.
The Series B round for the one-year old startup was led by San Francisco-headquartered VC firm Ribbit Capital and London-based Steadview Capital, both of which have previously invested in a number of financial services in India.
Investors - Sequoia - Capital - Beenext - Capital
Existing investors Sequoia Capital, Beenext Capital, and Insight Partners also participated in the round, pushing BharatPe’s all-time raise to $65 million. The new round valued the startup at $225 million, Ashneer Grover, cofounder and CEO of BharatPe, told TechCrunch in an interview.
BharatPe operates an eponymous service to help offline merchants accept digital payments. Even as India has already emerged as the second largest internet market with over 500 million users, much of country remains offline. Among those outside of the reach of the internet are merchants running small businesses such as roadside tea stalls.
BharatPe - Team - Actor - Salman - Khan
BharatPe team with actor Salman Khan, who is the firm’s brand ambassador.
To make these merchants comfortable in accepting digital payments, BharatPe relies on QR codes built as part of government-backed UPI payments infrastructure. “We get them to put up a QR code in their shops, and any customer that uses a UPI-powered payments app — which is now supported by nearly every payments app in India — can pay these shop owners digitally,” said Grover.
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