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Startup of the Week: Rise of the Indian QR code-based payment app BharatPe

BharatPe is an Indian QR code-based payment app for offline retailers and businesses, launched in April 2018 by Ashneer Grover and Shashvat Nakrani, headquartered in New Delhi. It is a merchant focused payments platform as it offers merchants a single interface for all existing UPI apps and allows merchants to accept UPI payments for ‘FREE’ through the BharatPe QR. The company has raised $ 142.5 Mn till date and aims to grow its business 5x in the next two years to cross $30 Bn total payments volume.

BharatPe is an Indian QR code-based payment app for offline retailers and businesses. It was launched in April 2018 by Ashneer Grover and Shashvat Nakrani and is based in New Delhi. It offers merchants a single interface for all existing UPI apps such as Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay, BHIM, Mobikwik, Freecharge, TrueCaller among 100 other UPI transaction applications and allows merchants to accept UPI payments for ‘FREE’ through the BharatPe QR.

BharatPe is a merchant focused payments platform hence; merchants can sign up instantly and start receiving the funds immediately in their bank account. The company was founded on a mission to make payments FREE for all businesses. The aim is to be the utility app for more than 10 million offline merchants in India for all their business needs. Apart from focusing on its QR-code solutions, BharatPe is also diversifying into the prepaid card segment. It has also has launched its own PoS offering, BharatSwipe, which will allow merchants to accept card payments

The company has raised $ 142.5 Mn till now, from marquee investors like Beenext, Sequoia, SteadView Capital, Ribbit Capital, Coatue Management LLC, Insight Partners, and Amplo. It had last raised $75 Mn in Series C round led by Coatue Management and Ribbit Capital in February 2020. BharatPe presently has 12 investors and is a private team of 4.

“The offline retail market is, in order of magnitude, larger than the online/ecommerce market in a country like India and digitising fast. BharatPe’s differentiated financial services proposition focused at the merchant outweighs all other services being targeted by other UPI / VAS players.”, commented BharatPe’s co founder and CEO Ashneer Grover 

Currently, BharatPe serves over 50 Lakh merchants across more than 50 cities and had plans to scale up to 65 cities by March 2020. The company also works with six NBFC partners at present and is looking to scale this up to 20 lending partners, as it looks to add new channel financing products to its offering to merchants, this year. It claims to have grown its business 30x in 2019, with an annualised TPV of $7 Bn and has also facilitated the disbursement of over INR 500 Cr to its merchants since its launch. The company claims through a statement that BharatPe’s POS business grew to $ 2 Bn annualized transaction value in just 3 months post the launch. It now aims to grow its business 5x in the next two years to cross $30 Bn total payments volume (TPV), said BharatPe’s Group President Suhail Sameer. “We are bullish on lending and aim to disburse loans of US$1 bn to small merchants and kiranas by 2023,” he added.

The biggest business challenge faced by the company was educating the investors as in 2018, behemoths like Phone Pe, Paytm and Google Pay were already dominating the market and BharatPe wanted to help the small shopkeeper. Hence convincing the investors was an initial task for them.

BharatPe within two years, has successfully emerged as one of the top UPI payment processors in the country, a space which has the likes of well-funded firms including Walmart-backed PhonePe, Paytm as well as Google and Facebook-owned WhatsApp, competing for market share. Its international competitors include Lunar, Mamo Pay, eXPO and Wingocard.

Source: Business World

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