A consortium of investors, including PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, will put as much as $25 million into the Indian digital and mobile payments solutions company Citrus Pay, The Economic Times reported Monday (May 11).
Thiel’s investment totals roughly $3 million, according to the report, and the remainder will come from Sequoia Capital and other existing investors — which include econtext Asia and Japan’s Beenos. A previous round of financing nearly two years ago valued the company at about $30 million, the report indicated. According to the company’s website, Sequoia has invested in Paypal, Stripe, Square, Google, WhatsApp and Micromax.
But what exactly is Citrus and what is attracting Thiel as an investor?
“Citrus makes digital payments and online checkout processes simpler, faster, safer and easier for an 800 million strong electronically connected user base,” the company explains on its site, which also explains Thiel’s interest in Citrus.
The Economic Times reports the new capital could fund Citrus Pay’s plan to tap into small and mid-sized businesses looking for online payment solutions. Known as Project Flight, a recent Citrus Pay program seeks to reduce the payment gateway integration time needed to bring a merchant payment system online — with no paperwork. Citrus offers services for consumers and merchants and also has mobile wallet and apps focused on monthly bill payments. On its consumer side, there’s Citrus cash, which is an app that lets consumers send and receive money from anyone with an email. For merchants, the company promotes its “simple and transparent” way to pay bills.
“The entire idea is to become a leader in consumer payments. Unlike being only a player in wallets, we also need to have a strong merchant proposition. We want to expand our base to 70 million consumers and reach over 25,000 merchants from the current base of 3,500 merchants,” Citrus Managing Director Amrish Rau told The Economic Times.
In previous investments, Thiel had made investments in India-based POS firm Ezetap, which has been billed as the country’s answer to Square. And both Thiel and Sequoia were investors in Stripe, a payments company based in Silicon Valley.