Indian startup BharatPe has raised $75 million in a Series C funding round to help small businesses in India accept digital payments and provide them with loans, according to a report.
The funding round was led by Coatue Management and Ribbit Capital. Steadview Capital and Insight Partners also invested in the round, as well as VC firm Amplo.
BharatPe is valued at $400 million and has raised $140 million so far. The New Delhi-based startup began about a year and a half ago, and aims to expand throughout the country.
India is home to the second-largest internet market in the country, with over 500 million users. Despite these numbers, however, a large portion of the country is still offline.
BharatPe targets small businesses around the country, offering merchants a QR code that is backed up by the country’s UPI payments structure.
Co-founder and CEO Ashneer Grover said a good portion of the $75 million will be used to help fund merchant partners. The company has handed out about $14 million in “short-term” loans to more than 20,000 merchants in the last year. A merchant looking for a loan can get around $500 for three months. The amount will increase as the merchants spend more time using the service.
Currently, BharatPe has more than three million merchants in 30 cities, and aims to double that by next year.
Because payment services don’t make BharatPe any money, its lending business is very important in terms of revenue. Access to working capital has been a real challenge for countries like India, with more than two billion people around the world facing a similar problem.