Google Pay Co-founders’ Indian Neobank Has Raised $13.2M

google pay, co-founders, neo-banks, india, epiFi, seed funding, un-banked, news

Two co-founders of Google Pay in India have raised $13.2 million in a Seed funding round for its neo-bank epiFi, led by Sequoia India and Ribbit Capital, TechCrunch reported on Sunday (Jan. 12).

Also participating in the funding rounds were David Velez, Kunal Shah and VC fund Hillhouse Capital.

Sujith Narayanan and Sumit Gwalani, both co-founders of Google Pay India — formerly called Google Tez — said the seed funding brings the neo-bank startup epiFi to a valuation of roughly $50 million.

The startup was founded in May and will introduce a digital banking blueprint concentrated on serving millennials in India, Narayanan told TechCrunch.

“When we were building Google Tez, we realized that a consumer’s financial journey extends beyond digital payments. They want insurance, lending, investment opportunities and multiple products,” said Narayanan, epiFi CEO.

He added that one goal of the platform is intended to help people get an idea of where their money goes and steer them toward upping savings and investing more wisely, he said.

Co-founder Gwalani, chief product and technology officer, said the startup has about 24 employees, some coming from Netflix, Flipkart and PayPal.

“Their vision to reimagine consumer banking, by providing a modern banking product with epiFi, has the potential to bring a step function change in experience for digitally-savvy consumers,” said Shailesh Lakhani, managing director, Sequoia Capital India.

Although cash transactions are still king in India today, New Delhi’s 2016 invalidation of most paper money triggered tens of millions of Indians to explore digital payments via mobile apps. 

Last year digital payments topped 1 billion transactions in October from over 100 million people and those numbers have been steady ever since.

India started building a national digital financial infrastructure when the number of Indians with bank accounts reached 53 percent in 2014, up from 35 percent in 2000. Still, roughly 20 percent of the population is unbanked, leaving about 260 million of India’s 1.3 billion citizens outside the financial system. 

FinTech startups have been aggressive at filling the banking void. In 2018, international investors invested a record $9.6 billion into startup lenders.