India’s largest digital payments company, Paytm, has secured $1 billion in Series-G funding from a number of strategic investors and global asset management firms as part of a new financing round that is said to have taken the company’s valuation to $16 billion, making it the country’s most valuable startup.
According to The Times of India, the round was led by US-based asset management firm, T Rowe Price, which is believed to have invested around $400 million along with Discovery Capital and D1 Capital. Existing investors, SoftBank and Ant Financial, are also believed to have invested $200 million and $400 million, respectively.
The investments have already been confirmed by the company’s founder, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, who told the publication that the money will be used to rope in more merchants, both online and off. “We have 15 million of them (merchants) and want to add 20 million more in the next two years”, he said.
The company also plans to make an aggressive foray into the financial services sector, with added focus on lending, insurance and new-age banking. “Lending, insurance and new-age banking will be the focus for us. We are in the final process of applying for a general insurance licence”, said Sharma.
Paytm is also allocating Rs. 10,000 crore to expand deeper into rural markets over the next three years, but there are no further details about the company’s plans on that front. He also said that the company will focus more on its payments gateway business as it makes a marked shift from its strategy of incentivizing peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions on the UPI platform.