PhonePe Extends New Funding to $850M
General Atlantic poured another $100 million into PhonePe, four months after leading a $350 million investment in the Indian fintech startup that has so far raised $850 million in a round of ongoing funding at the height of the global economic downturn.
Walmart-backed PhonePe disclosed the investment in a statement on Monday. The current round values the Bengaluru-based startup at $12 billion. PhonePe plans to raise up to an additional $150 million in the current round. General Atlantic invested an additional $100 million in PhonePe last month.
With a valuation of $12 billion, PhonePe is India’s most valuable fintech startup. It competes with Google Pay and Paytm, with the latter currently valued at nearly $5 billion.
PhonePe, which completed a full spinoff from e-commerce giant Flipkart last year, dominates transactions on UPI, a network built by a coalition of retail banks in India. UPI is the most popular way for Indians to transact online – it processes over 8 billion transactions per month. Google’s GPay and PhonePe currently process over 80% of all UPI transactions.
Seven-year-old PhonePe controls about 50% of all those transactions by value and it’s not slowing down. The company said earlier this year that it was on track to process transactions worth $1 trillion a year.
Walmart, which also owns a majority share of e-commerce giant Flipkart, said earlier this year that splitting Flipkart and PhonePe was “very similar to eBay and PayPal, where each of them operating independently can pursue their own initiatives.” .
General Atlantic, which has backed a number of Indian companies including Jio, BillDesk, Byju’s, Amagi, NoBroker and Unacademy over the past decade, plans to deploy at least $2-3 billion in India over the next five to the next seven years, according to people familiar with the New York-based growth stock investor’s plans.
The new investment comes at a time when PhonePe is aggressively expanding its product offerings. The startup earlier this year launched a hyperlocal commerce app, called Pincode, which is powered by the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), an Indian government initiative that is working to democratize the e-commerce landscape by offering a commission-free platform.
PhonePe said it will “invest tremendous efforts” in Pincode and “allow every Indian merchant to reach every nook and cranny, over the next few years.”
PhonePe is looking to capitalize on its 450 million registered user base by expanding into additional financial services including wealth management, lending, stock brokerage, ONDC-based shopping and account aggregation.
A potential impediment to PhonePe’s growth was the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the organization overseeing the UPI network, which sought to impose market share restrictions on participating players. However, the NPCI extended the compliance deadline to 2025, allowing PhonePe two more years of rapid expansion.
In another favorable development, the Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank, has decided to abandon a large-scale project originally planned to compete with the UPI platform.