MUMBAI Indian mobile payments and digital wallet firm MobiKwik says it is in talks to raise more funds at a level that would give the start-up a $1 billion valuation, as it pushes to forge new ties with banks and offer new financial services on its platform.
The company, which has raised about $80 million in funding so far, will likely see a new cash infusion in the next month, or two, founder and Chief Executive Bipin Preet Singh told Reuters on Wednesday, while declining to comment on how big an equity stake the company might be offering to sell.
Asked about MobiKwik's valuation, Singh said, "We should be touching a billion (dollars) soon ... in the next one or two months." He declined to comment on which parties MobiKwik is in talks with or how much money was being sought.
Singh said the company, which will likely break even in the middle of 2018, was at the same time not in a rush to raise funds as it remained well capitalised.
India's decision to ban high-value currency notes late last year led to a cash crunch that hurt all sectors of the nearly $2 trillion economy, but it boosted the use of digital payments led by e-wallet operators such as MobiKwik and its larger rival PayTM.
MobiKwik now has 45 million users, Singh said.
"Some of the things that are going to happen over the next two to three months will actually lead to MobiKwik being the default payments partner for a lot of people and they already see us as a natural ally," Singh said.
"I see a future where within the app you can avail yourself of many different financial services in addition to making payments," he said. "Many of those will be far more profitable compared to payments alone."
MobiKwik's current investors include well known U.S. technology venture capital investor Sequoia Capital, Taiwan's MediaTek, Japan's GMO Venture Partners and hedge fund Tree Line Asia.
The potential new fund raising could make MobiKwik India's newest 'unicorn', following larger home-grown start-ups like Flipkart, Snapdeal, PayTM and Ola that have also managed to top the $1 billion valuation mark.
(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Euan Rocha, Greg Mahlich)