India: Flipkart strikes third deal in payments space, buys startup PhonePe

Photo: Mint

E-commerce marketplace Flipkart Ltd on Friday said it has acquired payments start-up PhonePe Internet Pvt. Ltd, which was launched last December by former Flipkart executives Sameer Nigam, Rahul Chari and Burzin Engineer.

Mint reported earlier today that Flipkart was in talks to acquire a majority stake in the company for an amount between $10 million and $20 million.

The PhonePe team will join Flipkart but will function as an independent business unit.

“Payments has been one of the biggest hurdles for mass adoption of online shopping in India. UPI has the potential of transforming the entire payments ecosystem in the country. The acquisition of PhonePe is in line with Flipkart’s focus on driving innovation on the payments front. I am delighted that two Flipkart veterans—Sameer and Rahul—are at the helm of this initiative,” said Binny Bansal, chief executive officer, Flipkart, in a statement.

PhonePe is Flipkart’s third major acquisition in payments, after it bought payments start-up NGPay (Jigrahak Mobility Solutions Pvt. Ltd) in 2014, and FX Mart Pvt. Ltd, which owns a prepaid wallet licence last August.

PhonePe hasn’t yet launched a product, but is working on a payments solution around the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), an initiative of the National Payments Corp. of India, which will allow fund transfer between banks and will make inter-operability between banks and instant payments possible by using a single identifier like the Aadhaar number or a virtual address.

The UPI is a part of a set of government programmes and technologies, together called India Stack, that companies can use to slash costs in offline authentication and provide services legally approved by the government to anyone with a mobile phone. The UPI is set to be formally launched in April.

“PhonePe’s mission is to significantly improve the online and offline digital payments experience for millions of Indian customers. We are really excited to merge with Flipkart and get access to one of the largest consumer bases in the country, which will allow us to realize our vision at a much larger scale,” said Sameer Nigam, co-founder, PhonePe.

This article was first published on Livemint.com

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.