Infosys Ltd co-founder Nandan Nilekani has invested $5 million more in Bengaluru-based e-commerce start-up 10i Commerce Services, according to regulatory documents and a person familiar with the matter.
With the latest investment, the former chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has so far invested about $10 million in 10i Commerce in several tranches.
10i Commerce is the recipient of the biggest investment made by Nilekani, who pumped in about $7.5 million (about Rs50 crore) into Mumbai-based auto parts technology start-up Sedemac Mechatronics last year, according to documents filed with the Registrar of Companies.
10i has built a technology platform called ShopX, which aims to help small brick-and-mortar retailers and neighbourhood stores across the country compete better with large online retailers.
Nilekani declined to comment on the amount he has invested in 10i so far. 10i co-founder Amit Sharma declined to comment on the investment amount.
According to the Registrar of Companies documents and the person cited above, Nilekani is currently the sole major investor and owns a minority stake in 10i.
The start-up is also looking to close another round of funding from new investors over the next few months, said the person cited above, who requested anonymity.
10i is also launching an open payments network next week that’ll help customers transact digitally across any platform.
“What we are talking about is a payments service — and it’s a service which sits on top of various kinds of infrastructure in the economy — the infrastructure can be IMPS (immediate payment services) or UPI (unified payment interface) or the card networks such as Visa and MasterCard. The stand that ShopX has taken is that, there’s need for a payments service that utilizes existing infrastructure and provides a seamless experience to customers and retailers” said Sharma, who started 10i in 2015 with co-founder Apoorva Jois.
10i, which currently counts the likes of Aadhaar project architect Pramod Varma and former L’Oreal executive Jagdish Kini among its advisors, plans to launch the open payments network next week.
“Once a user has the ShopX consumer app, they can make a payment using any of these services. Let’s say, if a customer with a Paytm wallet comes to a retailer, our service will allow him to make a payment using his Paytm credit. And when we roll out the ShopX open payments service, in a sense we are therefore rolling out all the different standards in one go,” said Sharma.
“Paytm is only one of the wallets in the country — for instance, ICICI Pockets is another wallet, you have HDFC Chillr, you have Jio Money and Ola Money. So, a retailer can use the ShopX payments service to accept payments from any of these wallets or from netbanking and so on. That’s whole idea of making it open and interoperable. We want to give the customer and the retailer complete choice,” he added.