FreeCharge, the online and mobile commerce platform has raised USD 80 million in Series C funding round from investors who include Hong Kong-based Tybourne Capital Management and SF-based fund Valiant Capital Management with existing investors Sequioa Capital, Sofina and RuNet also participating. In its Series B round in September last year, the company had raise USD 33 million.
These funds will be allocated for team expansion, product innovation and marketing as told to YourStory by AlokGoel, CEO of FreeCharge while it also looks to expand the head-count of its engineering team, four times the current one. He also said that India will remain the focal geographic point for the platform. “We will be expanding the team size. We have our attention directed toward heavy growth and we believe this will be fuelled by focusing on innovation which will be a product of the engineering team.There are immense growth opportunities in the country itself.” He told IdeapreneurIndia.
Over 80 million transactions happen every day in India. Only 2-3 million of this is online which accounts for about 3-4%. FreeCharge is confident this percentage will increase to 30% by this year-end. Through its TVC, the company has been striving on creating brand awareness since September, last year. “We want FreeCharge to be a household brand and we will continue to work toward the achievement of this goal.” Goel stated. “In July 2014, less than 10% of our transactions happened on mobile which has grown to more than 80% today.” Kunal Shah, Founder of FreeCharge had mentioned while speaking at YourStory’sMobileSparks event in December 2014. He expects it to rise up to 95% by March 2015.
Mobile commerce has been a driving force of the Indian start-up universe with the focus shifting from ‘mobile-first’ to ‘mobile-only.’ Fashion portal Myntra has been constantly pushing users to its mobile app. It aims to be a mobile-only company by the year end. Payments continue to be an important focus for the companies in this field. Yesterday, Alibaba backed Ant Financial Services Group and One97 Communications which runs mobile payment and commerce platform PayTM, disclosed a strategic agreement which will witness Ant Financial take up a 25% stake in One97 to sustain and increase the growth of mobile commerce in India. As per media reports. Alibaba has put in about USD 575 million in PayTM to acquire a 25% stake in the Noida-based company. However, both PayTM and Alibaba are yet to confirm if these reports are true.