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Essel Group’s Itz Cash raises Rs 500 million in a co-investment deal

22nd Jul 2009
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Embarking on an ambitious expansion plan Itz Cash Card Ltd (ICCL) has raised Rs 500 million by way of co-investment from three venture funds namely Lightspeed Venture Partners, Matrix Partners India and Intel Capital. A large chunk of it i.e. Rs 400 million is believed to have come from Lightspeed while Matrix and Intel pooled in to the tune of Rs 80 million and 20 million respectively. With this investment, Bejul Somaia, managing director, Lightspeed Advisory Services India Private Ltd will joining the board of Itz Cash.

 India’s largest multi-purpose pre-paid card company promoted by Essel Group, Itz Cash will deploy the funds to further expand its product portfolio and diversify its business, including venturing into the retail payments space. According to Ashok Goel, chairman, Itz Cash, this is the second round of PE funding that ItzCash has received in the last two years. “The previous one being $10 million from Matrix Partners and Intel Capital. Both the existing investors are also participating in this round,” Goel said.

Itz Cash prepaid cards offer cashless payment solutions for individuals and businesses across physical, internet and mobile channels by providing a convenient, secure and efficient alternative to cash. Importantly, Itz Cash prepaid cards serve as a financially empowering payment instrument for the under-banked or unbanked population of the Country. Lightspeed’s Bejul Somaia feels Itz Cash is a unique and innovative product that offers convenient payment solutions for multiple services. “We believe there is significant growth potential for this product given that cash accounts for approximately 97% of the country’s retail payments, which exceed $500 billion,” said Somaia.

 Established in 2004, Itz Cash Card Ltd today has an annual turnover of Rs 1,700 crore. The card offers a portfolio of customised e-commerce and m-commerce solutions in the B2B & B2C space. The card‘s salient features include its services, technology, safety and security, reliability and ever-increasing business alliances. The company has more than 5,000 merchants and a spread across 1,800 locations including cities, towns and rural India.

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