FreeCharge raises $33 million Series B funding from Sequoia Capital and others
FreeCharge, India’s leading online platform for recharge, utility payments, promotions and couponing, has raised a series B funding of 33 million USD. Existing investors Sequoia Capital, along with Sofina and RuNet took part in the fresh round. To the untrained eye Freecharge may look like a recharge site, but at its core it is building an advertising platform that captures online and offline purchase behaviour of consumers. By offering incentives and coupons to users to transact on its platform, the platform is able to capture the behavior and preferences of its customers.
Mobile transactions on the Freecharge app have grown by almost 30x since the beginning of 2014. The company has more than 10 million registered users. The platform is witnessing rapid growth. FreeCharge also recently acquired Preburn, in addition to Wishberg, its first acquisition.
Shailendra Singh, Managing Director of Sequoia Capital India Advisors Pvt. Ltd., said “Freecharge is creating a unique new category, an advertising platform with the “consumption graph” for the most valuable online consumers. We are very impressed with the team’s execution and the rapid growth and engagement of users on the platform.”
Galina Chifina, Investment Officer at ruNet, speaking about the funding, said, “Freecharge is one of the most exciting companies in our Indian portfolio with a highly innovative business model that has global appeal and scalability. We are happy to participate in the new round to support the new initiatives the company has embarked upon. The team has done an awesome job to position Freecharge among the leaders of the mobile recharge/payment and data analysis market in India and we believe the new round will help the company to grow even faster”
Alok Goel, CEO of FreeCharge, speaking about the Series B round of funding, said, “We have been able to assemble one of the best start-up teams in the country and are leading the mobile internet revolution in India. 70% of our transactions come from mobile platforms and we are growing more than 400% year on year.”
Alok Goel spoke a few days back at Bangalore TechSparks: 4 lessons I learnt building and running businesses
“We are innovating at breakneck pace in the mobile app ecosystem and this round of funding will go a long way in establishing FreeCharge as a household brand in the country," said Kunal Shah, Co-Founder, FreeCharge.
“In addition to the confidence shown by the investors we are most excited about our team. We have assembled a truly a world class team with the best of Technology and business innovation. I am just delighted that we will be on this journey together," said Sandeep Tandon, Co-Founder, FreeCharge.
The company has added industry leaders like Gokul Rajaram, Koh Boon Hwee, and Dhiraj Rajaram to its board of advisors.
Gokul Rajaram who is known as the father of Google AdSense, is an ex Head of Monetization - Products for Facebook and currently Head of Products at Square. He added, "My experiences building ad systems at Google and Facebook have shown me that next-generation ad platforms need to deliver value on both sides of the equation, and FreeCharge does this in an elegant and powerful way."
Dhiraj Rajaram, CEO of muSigma has also joined as the board of advisors. “I was amazed at the way FreeCharge is building innovative marketing solutions. Data is the fundamental building block on which next wave of solid businesses will be built. FreeCharge has huge potential to be pioneer in this space," he said.
Koh Boon Hwee, speaking about the development said, "The FreeCharge business model is absolutely a novelty. It has not been tried anywhere else in the world. The model builds on top of a massive telecom consumer base and can certainly be replicated by the freecharge team in various other countries and continents".
FreeCharge is an exclusive online promotions partner for several well known brands. Amit Jatia, Vice Chairman, Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt Ltd (McDonald’s India – West & South), whose restaurants use the Freecharge platform said, “ FreeCharge provides us with a unique value proposition for driving promotions. They have been able to drive a significant number of customers from the online world into our restaurants with a performance tracking that is at par with online digital advertising.”
FreeCharge also happens to have the distinction of being a made-in-India app with more than a million downloads.
Here are a few more of them: