Mobikwik raises close to $25M in series B funding from Treeline Asia, Sequoia, Cisco, Amex


Mobile wallet company MobiKwik has raised close to $25 million in a series B round led by Tree Line Asia, the company announced. The round saw participation from Cisco Investments, American Express and the existing investor, Sequoia Capital. The company said it will use the funds for investments in technology/data analytics, brand building and growing the network of users and merchants.

The investments by American Express and Cisco seem in alignment with furthering their goals of fostering the growth momentum of mobile payments in India and, a focus on connected mobility and IoT, respectively.

The payments landscape in India has seen significant activity in the recent few months with Mobikwik's rival Paytm seeing a massive round of investment in February. According to media reports, Alibaba backed Ant Financial services group pumped in about $575 million in Paytm to acquire 25 percent stake in the Noida based company.

Almost 90 per cent of the billion plus Indian population remains unbanked and companies like Mobikwik and Paytm are betting on this, along with the increasing penetration of smartphones and internet, to take simplified payments systems to this group.

In August last year, Mobikwik was the first to launch a W2W (wallet to wallet) mobile money transfer service. Today, Mobikwik claims to have over 15 million wallet users, and 25,000 merchants on board its marketplace. “We have a 100% focus on creating a neutral, interoperable and widely accepted wallet. We are now aiming for the next level of growth and building a ubiquitous mobile wallet for a billion Indians,” Bipin Preet Singh, Founder and CEO, MobiKwik said. Rival Paytm claims 25 million users and, a GMV of USD 1 billion transaction on its marketplace.

Interestingly, while both companies are focused on their mobile payments product, the two are also looking to get into brick-and-mortar retailing. MobiKwik has announced its focus on creating a brick-and-mortar retail network of more than 100,000 merchants across India. After raising a strategic investment from Ratan Tata, Paytm had announced the rollout of its IMPS service and also its plan to open 50,000 retail outlets.

Mobikwik has been aggressively on boarding big offline clients as well. It recently tied up with Café Coffee Day, where customers can pay for their coffee and snacks across all CCD outlets via their MobiKwik wallet. Last week it announced partnership with India’s leading multiplex chain, PVR, to enable its customers to make payments through the MobiKwik mobile wallet. In addition to this, last month, it got into a partnership with PAYBACK to enable users the benefit of loyalty points when they use MobiKwik for a transaction

The next frontier for these companies is a Payments Bank license. Payments banks are a new category of banks that are expected to provide banking services to the poor and marginalised who are outside the ambit of the banking system. Mobikwik applied for a license in February, 2015 along with 40 other small and big companies (RBI press release), including Paytm, also vying for these licenses.