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With 17 M wallet users, MobiKwik plans to raise $100 M and double its headcount this year

Jai Vardhan
22nd May 2015
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With the adoption of e-commerce and digital currency, payment startups have grown at an unprecedented pace over the past two years. Digital wallets are gradually replacing the traditional wallet in metros and bigger cities. Payment companies like Paytm and MobiKwik are capitalising on the surge in digital (web+mobile) transactions.

While Paytm leads the race, Gurgaon-based MobiKwik has seen phenomenal growth in the last 12 months. “Our user base has grown by 300 per cent in the last one year and stands at over 17 million today. Our revenue has been growing at the rate of 600 per cent annually,” says Bipin Preet Singh, Co-Founder MobiKwik.

Team MobiKwik
Team MobiKwik

“Another good thing is the engagement that we have built around the wallet. We have managed to do that by getting relevant merchant partners on board,” adds Bipin Preet.Over the past three months the company has doubled the number of merchants on its platform (from 25000 to 50000). These partners include some of the leading names in e-commerce, hospitality, travel and entertainment -- brands like Domino’s, Jabong, Cleartrip, MakeMyTrip, and PVR.

“We have also started focusing extensively on offline retail partners and recently tied up with Café Coffee Day. Now, our customers can use their MobiKwik wallet to pay at any CCD outlet across the country,” states Bipin Preet. Going ahead, MobiKwik is anticipating more such partnerships.

Traditionally, mobile and DTH recharge, along with utility bill payments, were the heavy contributors to MobiKwik’s daily transaction volume. “But payments for online shopping and ticket bookings are picking up fast and have become a major driving force for our business,” says Bipin Preet. This year the company expects its offline payments to grow as fast as its online payments business.

Bipin Preet Singh, CEO & Co-Founder, MobiKwik
Bipin Preet Singh, CEO & Co-Founder, MobiKwik

MobiKwik has tied up with leading OTAs like Cleartrip, MakeMyTrip, Yatra, and Goibibo this year, as travel is the largest e-commerce vertical in India. “We expect to facilitate travel and hotel bookings worth Rs. 200 Crores, over the next 12 months,” adds Bipin Preet.

The backstory

Bipin Preet started MobiKwik in 2009 when he was tired of his easy going corporate job and was looking to do something new in life. He wanted to create a simple payment platform for prepaid mobile users to recharge their currency. “Since recharge is a small ticket size transaction, I created a digital wallet where users could keep the money and recharge whenever they wanted,” says Bipin Preet.

Slowly, TV recharge and other utility bill payments were added by MobiKwik. The company launched its android app in 2012.At present MobiKwik has a team of over 150 people and expects to double the headcount by the end of the year.

USPs and differentiators

The biggest USP of MobiKwik is its strong focus on the wallet segment. “While there are many companies in the payment space, no one else operates as a true wallet. Many of them have diversified into other segments like e-commerce and recharge. On the other hand, we have a laser sharp focus on building our wallet offering as the most convenient way of making payments across the spectrum of online and offline consumer services.” outlines Bipin Preet.

Additionally, it has a strong focus when it comes to technology. “Our mobile app is one of the lightest and fastest in this space, across platforms,” adds Bipin Preet.

Road ahead

The brainchild of Bipin Preet and Upasana Taku -- MobiKwik recently raised close to $25 million in a Series B round from Tree Line Asia, Cisco Investments, American Express, and their existing investor, Sequoia Capital. They plan to raise another $100 million in the latter half of 2015.

Upasana Taku, Co-Founder, MobiKwik
Upasana Taku, Co-Founder, MobiKwik

“Our aim is to disrupt the payments space further in 2015 by creating an offline retail network of more than 100,000 merchants across India that will serve both as points for cash loading into the wallet and for wallet payments acceptance,” concludes Bipin Preet.

The company also aims to sign up more merchants on its payment list, especially offline merchants.

It has also applied for a Payments Bank license in February 2015 and hopes to launch a banking service (if it gets green signal from RBI) this year.

MobiKwik’s main competitors are Paytm, Freecharge and Rechargeitnow. On the wallet front it rubs shoulders with Paytm, which has over 60 million wallet users. However, MobiKwik has a strong focus on the wallet, while Alipay-backed Paytm is following a horizontal approach and has forayed into B2C marketplace.

Seems like the bringing in of offline merchants (like CC Day) by online merchants will be a key factor in the growth of payment startups like Mobikwik and Paytm.

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