In 2020, Cashfree had 70K merchants on its platform. By 2021, it nearly doubled that number. Here’s how

Over the last year, Cashfree saw the number of merchants on its platform more than double. Most of these new additions came from Tier II and III regions in the country, it said.
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Buoyed by the rapid adoption of ecommerce and online payments in India in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, payments processing startup Cashfree said it saw a 150 percent increase in the number of total active and transacting merchants on its platform over the last year.

The number of merchant sign-ups on its platform rose from around 70,000 in July 2020 to over 1.30 lakh by July 2021 — up 95 percent across sectors including ecommerce, digital goods, and edtech, as both businesses and consumers went online to shop safely and observe COVID-19 protocols.

The PayPal-backed startup also saw traction from sectors such as financial services, gaming, and hospitality on its platform, with more merchants than ever signing up for its products that enable online payments, bulk disbursals, instant refunds, auto collect, and buy now, pay later, among others.

The number of overall transactions by volume doubled to two million in 2021, from a million in 2019, the startup said.

“The pandemic has led businesses to rethink their entire payment management processes. Digitisation has helped businesses move from offline to online in order to sell their products or continue servicing their customer —  and we saw that sentiment reflect in our merchant onboarding as well,” Cashfree’s Co-founder and CEO, Akash Sinha, told YourStory.

He noted that demand for its online payment platforms was particularly strong from Tier-II and Tier-III regions in India, from cities including Indore, Jaipur, and Lucknow.

Founded in 2015 by Akash and Reeju Datta, Cashfree is a digital payment and banking tech startup that helps businesses collect payments online, as well as makes payments to their vendors, employees, suppliers etc.

The startup’s best-performing product is its bulk disbursement product, Payouts, which is used by almost 5,000 businesses to process vendor payments and refunds, pay wages, disburse loans, reimburse expenses, and more. More than 30 million bank accounts have received a payment via Payouts, Akash told YourStory in an interview.

The Bengaluru-based startup counts over one lakh merchants on its platform, around 4X more than 12,000 it had in April 2019. While a bulk of its merchant-partners are based out of metropolitan cities, the startup says it is seeing the contribution of India's Tier II and III cities to its overall growth base increasing.

“Cashfree is constantly trying to ensure that businesses in remote India have access to technologies that serve their need. Options like 'buy now, pay later' have proven to be a huge success in these areas. We have also partnered with DIY platforms to enable merchants to set up digital stores using Cashfree payment collections and disbursals,” Akash told YourStory.

He added that India has always been a focus for Cashfree, and he and his co-founder are excited about growing their business there an increasing number of remote areas are becoming digitally literate.

Cashfree processed transactions worth $12 billion in FY20, up 25 percent monthly. It aims to hit $30 billion in the total value of transactions processed by the end of the calendar year 2021.

In terms of revenue, the startup said it has been growing at 30x over two years, and close to 100x in the past three years.

Edited by Kanishk Singh