Cashfree Payments expands to MENA via $15M investment in UAE and Saudi Arabian payment service provider, Telr

Through the investment, Cashfree will become a majority shareholder in Telr. The startup told YourStory it is also "open to acquisitions in India" and is currently looking for the right opportunities.
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Fintech startup Cashfree Payments said it has acquired a majority stake worth $15 million in UAE and Saudi Arabia-based digital payments service provider Telr as part of its plans to expand internationally.

The deal will help payments and API banking solutions provider Cashfree to extend its services to users in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, via Telr's platform.

The startup added it intends to work with Telr to develop a unified cross-border payments platform that would help Indian merchants accept payments from the Middle East and North Africa region, and vice-versa.

"Our experiences at home serve us with good reasoning that our products would be successful in similar emerging markets," Akash Sinha, Co-founder and CEO of Cashfree Payments, told YourStory in an interaction.

"Our ventures abroad are focussed on capitalising opportunities that can serve the purpose of solving problems with the cross border and payments industry in India, and create value propositions for all the stakeholders," he added.

The investment in Telr opens up a crucial market for Cashfree, especially the MENA region, which is witnessing a stark increase in digital payments. Ecommerce has also been gaining momentum in the region, lending credence to the fact that the fintech revolution in MENA is on the up and up - and that makes it an optimum time for the startup to enter the region.

Cashfree founders

Akash told YourStory Cashfree intends to expand to other emerging markets via strategic investments in global or regional players.

"Our target market segments are the ones which have seen an expansion in digitalisation and have the support of local government policies and regulators," he said.

The startup is especially keen to work in regions where there's a need for creative payment solutions and that need help in rapidly adopting digital payments. Akash added that Cashfree is actively looking for the right opportunities in India, and is open to acquisitions to grow and add more offerings to its existing suite of products.

Founded in 2015 by Akash Sinha 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.

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 told YourStory.

The Bengaluru-based startup counts over one lakh merchants on its platform, around 4X more than 12,000 it had in April 2019. It 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.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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