Can Freecharge bounce back?

Freecharge is now ready with a new game plan. The number of profitable unicorns in India is projected to grow from to ~55 in FY27, according to a Redseer report. Online-first, tech-enabled B2B marketplaces are expected to present a $200 billion market opportunity by 2030.

Can Freecharge bounce back?

Tuesday July 18, 2023,

5 min Read


“Kids have it so easy these days,” said Facebook to Threads, probably.

While Mark Zuckerberg’s first social media platform took more than 4 years to gain 100 million users, his latest—Twitter rival Threads—took only 5 days to achieve the same milestone. Take a look at how long it took for top apps to reach 100 million users.

In other news, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar prophesied that the next 4-5 years will witness substantial growth for the startup ecosystem and the number of startups in the country will increase by 10 times.

Meanwhile, Reliance is set to buy Alia Bhatt's kidswear brand Ed-a-Mamma for Rs 300-350 crore, reported The Economic Times. The deal has reached the final stages and is expected to be finalised within the next seven to ten days.

ICYMI: Artificial intelligence has done it again. This time, you can listen to Johnny Cash sing Barbie Girl as the world gears up for the first live-action movie featuring the iconic fashion doll, set to release later this week. 

Speaking of Barbie, even Google is getting in the mood with a new easter egg feature for search results of Barbie, director Greta Gerwig, and actors Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.

The Barbie fever is real, folks.

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Can Freecharge bounce back?
  • Startups pivot towards profit 
  • What’s next for B2B marketplaces?

Here’s your trivia for today: In 1961, Project Gemini became the first crewed spacecraft to include an onboard computer. Which company designed it?


Can Freecharge bounce back?

When Freecharge was acquired by Axis Bank in 2017, it was given a free run as an independent business. However, it was weighed down by aggressive competition, declining valuation, and the burden of housekeeping. 

“The larger agenda for acquiring Freecharge was that it’s a digital payment-first company, far more agile with unique talent, and hence the bank can build business on top of it," Freecharge’s new MD and CEO, Mohit Jain, tells YourStory.

The company is now ready with a new game plan involving relaunching its co-lending platform, a BNPL service, and a payment gateway.

Reviving old ideas:

  • Freecharge launched a co-lending platform for consumers (personal and gold loans) and Freecharge Pay Later+ to meet the short-term capital needs of consumers.
  • The company currently offers a UPI-powered co-branded digital card in partnership with Axis Bank, which it plans to scale up with new features, especially with the RuPay network.
  • It is banking on Axis Bank’s brand name and network for loans and cards, and to push its proposed payment gateway business among enterprises and SMEs. 

Funding Alert

Startup: Redesyn

Amount: Rs 3.5 Cr

Round: Compulsory Convertable Debentures

Startup: ToolJet

Amount: Undisclosed

Round: Equity


Startups pivot towards profit

The number of profitable unicorns in India is projected to grow from ~30 in FY22 to ~55 in FY27, according to a report by Redseer Strategy Consultants. Around 50% of unicorns are expected to become profitable by FY27.

Future prospects:

  • Startups are focusing on expediting their path to profitability and reducing burn rates, said Mohit Rana, Partner at RedSeer Consulting
  • Fintech and financial services, B2B and SaaS, and ecommerce are expected to drive the highest pool of profit in the next 3-4 years.
  • By FY27, profitable unicorns in India could generate 5X the profit they did in FY22. However, ~20% of unicorns are likely to struggle due to regulatory challenges, plummeting demand, and unclear business models.


Online B2B marketplaces' $200B opportunity

Online-first, tech-enabled B2B marketplaces are expected to present a $200 billion market opportunity by 2030, said a report by venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners. However, online B2B GMV will only account for 5% of the overall B2B sales in India.

Fuelling growth: 

  • The key drivers for B2B marketplace growth in India are online penetration, developed digital infrastructure, amenable regulatory policies, and a conducive cross-border environment.
  • Accessibility of online payments and availability of government-backed ecommerce such as ONDC and credit network OCEN will help grow online B2B transactions. 
  • “Enablers for payments, working capital needs, logistics, and others is an interesting opportunity,” said Anant Vidur Puri, Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. 
B2B marketplace

B2B Marketplaces

News & updates

  • Crackdown: The UK markets watchdog said it will update social media guidance to deter “finfluencers” from promoting financial products that harm consumers. The Financial Conduct Authority is consulting on reforms for the next eight weeks and wants to reflect how social media is used.
  • Transparency: Globally agreed rules leave crypto firms with no option but to introduce basic safeguards to prevent the blow-ups seen at FTX exchange and other crypto casualties, the G20's Financial Stability Board said on Monday.
  • Jackpot: India could account for 15% of Apple’s revenue growth and 20% of install growth over the next five years, Morgan Stanley analysts estimated, adding that India could create $40 billion in revenue for the company over the next decade.

In 1961, Project Gemini became the first crewed spacecraft to include an onboard computer. Which company designed it?

Answer: IBM’s Federal Systems Division. It was called the Gemini Guidance Computer.

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