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India’s BharatPe Nears Unicorn Status; A Look at Fintech in MENA

India’s BharatPe Nears Unicorn Status; A Look at Fintech in MENA

In a Series D round led by existing investor Coatue Management, Indian financial services company BharatPe has secured $108 million in new funding. The investment, which also included participation from all of the firm’s current institutional investors, boosts the company’s total to $268 million and gives BharatPe a valuation of $900 million.

The company highlighted that the oversubscribed round in its statement was “one of the fastest round closures for any startup in India.” But the company’s co-founder and CEO Ashneer Grover was quick to underscore what part of the news deserved the most attention. “We, at BharatPe, do not celebrate fund raises – it is akin to procuring raw material. We are super excited though to have returned INR 125 crores of capital to angels and all ESOP holders, earning them one of the highest returns on investment.”

Grover added that the company has experienced 5x growth in its payments business and 10x growth in its lending business in the last 12 months. “This growth reiterates the trust that the small merchants and kirana store owners have showed in us.” He said BharatPe remains committed to the goal of building “India’s largest B2B financial services company” and a “one-stop destination for small merchants.”

Founded in 2018, BharatPe was launched to bring better financing and payments services to Indian SMEs. The company was the first to offer a UPI interoperable QR code, first to offer a ZERO MDR payment acceptance service, and first to provide a UPI payment backed merchant cash advance service. More than five million merchants rely on BharatPe’s platform, which handles an annualized total payment volume of $7 billion.

For this week’s FinovateGlobal Reports, we turn to a 2021 forecast of fintech in the Middle East published by Finextra earlier this month. The report features contributions from a number of sources, including S&P Global, Findexable and its Global Fintech Index, the WEF Global Competitive Report, as well as a 2019 analyst overview published by Clifford Chance, Fintech in the Middle East – Developments Across MENA.

“Fintech continues to transform the delivery of financial services across the region and remains high on the agenda of industry participants and governments seeking to develop and modernize and, for GCC governments, to diversity from natural resources,” the report noted. Among the key takeaways on a region that (according to Accenture) is expected to see its fintech market grow to $2.5 billion in value by 2022 are:

  • Public and public institutions are helping reinforce a “collaborative approach to fintech.”
  • Regional leadership in fintech remains seated in the UAE “both in respect of the number of participants and forward-thinking approaches.”
  • Wariness toward cryptocurrencies and digital assets remains even as some regions, such as Dubai, have begun to “embrace blockchain” technology.
  • Embedded fintech products into governmental services and banking have improved efficiencies and increased opportunities for fintech innovation.

Read the full report.

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe

Middle East and Northern Africa

Central and Southern Asia

Latin America and the Caribbean


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