India’s Paytm, which operates an e-commerce platform as well as a payments platform allowing users to create online and mobile digital wallets, has drawn $60 million in funding from the investment arm of Taiwan semiconductor company Mediatek. Paytm plans to use the money to launch a digital bank, among other projects.
The new funding, made at a full valuation of more than $4.8 billion, reportedly is connected to an ongoing funding round that may total about $300 million, and Paytm told TechCrunch the company has raised $760 million overall to date.
Paytm has been in business for six years under the supervision of parent company One 97, but the latter has been forced by regulatory requirements to restructure, splitting Paytm’s payments and financial services business into one entity and its e-commerce sales platform into a second.
Witness the rise of another alternative payments giant (potentially, at least). With a pile of cash in hand and dual platform strengths in e-commerce and payments — and with banking still apparently to come — Paytm and its parent company sound like something close to the Indian version of Chinese e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba.
It should come as no surprise then that Alibaba is one of Paytm's existing investors through its Ant financial services unit, and may also be involved in the ongoing funding round as well.
As Paytm seeks to grow, it may have some unique market conditions in its favor, as its payment technology is emerging amid the confluence of rapidly growing mobile adoption in India, home to an improving economy, flourishing e-commerce competition and growth and yet very low adoption of payment cards — 21 million cards in a country of more than a billion people. All of this means that Paytm could see massive, fairly unfettered growth in the years to come in all three of its venture segments: E-commerce marketplace, payments platform and bank.
Paytm isn't the only payments game going in India. Ezetap is another, and PayPal has been in India for some time, though reportedly regulatory restrictions have kept it from expanding. Finally, Apple has talked about bringing Apple Pay to India, though it still seems more focused on the U.S. and Europe for now.
But Paytm has a definite window of opportunity, some market leverage and the right market conditions to grow, and it sounds like it certainly will not be hurting for funding to help realize its visions.