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Walmart invests $200 million in Indian mobile payments giant PhonePe

PhonePe has raised another $200 million as part of an ongoing round, a deliberation that has now helped it raise $650 million in recent weeks despite the market slump as the Indian fintech giant replenishes its war chest after the recent divorce from parent company Flipkart.

Walmart, the majority owner of PhonePe, has invested $200 million in the startup. The ongoing round values ​​Bengaluru-based PhonePe at a pre-money valuation of $12 billion. PhonePe has previously said it plans to raise up to $1 billion as part of its ongoing funding round.

“We are excited about the future of PhonePe and confident in how it continues to expand its offerings and provide widespread access to financial services for Indians. India is one of the world’s most digital, dynamic and fastest growing economies and we are pleased to continue to support PhonePe,” Judith McKenna, President and CEO of Walmart International, said in a statement.

With a valuation of $12 billion, PhonePe is India’s most valuable fintech startup. It competes with Google Pay and Paytm. Paytm, which expects to reach $1 billion in revenue by March this year, is currently valued at less than $5 billion.

PhonePe dominates transactions on UPI, a network built by a coalition of retail banks in India. UPI is the most popular way Indians transact online — processing more than 8 billion transactions per month.

The seven-year-old PhonePe manages about 50% of all these transactions, and it’s not slowing down. PhonePe said last week it was on track to process $1 trillion in transactions on an annual basis. Walmart, which also owns a majority stake in e-commerce giant Flipkart, said last month that the separation of Flipkart and PhonePe was “very analogous to eBay and PayPal, where each of them can pursue their own initiatives independently.”

One concern for PhonePe’s growth was that the Indian regulator monitored the market capitalization of each participating player, but the recent extension of the deadline to 2025 has paved the way for another two years of rapid growth for the startup. (Google’s GPay and PhonePe currently handle more than 80% of all UPI transactions.)

PhonePe is also slowly becoming a distribution engine, leveraging its large user base of 300 million to cross-sell products such as insurance. The startup said it plans to use the funds to also build and scale businesses in asset management, lending, stock brokerage, ONDC-based stores and account aggregators.

Industry experts think PhonePe’s endgame could be to become a bank, which they say justifies its high valuation. PhonePe posted revenue of $234.3 million in the first nine months of 2022.

The company expects revenue of $325 million for calendar year 2022 and $504 million for 2023, according to a valuation report prepared by accounting firm KPMG and filed by PhonePe in January.

The startup does not expect EBIDTA to turn positive, a key measure of profitability, until calendar year 2025, KMPG wrote in its valuation report. PhonePe’s financials and statistics from the valuation report have not been previously reported.

“We would like to thank Walmart, our majority investor, for their continued support of our long-term ambitions. We are excited about the next phase of our growth as we build new offerings for Indian consumers and merchants along with enabling financial inclusion across the country,” said Sameer Nigam, co-founder and CEO of PhonePe. a statement.

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