SBI-backed fintech start-up, Cashfree Payments, is gearing up for global expansion, and plans to reach 15-18 countries over the next two years, said its co-founder and CEO, Akash Sinha.
The start-up is taking the merger and acquisition route, which will also help it navigate and comply with the regulatory requirements for providing fintech services across geographies.
In November last year, Cashfree Payments had acquired a majority stake in UAE-based payments gateway company, Telr, for around $15 million. Telr, too, has been managing payments across several countries and languages. As of now, in calendar year 2022, Cashfree will acquire 2-3 more start-ups.
Speaking to BusinessLine, Sinha said: “We are one of the very few payments company that has gone international. We have recently acquired a payments company in the Middle East and will becoming the number one payments company there very soon.”
He added: “The global expansion is one of the big areas, where we see a lot of growth coming in for the company. I believe India is still ahead in the fintech game and whatever insights we have learned and gathered from here could be implemented in the emerging markets like Middle East, North Africa and the South-East Asia. We will be in 15-18 countries over the next two years.”
Sinha declined to comment on specific details around funds earmarked for M&As and average valuation of start-ups Cashfree is looking to acquire.
Founded by Sinha and Reeju Dutta in 2015, Cashfree processes transactions worth $20 billion annually. It claims to have more than 50 per cent market share among payment processors.
Cashfree Payments enables over 1,00,000 businesses with payment collections, vendor payouts, wage payouts, bulk refunds, expense reimbursements, loyalty and rewards. Beyond India, its products are used in eight other countries, including the USA, Canada and UAE.
The company raised $35.3 million in Series B funding round in 2021 from Apis Partners and State Bank of India (SBI) at a valuation of $200 million. According to media reports, the company is in talks to raise fresh capital at a unicorn valuation of $1.3 billion. It is also backed by Y Combinator and PayPal. Sinha said the fund-raising is still in the process and yet to close.
Cashfree recently launched its ‘banking-as-a-service’ offering, which piloted in October last year. It is targeted at neo banks and fintech businesses, which could easily provide banking services in a plug-and-play manner without the heavy work needed in the back-end.
Sinha said: “We launched our Banking-as-a-service offering (Baas) a few months back, the offering was to build a bouquet of Fintech APIs to help empower businesses. Through BaaS, we aim to help Banks, neo-banks and fintech platforms to quickly integrate banking services into their product and also leverage the integrations to serve customers, without the need to invest additional resources in technological developments, thus providing significant cost-saving.”