Indian internet companies raise $2 bn: Jefferies

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Unlisted Indian internet companies raised $2 billion dollars through private funding during the first quarter of 2017 as compared to $2.7 billion raised by these companies in 2016, an analyst firm said on Wednesday.

Investment banking firm Jefferies also said there has been a “perceptible rise” in funding into fin-tech companies in the aftermath of demonetisation.

“We estimate that a total of $2 billion of private funding flowed into unlisted Indian internet companies in 1Q 2017 (the first quarter of 2017), marking a reversal of the weak inflows in 2016,” Jefferies said in a research note.

“After a relatively muted 2016 in which private internet companies in India raised $2.7 billion, there has been a sharp surge in funding activity in 1Q2017 with $2 billion raised in the quarter, the second highest after the 3Q2015 (third quarter of 2015),” it said.

According to the report, both Flipkart and Ola raised money at valuations lower than previous rounds which is likely to have helped them raise large rounds.

“Down rounds have likely helped the market clear – media reports suggest both $1 billion raised by Flipkart and $330 million by Ola (accounted for 65 per cent of the total funds raised during the quarter) have happened at lower valuations vs. previous round,” the report said.

Other large fund raisings during the quarter included $200 million by Paytm Mall (e-tailing), $100 million by Delhivery (e-tailing logistics), $57 million by Freecharge (Fin-tech), $55 million by CarTrade (Classifieds) and $55 million by Practo (Healthcare services).

The research note also said “during the quarter over $100 million was raised” across “four fin-tech companies” namely Freecharge (Payments), CCavenues (Payments), Truebalance (Mobile recharge) and CreditMantri (Credit analysis).

The firm expects a consolidation in the e-tailing segment.

“With Alibaba and SAIF Partners infusing $200 million into Paytm Mall, reportedly at a valuation of over $1 billion, there are now at least five large players in horizontal e-tailing in India viz. Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, ShopClues and Paytm Mall.

“In addition, there have also been media reports of Alibaba independently entering the Indian market. We believe this makes consolidation inevitable in the segment,” the report added.


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