FreeCharge, an Indian online platform for recharge, payments and couponing, has raised US$33 million in Series B funding from existing investor Sequoia Capital, with participation from Belgium-based investment company Sofina and Russian VC firm ru-Net.
The funds will be used to build a transactional advertising platform for India and emerging markets. The platform captures online and offline purchase behaviour and brand preferences of consumers by offering incentives and coupons to users to transact on its platform.
Shailendra Singh, Managing Director of Sequoia Capital India Advisors said, “Freecharge is creating a unique new category, an advertising platform with the ‘consumption graph’ for the most valuable online consumers. We are very impressed with the team’s execution and the rapid growth and engagement of users on the platform.”
FreeCharge gives customers discount coupons from various merchants, equivalent to the recharge amount which will be delivered to their mobile phones, inbox or at their doorsteps. These coupons can be used to save money when they eat out, watch movies, book travel tickets, shop online, visit a salon, go gaming, and pick up books, music and groceries.
The firm has partnered with various telecom companies including Vodafone, Airtel, Loop, Reliance, Idea, DOCOMO, Tata Indicom, S-Tel, Aircel, BSNL and more.
The company had earlier raised US$3M (INR 20 crore) in funding from Sequoia in January 2012.
“The team has done an awesome job to position FreeCharge among the leaders of the mobile recharge/payment and data analysis market in India, and we believe the new round will help the company to grow even faster,” said Galina Chifina, Investment Officer at ru-Net.
According to Alok Goel, CEO, FreeCharge, 70 per cent of the transactions come from mobile platforms, and the firm is growing more than 400 per cent year on year.
Recently, FreeCharge also acquired Preburn, a startup that aims to distribute applications through mobile retail stores.
MobiKwik and Paytm are other online platforms that allow mobile recharge.
FreeCharge is a business unit of Accelyst Solutions. It is an e-commerce site which service is to give users coupons for charging their mobile plans.
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