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Upstox may hit $3 billion valuation in new funding round led by Tiger Global


Bengaluru | Mumbai: Tiger Global, one of the most aggressive backers of Indian startups, is doubling down on the domestic online investment and stock brokerage market.

The New York-based investment fund is in talks to lead a $150-$200 million funding round in Upstox, according to people briefed on the matter. Tiger Global is an existing investor in the company. If the funding round goes through, it will not only make Upstox a unicorn—privately held companies valued at $1 billion or more—but also ascribe it a valuation significantly higher compared to the previous round. Sources privy to the deal details said that the Mumbai-based investing platform may fetch a $3 billion valuation.

Bengaluru-based Groww, which is also backed by Tiger Global, saw its valuation treble in six months to $3 billion
after raising $251 million after a funding round led by Iconiq Growth in October. Earlier in April,
Tiger Global had led an $83 million financing in Groww, taking the Y Combinator alumnus into the ever growing unicorn club in India this year. INDmoney, an online wealth management firm, started by Ashish Kashyap—who co-founded travel portal Goibibo—also counts Tiger Global as one of its main investors.

“Tiger is making a significant bet on Upstox, with the new funding round as an indication of its bullishness on the sector,” a person aware of the matter said. The New York-based fund has taken multiple bets in a particular sector across competing firms.

In 2019, Upstox
raised $25 million in a Series B funding round that was led by Tiger. The US fund holds 31% in the firm. Prior to that, Upstox had raised $4 million in early 2016 in a funding round that was led by Kalaari Capital.

As part of the ongoing discussions, Upstox—which offers online stock market investment services, advisory services, mutual fund investments—may also see some of its early backers make a partial exit from the firm, according to sources.

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Owned by Upstox RKSV, the company competes with online investment platforms like Groww, Zerodha, Paytm Money, Smallcase and Times Internet-owned ET Money. Times Internet is part of the Times Group which also publishes The Economic Times.

Platforms like Upstox, Groww are seeing user growth largely due to new-age, young retail investors who are coming online for their first investments and savings needs.

“The company is betting big on the robo-advisory and the gamification of investing models and is attracting investor interest for the same,” said one of the persons with knowledge of the company’s plans.

When contacted, a spokesperson of Upstox declined to comment while an email sent to Tiger Global did not elicit a response.

Upstox was considering a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) listing in the US but those plans did not work out. In a statement issued earlier this month, the company’s cofounder Shrini Viswanath said they were optimistic that the company will close FY22 with 10 million customers, up from the current customer base of over 6.5 million. Earlier this year, it
appointed former Amazon executive, Thippesha Dyamappa, as its chief technology officer.

Venture fund Kalaari Capital, Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata are among the other investors in Upstox.

The company was cofounded by Ravi Kumar, Raghu Kumar, Shrinivas Viswanath, Viswanath Krishnan, Revathy Viswanath and Shyam Viswanath, according to Tracxn data. Raghu Kumar left the startup in 2019 to launch Rain Platforms in January this year. He still holds about 17.3% in the firm, the Tracxn data showed. Ravi Kumar owns 16.7% in the firm, as of March 2020, according to Tracxn.

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