Indian fintech CRED said on Tuesday it has raised $251 million in a new financing round, its third funding this year, at a valuation of $4.01 billion.
Existing investors Tiger Global and Falcon Edge Capital co-led the three year-old Bangalore-based startup’s Series E financing round. Marshall Wace and Steadfast also participated — and so did existing investors DST Global, Insight Partners, Coatue, Sofina, RTP, and Dragoneer. The startup was valued at $2.2 billion in an April round this year and $806 million in a round it disclosed in January.
TechCrunch reported last week that CRED had finalized a financing round recently at a pre-money valuation of $3.75 billion. The outlet also reported that the startup has held preliminary talks about a new round, which could value it at about $5.5 billion. A CRED spokesperson said at the time that everything in the story was inaccurate. ($3.75 billion pre-money valuation + $251 million new raise = $4.01 billion post-money valuation.)
CRED helps and rewards people improve their credit score by encouraging them to pay their credit card bills on time. The startup has amassed over 7.5 million members. (India has about 25 million unique credit card users.)
On its app, the startup offers its members access to a range of premium brands. The startup, unlike most others in India, doesn’t focus on the usual TAM of India — hundreds of millions of users of the world’s second-most populated nation — and instead caters to some of the most premium audiences.
“India has 57 million credit cards (vs 830 million debit cards) [that] largely serves the high-end market. The credit card industry is largely concentrated with the top 4 banks (HDFC, SBI, ICICI and Axis) controlling about 70% of the total market. This space is extremely profitable for these banks – as evident from the SBI Cards IPO,” analysts at Bank of America wrote in an earlier report.
“Very few starts-ups like CRED are focusing on this high-end base and [have] taken a platform-based approach (acquire customers now and look for monetization later). Credit card in India remains an aspirational product. The under penetration would likely ensure continued strong growth in coming years. Overtime, the form-factor may evolve (i.e. move from plastic card to virtual card), but the inherent demand for credit is expected to grow,” they added.
The startup didn’t disclose what it plans to do with the new investment. But in recent weeks, TechCrunch has reported, that CRED has held talks to invest in other fintech startups.
CRED recently invested $5 million in CredAvenue, which recently unveiled a $90 million Series A funding, and is in talks to back fintech startup Uni at a valuation of over $300 million, TechCrunch reported.