Xiaomi increases investment in India after confirming $13.4mn deal for ZestMoney
The Beijing-based consumer electronics company, Xiaomi, has confirmed it has increased its investment in India after announcing a $13.4mn round for ZestMoney.
The move comes after the firm previously revealed it would invest $1bn in India and Indian startups over the next five years after Xiaomi agreed its first deal with lending platform, KrazyBee.
ZestMoney was first created by Lizzie Chapman, who after first moving to India in 2011 to take control of Wonga, co-found ZestMoney four years later along with Ashish Anantharaman and Priya Sharma.
Established in 2015, the company aims to prioritise a friendlier customer experience than other payday loan companies.
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Due to other payday loan firms receiving criticism for a business model that profits most when customers pay late or skip payments entirely, ZestMoney believe in operating with the consumer in mind and monetize when customers pay back their loans as well as offering much friendlier terms.
The news comes after Xiaomi announced plans to sell more premium smartphones in China due to an increasing demand.
Speaking to CNBC, Xiaomi's Chief Financial Officer, Chew Shou Zi, believes the plan, which was made a year ago, has been a good move.
Mr Chew said: “We believe that for this year, our strategic focus is to strengthen our position in the mid and high-tier market.”
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.