Paytm, an Indian fintech startup, has borrowed INR300Cr (US$44.7mn) from ICICI Bank.
The loan is in two tranches and will be used to supply the online payments and e-commerce platform with working capital. It marks a continuation of a very recent trend in which perceived trade finance disrupters have been ploughing the main banking channels for finance.
Last week, e-commerce platform Flipkart borrowed the equivalent of US$67mn from HDFC, another Indian bank. Flipkart provided fixed deposits as security, having previously tapped the market to borrow from Deutsche Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank.
The Indian fintech start-up sector is a cause for optimism in the country, with some viewing it, along with infrastructure, as the only area for real optimism after a difficult couple of years’ trading.
However, there have been reports in recent weeks that some of the major success stories to date have run into financial difficulties of late.
Flipkart was founded in 2007 and has held acquisition talks with Amazon, reportedly, but has also allegedly approached Alibaba for finance, having had its valuation cut from US$15bn to US$11bn by Morgan Stanley analysts.
Its major shareholder, Accel, was reported in December to have sold US$100mn in shares to the Qatar Investment Authority.
Paytm is another of the primary upstarts in the Indian fintech revolution. In 2015, it received a licence from the Reserve Bank of India, India’s central bank, to become the country’s first payments bank. It now allows users to – along with making payments – hold debit cards, savings accounts, online banking accounts and to make transfers online, in a completely cashless environment.
Speaking on the receipt of the loan from ICICI, Paytm’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma says: “This is a treasury management move for working capital. While adequate funds are there, it is advised by our finance teams to get these credit lines for working capital on the back of security, such as FDs [fixed deposits], mutual funds, etc, in order to conserve cash.”