Paytm, which claims to be India’s leading mobile payment platform, has acquired local services startup Near.in for $2 million to strengthen its online-to-offline commerce strategy. Founded in December 2014, Near.in’s website and app connects users in four cities (Delhi, Gurgaon, Bengaluru, and Mumbai) with a wide array of verified businesses ranging from home repair to fortune tellers.
Based in New Delhi, Paytm has raised about $700 million in funding so far from investors including Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. The company claims it already processes more than 100 million online transactions a month, but it’s also been busy building new verticals.
In the past two months, Paytm has invested in Jugnoo, a startup that uses rickshaws to make deliveries from local businesses, and announced partnerships with BookMyShow and Zomato to offer services like food deliveries, restaurant reservations, and movie tickets. Before that, it also led a $50 million round in Little, a startup that helps people find deals at brick-and-mortar businesses near them.
Near.in is just one of a host of hyperlocal services startups that have launched in India over the last year to let users in large cities find special offers or book services from nearby stores and restaurants. Some of its closest competitors include UrbanClap (which counts SAIF Partners and Accel as investors) and LocalOye (backed by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Tiger Global).
As The Economic Times notes, however, funding has been harder to come by for hyperlocal services startups and transactions like Paytm’s acquisition of Near.in may herald further consolidation.