More than 200 million people in India transact money digitally, but fewer than 30 million invest in mutual funds and stocks.
An Indian startup that is attempting to change this figure by courting millennials announced a new financing round on Wednesday, and turned into the newest unicorn in the world’s second-largest internet market.
Bangalore-based Groww has raised $83 million in its Series D financing round, which valued the Indian startup at more than $1 billion, up from $250 million in a $30 million Series C in September last year.
Tiger Global led the new round, and existing investors Sequoia Capital India, Ribbit Capital, YC Continuity and Propel Venture Partners participated in it, said the four-year-old Indian startup, which has raised $142 million to date.
On a side note, Groww is the eighth Indian startup to attain the unicorn status this year — and fourth this week. Social commerce Meesho turned a unicorn on Monday, fintech firm CRED on Tuesday and earlier today e-pharmacy firm PharmEasy announced a new financing round that valued the firm at about $1.5 billion.
Groww allows users to invest in mutual funds, including systematic investment planning (SIP) and equity-linked savings, gold, as well as stocks, including those listed at U.S. exchanges. The app offers every fund that is currently available in India.
The startup has amassed over 15 million registered users, two-thirds of whom are first-time investors, Lalit Keshre, co-founder and chief executive of Groww, told TechCrunch in an interview.
Keshre said the startup — co-founded by four former Flipkart executives, including Harsh Jain, Neeraj Singh and Ishan Bansal — will deploy the fresh funds to accelerate its growth and hire more talent. “We now have the fuel for longer-term thinking and faster growth,” he said.
More than 60% of Groww users come from smaller cities and towns of India and 60% of these have never made such investments before, said Keshre. The startup said it has conducted workshops in several small cities to educate people about the investment world.
The coronavirus pandemic has also accelerated the startup’s growth as youngsters explore new hobbies. The startup competes with a handful of firms, including Zerodha, Paytm Money, Upstox, ET Money, Smallcase and traditional firms.
“We started Groww almost five years back to make investing accessible and transparent to everyone in India. We have made good progress, but it feels we have just got started,” said Keshre.