Alteria Capital, which was floated by former executives of InnoVen Capital, said it has invested Rs 90 crore (about $12.3 million) in digital payments firm BharatPe in one of the largest venture debt cheques written for an Indian startup.
BharatPe, which is operated by Resilient Innovations Pvt Ltd, aims to raise Rs 250 crore (about $34.1 million) as part of this debt round (which has already seen the participation of Alteria Capital and InnoVen Capital), said Alteria Capital in a statement.
Vinod Murali, managing partner at Alteria Capital, said that this debt round in BharatPe is a sign of the maturity of the Indian ecosystem.
“BharatPe has shown sharp growth and we believe the ability to leverage their extensive small-merchant network to funnel credit is going to play out well in this decade,” he added.
BharatPe was founded in 2018 by Ashneer Grover and Shashvat Nakrani. The company allows customers to track payments in real time, among other things.
BharatPe currently serves over 50 lakh merchants across more than 65 cities. It claims to have processed over 60 million Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions a month with an annualised transaction value of more than $7 billion.
The company also says it has facilitated disbursement of over Rs 800 crore (about $109 million) to merchants since its launch.
The startup has raised capital at a breakneck pace since it began operations. BharatPe raised $75 million in a Series C funding round led by Coatue Management and Ribbit Capital in February last year.
Prior to that, it raised $50 million in its Series B round in August 2019. The round was led by Ribbit Capital and Steadview Capital. Investors such as Sequoia Capital, Beenext and Insight Partners also participated in the round.
The Series B infusion had come just five months after Series A round, through which the firm raised $15.5 million. The startup had previously raised $2 million in seed funding from Sequoia Capital India and Singapore-based Beenext in October 2018.
Last month, Alteria Capital launched its second venture debt fund and roped in two executives from InnoVen Capital to strengthen its top deck.
The new fund, which has received approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), seeks to raise Rs 1,000 crore (about $135.7 million) and has a greenshoe option for another Rs 750 crore (about $102.4 million).
Alteria Capital was founded in 2017 by Murali and Ajay Hattangdi, who were top executives at InnoVen Capital. Its debut fund had a target corpus of Rs 800 crore (about $109 million) with a greenshoe option of another Rs 200 crore (about $27.3 million). It hit the final close at Rs 962 crore (about $131 million) in July 2019.
Alteria Capital has made at least 25 investments so far including Dunzo, Lendingkart and Faasos parent Rebel Foods.
Venture debt has become an integral part of a startup’s funding cycle in India over the past couple of years as it rarely involves stake dilution by founders and provides companies with more time to grow.
Its popularity got a shot in the arm in 2019 as new players entered the nascent industry, older players strengthened their war chest and mature startups such as Bigbasket and Lendingkart pocketed cheques as big as Rs 100 crore (about $13.6 million).
Venture debt can help a startup before a larger equity funding round from a venture capital firm.