International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private investment arm of the World Bank, is investing up to $5 million in Suvidhaa Infoserve Pvt Ltd, a retail services aggregator which offers railway and air ticketing, mobile recharge and bill payment services in urban, semi-urban and rural locations in India.
IFC will make a final call on this investment after its board meeting to be held on April 15, 2010, according to information available on IFC website. A VCCircle mail sent to Suvidhaa asking details says, “We have no comments to offer in this regard at this stage.”
Suvidhaa is raising its series B round. It had earlier raised an undisclosed sum from Norwest Venture Partners India (NVP India) & Reliance Technology Ventures in its first round in April-May 2008. The company plans to utilise the fund across product development, marketing and brand building.
Early this year, Paresh Rajde, founder MD and CEO, Suvidhaa, told VCCircle that the company was very aggressive on fund raising.
Suvidhaa has created a network of 18,000 outlets comprising mom-and-pop or kirana stores across 450 towns in India. It currently has a strong presence in the north, west and the southern states of India, and a considerable presence in Kolkata and West Bengal.
Rajde claims that the company is growing at almost 1,000-1100% month-on-month, and expects that by the end of 2010, there will be around 25,000 outlets across India.
In a recent development, the government has allowed the company to set up around 70,000 community service centres (CSCs) across 4.2 lakh villages in rural India. Through these CSCs, the Government will extend all government to consumer (G2C) and business to consumer (B2C) services to the people in village level. Apart from bill payments and railway ticketing, the government is also working on adding new services in Suvidhaa, such as issuing birth certificates, death certificates, land records etc.
Suvidha has already opened some CSCs in select locations, and is offering all B2C services available in its platform. Rajde says, G2C services will be added later once the government policies are in place.
The company is targeting profit zone in fiscal 2011-12, and plans to hit the capital market for IPO during 2013-14.
Some recent investments of IFC include Auro Mira Energy Company Private Ltd (AME), Bhilwara Energy Ltd and Azure Power.