SoftBank-backed True Balance pivots, launches mobile wallet
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Gurgaon-based Balancehero India Pvt. Ltd, which operates mobile balance checking app True Balance, has entered the fintech services segment with the launch of a mobile wallet.

The rollout of the mobile wallet and the peer-to-peer transfer services is an indication of a pivot from the core business model, the company said in a statement.

True Balance CEO Charlie Lee said the launch of the mobile wallet is intrinsic to the company’s strategy to engage more with users and increase revenue.

The move comes after the company acquired a licence to issue pre-paid instruments in July. According to information available on the Reserve Bank of India’s website, the licence is valid till 30 September 2019.

True Balance was launched in September 2014 by Lee, an alumnus of the University of Chicago. The Korean entrepreneur came to India in 2002 and led the India business for Real Networks, an Internet streaming media delivery service.

In March 2016, SoftBank Ventures Korea had invested an undisclosed amount in the company as part of its Series A round. SoftBank Ventures Korea was established in 2000 as a subsidiary of Japanese internet and telecom conglomerate SoftBank Group.

In February this year, True Balance raised $15 million in a Series B round led by SoftBank. MM Investment Group and South Korean investors Mega Investment, Korea Development Bank and Capston Partners also invested.

The True Balance app allows prepaid Android smartphone users to check their mobile and data balance, without an Internet connection. It also offers a recharge service. Besides, it provides features that include managing phone bills, allows users to know their data consumption, mobile balance and next due recharge date with just a swipe.

As of November 2017, the company claimed that its Android app had recorded more than 50 million downloads on the Google Play Store.

In the mobile wallet segment, True Balance will compete with the likes Paytm and Mobikwik, which too started off as mobile recharge platforms. Both Paytm and Mobikwik have broadened the scope of their offerings that now include bill payments, booking travel and movie tickets, and payments to online and offline commerce platforms.

Market leader Paytm has also launched a payments bank as well as an e-commerce site, Paytm Mall. Paytm, which counts SoftBank as its largest investor, had raised $1.4 billion in May.

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