SoftBank-backed True Balance raises $23 mn in fresh funding

Gurugram-based Balancehero India Pvt. Ltd, which operates mobile balance-checking app True Balance, has raised $23 million (Rs 150 crore) in a Series B2 funding round from a clutch of investors.

Line Ventures Corporation, the venture capital arm of mobile messaging firm WhatsApp's Japanese rival Line Corp, as well as its South Korean affiliate Naver were among the investors, True Balance said in a statement. South Korean lender Shinhan Bank and TS Investment were among the other investors.

The round takes the total the company has raised so far to $42 million, True Balance said.

True Balance plans to use the funds to expand its team and offer new products such as utility bill payments and micro loan services to its customers in India.

In its Series B round last year, True Balance had raised $15 million.

The round was led by SoftBank Ventures Korea. IMM Investment Group, Mega Investment, Korea Development Bank and Capston Partners also invested in that round.

True Balance had raised its Series A funding round in March 2016 from SoftBank Ventures.

SoftBank Ventures was established in 2000 as a subsidiary of Japanese Internet and telecom conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp.

The fundraising announcement comes three months after VCCircle reported in January that the company planned to raise Rs 351 crore ($55.2 million) by issuing compulsorily convertible debentures to its Seoul-based parent Balancehero Co. Ltd Korea.

The company's most recent filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs show that the startup received about Rs 45 crore in April from its parent.

True Balance was originally an application to check balance and do quick top-ups for telecom companies. It is now planning to offer multiple payment options as well, including bill payments and recharges, after having received the wallet licence from the Reserve Bank of India.

True Balance was founded in September 2014 by Charlie lee. Lee is an alumnus of the University of Chicago. The company’s India operations were launched in April 2016. The Korean entrepreneur had a previous stint in India when he led the country operations for Internet streaming media delivery firm Real Networks in 2002.

In 2016-17, True Balance clocked gross revenue of Rs 57.73 lakh while income from its core operations stood at Rs 48.52 lakh. Gross expenses stood at Rs 32.66 crore. Consequently, the company registered a net loss of Rs 32.08 crore. Since the India entity was registered on April 28, 2016, the company did not file its financials for 2015-16.

In the mobile wallet segment, True Balance will compete with the likes of Paytm, Mobikwik and Flipkart’s Phonepe, besides Amazon Pay. Market leader Paytm counts SoftBank as its largest investor.

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