A business unit of Accelyst Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Freecharge.in, a site that allows consumers to recharge their mobile has secured Rs. 20 Cr funding from Sequoia Capital. Freecharge has developed a unique business model and the company has partnerships with more than 50 retailers and has attracted quite a few clones as well in bid to make online shopping popular.
“About 90% of the country is on prepaid service and we are able to bring a lot of users online,” said Kunal Shah, co-founder and chief executive of Accelyst Solutions Pvt. Ltd, the parent company of Freecharge.in. The funds will be used to add new products, add merchants who can use Freecharge to target consumers, and to advertise the service to consumers.
FreeCharge offers many recharge coupons which are usually not available in the market. It enables the user to recharge his/her mobile phone and make it free as for every recharge done on Freecharge, it provides discount coupons of top Indian food joints and retailers, equilavent to the recharge amount. Coupons can be used to save big on purchases in day to day life. Consumers can save money on eat outs, movies, gaming, music, grocery and more.
Shailendra Singh, managing director, Sequoia Capital India, said, “The concept addresses one of the biggest challenges that the e-commerce sector faces today cheap customer acquisition.” India’s online retail market is valued at Rs.2,000 crore and is projected to rise to Rs.7,000 crore by 2015, according to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India. The Internet and Mobile Association of India estimates Internet users at 110 million, growing at 13% overall year-on-year, out of them, only 10-20% buy online.
In 2011, Sequoia Capital deployed $200 million in India. Sequoia, which has about $1.4 billion under management, has invested in several e-commerce companies in India, including Fashionandyou.com, Healthkart.com and Freecultr.com.