Mobile wallet and eCommerce marketplace Paytm continues fund startups, and this time it has invested an undisclosed amount of funding in two companies – AbhiBus and ClearTax. However, the official announcement is still undisclosed by both the firms.
AbhiBus is a bus ticketing platform which recently launched its own wallet Abhicash, but that service has been closed. Paytm itself also offers a bus ticketing service and this investment may be related with a backward integration or even a possible acquisition in the future.
AbhiBus had previously partnered with Paytm’s competitor JustRechargeIt.com, an online platform for mobile, data card and DTH recharges. The company had raised funding from promoters of BS Ltd. and earlier this year, it had announced the name of Kotak Mahindra Capital to scout for private funding. It was looking for $40 million in funding. Out of this, the firm was looking to raise $10 million this year and the rest over the next two years.
In this space, AbhiBus is directly competing with player like redBus, that was acquired by Naspers, a South African based multinational media group for $138 million in June 2013.
ClearTax is a income tax filing website that was founded in 2011 by father-son duo of Archit and Raja Ram Gupta, along with Ankit Solanki and Srivatsan Chari. In 2014, it had secured $120,000 in funding from Silicon Valley-based startup accelerator Y Combinator (YC). It also offers a cloud platform for Chartered Accountants and tax professionals in India along with allowing people to file their tax returns. Other online ventures such as Taxsmile and Taxspanner are also operating in the same space.
Prior to these investments, Paytm has had a business partnership with both the companies. It had recently invested in Gadgets 360°, an NDTV eCommerce venture, logistics data analytics firm LogiNext, and hyperlocal on-demand multi-service provider Jugnoo. In July 2015, Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma had made an investment of undisclosed amount in fitness tracker startup GOQii Technologies.
Paytm which is backed by Ant Financial and Alibaba Group, is facing direct competition from other eCommerce firms like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon. The company has evolved from a recharge and payments firm to a mobile first marketplace, with its Wallet being the leading product. It has received a banking license from RBI and will soon launch financial services too. Clearly the company is now further evolving its service portfolio through the investments and acquisitions it is making.