By Newley Purnell
NEW DELHI — The parent company of popular Indian mobile-payments startup Paytm said it has secured $1 billion in fresh funds from Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. and China’s Ant Financial Services Group, giving it more firepower in a fast-growing but crowded market.
The investment values the parent company, One97 Communications Ltd., at $16 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter, making it one of Asia’s most valuable startups. The Noida, India-based company makes a smartphone app that allows users to pay for goods and services such as groceries, auto rickshaw rides, movie tickets and electricity bills. It also has an e-commerce platform and offers financial products such as mutual funds and savings accounts.
The investment is a “reaffirmation of our commitment” to provide “new age financial services,” founder and Chief Executive Vijay Shekhar Sharma said in a statement Monday in India.
SoftBank (TKS:JP:9984) and Ant Financial, an affiliate of Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYS:BABA) , are existing investors, while new investors such as Baltimore-based investment-management firm T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. (NAS:TROW) participated in the round, according to Paytm. The company didn’t provide a breakdown for the $1 billion investment, and the amount received from T. Rowe Price wasn’t disclosed.
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