FreeCharge raises $33 mln Series B

FreeCharge has raised $33 million in Series B funding from Sequoia Capital, Sofina and RuNet. Freecharge is building an advertising platform that captures online and offline purchase behavior and brand preferences of consumers.

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FreeCharge, India’s leading online platform for recharge, utility payments, promotions and couponing, has raised 33 million USD in Series B funding from Sequoia Capital, Sofina and RuNet. Freecharge is building an advertising platform that captures online and offline purchase behavior and brand preferences of consumers, by offering incentives and coupons to users to transact on its platform.

The company is witnessing rapid growth. Mobile transactions on the Freecharge app have grown ~30x since the beginning of 2014, and the company has more than 10 million registered users. FreeCharge also recently acquired Preburn, in addition to Wishberg, its first acquisition.

Shailendra Singh, Managing Director of Sequoia Capital India Advisors Pvt. Ltd., said “Freecharge is creating a unique new category, an advertising platform with the “consumption graph” for the most valuable online consumers. We are very impressed with the team’s execution and the rapid growth and engagement of users on the platform.”

Galina Chifina, Investment Officer at ruNet, speaking about the funding, said, “Freecharge is one of the most exciting companies in our Indian portfolio with a highly innovative business model that has global appeal and scalability. We are happy to participate in the new round to support the new initiatives the company has embarked upon. The team has done an awesome job to position Freecharge among the leaders of the mobile recharge/payment and data analysis market in India and we believe the new round will help the company to grow even faster”

Alok Goel, CEO of FreeCharge, speaking about the Series B round of funding, said, “We have been able to assemble one of the best start-up teams in the country and are leading the mobile internet revolution in India. 70% of our transactions come from mobile platforms and we are growing more than 400% year on year.”

Kunal Shah, Co-Founder, FreeCharge, speaking about the development said, “We are innovating at breakneck pace in the mobile app ecosystem and this round of funding will go a long way in establishing FreeCharge as a household brand in the country”.

Sandeep Tandon, Co-Founder, FreeCharge, speaking about the development said, “In addition to the confidence shown by the investors we are most excited about our team. We have assembled a truly a world class team with the best of Technology and business innovation. I am just delighted that we will be on this journey together”.
The company has added Gokul Rajaram, Koh Boon Hwee, Dhiraj Rajaram to its board of advisors. Each of these advisors are visionaries and industry leaders.

Gokul Rajaram is known as father of Google AdSense, Ex Head of Monetization Product for Facebook and currently Head of Product at Square, said, “FreeCharge has built a unique and innovative advertising platform that’s great for both consumers and advertisers. My experiences building ad systems at Google and Facebook have shown me that next-generation ad platforms need to deliver value on both sides of the equation, and FreeCharge does this in an elegant and powerful way.”

Dhiraj Rajaram CEO of muSigma said “I was amazed at the way FreeCharge is building innovative marketing solutions. Data is the fundamental building block on which next wave of solid businesses will be built. FreeCharge has huge potential to be pioneer in this space”

Koh Boon Hwee, speaking about the development said, “The FreeCharge business model is absolutely a novelty. It has not been tried anywhere else in the world. The model builds on top of a massive telecom consumer base and can certainly be replicated by the freecharge team in various other countries and continents”.

FreeCharge is an exclusive online promotions partner for several well known brands. Amit Jatia, Vice Chairman, Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt Ltd (McDonald’s India – West & South), who’s restaurants use the Freecharge platform said, “ FreeCharge provides us with a unique value proposition for driving promotions. They have been able to drive a significant number of customers from the online world into our restaurants with a performance tracking that is at par with online digital advertising.”

About FreeCharge:
FreeCharge is an online mobile recharge site which provides prepaid mobile recharge for almost all Indian telecom service providers including Vodafone, Airtel, Loop, Reliance, Idea, DOCOMO, Tata Indicom, S-Tel, Aircel, BSNL and more. FreeCharge is special because users have the power to make the recharge free.
FreeCharge doesn’t just makes the process of recharging convenient, it also makes it rewarding, by way of discount coupons. For every recharge done on FreeCharge, the company gives customers discount coupons from top food joints and popular retailers, equivalent to your recharge amount, delivered to their mobile, inbox or even doorstep. These coupons can be used to save money when customers eat out, watch movies, book travel tickets, shop online, visit a salon, go gaming, pick up books, music, groceries, and live a rewarding life!
For more details, please visit https://www.freecharge.in/

About Sequoia Capital
Sequoia Capital in India currently manages funds capitalized at close to USD 2 billion and invests across seed, venture, and growth stage opportunities. It takes a long-term view on investments and plays the role of an active, value-added partner to entrepreneurs, business families and management teams. Over the past 8 years, Sequoia Capital has invested in more than 75 companies in India including Capillary Technologies, Druva Software, Justdial, Micromax, Mu Sigma, Pine Labs, Practo, Prizm Payments, Quick Heal, Truecaller and Zomato. Sequoia Capital operates out of offices in Bangalore, Mumbai, and New Delhi.
Globally, Sequoia Capital has an unparalleled track record of partnering with entrepreneurs to create global market leaders. Sequoia Capital has been an early investor in companies such as Apple, Cisco, Dropbox, Google, LinkedIn, Oracle, Yahoo, YouTube and Zappos. Sequoia Capital maintains dedicated teams in USA, China, India and Israel.
For more information, please visit:www.sequoiacap.com
About Sofina:
Sofina is a Belgium-based investment company listed on the Brussels stock exchange and a supportive partner of entrepreneurs and families managing growing companies. Sofina invests both directly and through Private Equity funds. Its geographical scope is Europe, the United States, and more recently, Asia (www.sofina.be).
About Ru-Net:
Ru-Net is a Russian based venture fund investing globally in the leading companies in customer and technology space with a focus on e-commerce, marketplaces, platforms, SAAS and big data. Started in 2000 and making the name with early investments in OZON (largest horizontal e-commerce in Russia) and Yandex (leading Russian search engine) Ru-Net now invests out of the third 700 mln. USD fund and has a portfolio of more than 40 companies spanning across Russia, Europe, Turkey, India, USA and South East Asia.
About Dhiraj Rajaram:
Dhiraj Rajaram is the founder, chairman and ceo of Mu Sigma. He is responsible for the organization’s vision and strategic direction, building teams, aligning organizational resources to a customer centric vision and delivering profitable growth. Dhiraj has built Mu Sigma from ground up, during which time he executed activities that included raising seed and growth capital for the venture, securing key Fortune 100 customers, incubating a delivery unit and hiring key leadership members.

About Koh Book Hwee:
A distinguished corporate leader and entrepreneur, Boon Hwee is the founding partner of Credence Private Equity. Concurrently, Boon Hwee is a member of Agilent Technologies Inc, Chairman of AAC Technologies, Yeo Hiap Seng Limited, and Sunningdale Tech Limited.
Boon Hwee previously had been Chairman of Singapore Telecom Group (“SingTel”), Singapore Airlines, DBS and a Director pm yje Board of Temasek Holdings.