Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is in the advanced stages of discussions to lead a USD 250 million Series D round in neo-banking platform Zeta at a valuation of over USD 1 billion.
If the talks go through, the Bengaluru-based startup, which was valued at USD 300 million in 2019, will join the country’s fast-growing unicorn club—those with over a billion-dollar valuation, said a report by TechCrunch, citing two sources.
Founded by serial entrepreneur Bhavin Turakhia, Zeta is a neo-banking platform and a payment engine that enables legacy banks and new-age fintech institutions to roll out modern retail and corporate fintech products.
Zeta, which currently provides its platform and products to BFSI firms in India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, counts RBL Bank, IDFC First Bank, and Kotak Mahindra Bank as clients.
While the company’s foundation was laid in 2015, it took three years for Turakhia and co-founder and CTO Ramki Gaddipatta to launch the first use case. The platform now has a suite of products that allows fintech firms to “instantly access a pre-integrated banking ecosystem, which includes access to banks, card networks and manufacturers, payment networks, and many more such services critical to building financial products,” Turakhia explained in an interview in January 2020.
Last year, the company entered Southeast Asian markets including Philippines and Vietnam.
In less than four months this year, 11 startups have become unicorns. To put things into perspective, India added the same number of unicorns last year. Of these 11 startups, six companies became unicorn within a span of four days, raising a total of USD 1.55 billion of venture capital.
This included SoftBank leading a USD 300 million round in social commerce startup Meesho, elevating the valuation of the five-year-old startup to USD 2.1 billion from USD 600 to 700 million in 2019. Meanwhile, Tiger Global infused capital in four startups—enterprise messaging platform Gupshup, fintech player Cred, wealth tech platform Groww, and social networking firm ShareChat at a valuation of over a billion dollar.