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Yuri Milner in talks to invest in Rupeek

Saransh Pandey

Intern
  • December 29, 2020
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    The investment will take the value of Rupeek at up to $600 million (Rs 4,395 crore).

Yuri Milner, chief of global technology fund DST Global, is in advanced talks to invest in gold-loans startup Rupeek, which will nearly double its valuation in less than a year, according to reports. According to reports Milner, along with other partners of DST Global will invest in a round of about $45 million (Rs 330 crore). 

The investment will take the value of Rupeek at up to $600 million (Rs 4,395 crore). As part of the round, two new funds—Vostok Emerging Finance and HighSage Ventures—will also come in even as existing investor GGV Capital shall double down on the company. Vostok is a fintech-focused emerging market investor, while HighSage is a Boston-based public and private market investor. 

Founded by Sumit Maniyar in 2015, Rupeek is the largest player in the digital gold loans space and disburses about Rs 450 crore a month compared to Rs 20 crore a year ago. It was valued at $300 million in February 2020 when Flipkart cofounder Binny Bansal led a $60-million round with GGV Capital and early backers Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners, and Bertelsmann India Investments. 

The round is also likely to include an ESOP (Employee Stock Option Plan) buyback of about $5 million, giving early employees a windfall on their shares. Rupeek is also in talks to partner with State Bank of India, the country’s largest lender, as per the latest reports. At present, it partners primarily with Karur Vysya Bank and Federal Bank. 

The lending environment has been hit badly by the pandemic but gold loans are secure by nature and hence a safer bet, investors say. DST Global and Milner have been active in India over the last few months. DST is exclusively a late-stage investor and has backed online learning firm Byju's and car portal Cars24 this year. Milner led an $80- million round in credit-card repayment app Cred. 

The deal would also cap a healthy year for startup fundraising despite the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data from Venture Intelligence, Indian startups have raised $10.6 billion this year compared to $12.5 billion the previous year. 

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