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Apr, 05 2018

Sequoia Capital, Other May Back FreeCharge With $30 Mn Funding

FreeCharge was acquired by the now beleaguered e-tailer Snapdeal for $400 million in 2015, and was last year sold to Axis Bank for $60 million.

Mobile wallet FreeCharge is likely to raise the largest series-A financing round for an Indian startup, thus helping the startup to revive its business.

FreeCharge's founder KunalShah is in talks to pick up $30 million, or around Rs 200 crore, from venture capital fund Sequoia Capital, along with a bunch of other investors, as he plans to kick off his new venture this year, sources close to the development said.

Russian fund Ru-Net, and a financial-technology focused fund Ribbit Capital, among a group of investors, is expected to join Sequoia in the round, sources further indicated.

FreeCharge was acquired by the now beleaguered e-tailer Snapdeal for $400 million in 2015 and was last year sold to Axis Bank for $60 million.

Shah did a stint of about a year at Sequoia in an advisory role, mentoring the fund's portfolio companies, which ended in January. He is expected to structure his new company as an incubator or a lab that will dabble with multiple ideas in sectors like consumer finance, healthcare, and education, people aware of the matter said.

The MBA dropout - who is also an active angel investor in startups like Go-Jek, Unacademy, Voonik, TVF and PocketAces, among others - would join a select group of high-profile, second-time Indian internet entrepreneurs, like Myntra co-founder Mukesh Bansal, who sold off their companies and started up again.

Bansal founded CureFit, a healthcare and fitness startup along with ex-Flipkart senior executive Ankit Nagori in 2016, racking up $15 million in its first round of funding.

Shah co-founded FreeCharge in 2010, along with Sandeep Tandon, with the aim of tapping the potential of online mobile recharging in a market that is primarily driven by prepaid customers. Both Sequoia and Ru-Net were investors in FreeCharge as well.

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