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IPO Bound Pine Labs Acquires Embedded Fintech Startup Qfix

IPO Bound Pine Labs Acquires Embedded Fintech Startup Qfix

While the terms of the deal are under wraps, the acquisition is aimed to aid Pine Lab’s recently launched Plural platform

Plural which competes with platforms such as BillDesk, Razorpay, PayU, and Atom Technologies, will help merchants transition from offline to online through a payment gateway

Pine Labs has also confidentially filed for an IPO to list on NASDAQ to raise around $500 Mn; while it was initially looking to raise $1 Bn from its public offering

Fintech unicorn Pine Labs has acquired Mumbai-based Qfix Infocomm, an online payments startup. While Pine Labs has not disclosed the terms of the deal, the acquisition is aimed to aid the unicorn’s recently launched Plural platform.

Commenting on the acquisition, Amrish Rau, CEO of Pine Labs said, “As businesses look at ways to improve efficiency, everyday processes between suppliers and customers need an overhaul too. Qfix’s innovations through their smart invoicing and workflow management and billing tools would help offer a complete merchant payments and commerce platform through Plural.”

Founded in 2015, Qfix Infocomm is an embedded fintech startup focussed on enabling segment-specific digital payments and commerce experience for merchants, consumers and communities.

For instance, its education focussed platform enables easy fee management, fee collection, reconciliation, an embedded online marketplace with students along with a host of other value-added services for these educational institutes.

Qfix said that its platform has been used by more than 5,000 education institutes across the country. It has also launched a pilot offline-to-online and community marketplace solutions with API plug-ins, which can be used across multiple merchant segments for instance residential societies, online ERP players, and clubs as a turnkey solution to plugin and launch their own online stores and marketplaces with shopping cart for a standalone as well as a cluster of merchants.

Pine Labs, on the other hand, has recently entered into the online payments space with a new vertical ‘Plural’, shortly after acquiring Southeast Asia’s fintech startup Fave for $45 Mn. It is targeting $25 Bn annual payment volumes (APV) processed on its online payments platform Plural in the next 18 months.

At present, Pine Labs will be the fifth Indian fintech startup going public after Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s Paytm, insurtech PolicyBazaar, Bipin Preet Singh’s MobiKwik (still in pre IPO stage) and Fino Payments Bank.

Paytm’s INR 16,600 Cr IPO as well as Fino’s INR 1,300 Cr IPO, did not do very well on the stock exchanges, while PolicyBazaar listed on the market at a 17% premium. On the other hand, MobiKwik is looking to raise INR 1,900 Cr through the public market in the coming months.

For the uninitiated, companies looking to list have more flexibility when filing for an IPO confidentially – like not having to set a date, or even go ahead with a public offering at all.

Founded in 1998 by Lokvir Kapoor and currently headed by Amrish Rau, Pine Labs enables large and mid-sized businesses in Asia and the Middle East to accept digital payments. The startup provides merchant commerce solutions, including enterprise automation systems such as customer relationship management and inventory management.

Pine Labs’ cloud-based platform claims to have 140K+ merchants, 3.5 lakh PoS terminals across 3,700 cities and towns in India and Malaysia. More than 15 major banks, seven financial institutions and more than 100 brands are a part of Pine Labs’ platform that processes payments worth $30 Bn every year.

Backed by marquee investors such as Sequoia Capital, Paypal, Lone Capital and others, Pine Labs entered the unicorn club in 2020, after it closed a deal with US multinational financial services corporation MasterCard.

Overall, Pine Lab has received investments worth $840 Mn in over 10 rounds, of which it raised a total of $700 Mn in two tranches in 2021.

Most recently, Pine Labs bagged $20 Mn in a fresh round of investment from the country’s largest commercial bank SBI in a Pre-IPO round. Previously, it had raised $100 Mn from US-based investment management company Invesco. In July, it bagged $600 Mn from Fidelity Management & Research Company, BlackRock, Ishana, IIFL at a valuation of $3 Bn.