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India's No. 1 Digital Wallet Paytm Raises $1.4B from SoftBank at $7B Valuation

India's No. 1 Digital Wallet Paytm Raises $1.4B from SoftBank at $7B Valuation

SoftBank Group Corp. (TYO: 9984), which will join Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) as a major shareholder and will take a seat on the board of Paytm, One97’s flagship brand and India’s largest digital payments platform. The deal reportedly brought Paytm’s valuation to about $7 billion. Last year, Paytm raised $60 million from Taiwanese chip maker MediaTek at a $5 billion valuation. Paytm is said to have 220 million wallet users and 5 million merchants of its e-commerce platform. “This investment by Softbank and support of the incredible entrepreneur Masa Son is a great endorsement of our team’s execution and vision. We believe we have a great opportunity to bring financial inclusion to half a billion Indians,” said Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO of Paytm. “Paytm plans to invest 10,000 crore over the next three to five years towards its commitment to enabling half a billion Indians to join the mainstream economy.” “In line with the Indian government’s vision to promote digital inclusion, we are committed to transforming the lives of hundreds of millions of Indian consumers and merchants by providing them digital access to a broad array of financial services, including mobile payments,” said Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO, SoftBank Group. Paytm also said that it has received final regulatory approval for its mobile-first Paytm Payments Bank, which is set to begin operations later this month. “India has presented us with the world’s largest opportunity in terms of financial services and we are confident its market will grow exponentially over the next decade,” said Eric Jing, CEO of Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial. We are proud to be Paytm’s strategic partner and we will continue to extend our tech know-how to support Paytm’s growth in the country. We welcome SoftBank to a great ride together to provide equal access to financial services in India, Headquartered in New Delhi, One97 has more than 4,500 employees with regional offices in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata, and a global presence in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The company’s backers include Alibaba Group, Ant Financial (AliPay), SAIF Partners, Mediatek, Sapphire Venture and Silicon Valley Bank. SoftBank is a global technology player that aspires to drive the information revolution. The SoftBank Group holding company owns a global portfolio of companies, including advanced telecommunications, internet services, AI, smart robotics, IoT and clean energy technology providers. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO of Paytm.]]>

Amazon to Acquire Dubai's E-Commerce Platform Souq, Outbids Emaar Malls $800M Offer

Amazon to Acquire Dubai's E-Commerce Platform Souq, Outbids Emaar Malls $800M Offer

in February 2017 Souq.com raised more than Dh 1 billion ($275 million), bringing its funding total at the time to $425 million, and its valuation to a reported $1 billion. Investors in that funding round included New York-based Tiger Global Management and South Africa’s Naspers Ltd. (JSE: NPN.SJ; LSE: NPSN), both of which had invested in Souq.com in earlier rounds. “Amazon and Souq.com share the same DNA – we’re both driven by customers, invention, and long-term thinking,” said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Senior Vice President, International Consumer. “Souq.com pioneered e-commerce in the Middle East, creating a great shopping experience for their customers. We’re looking forward to both learning from and supporting them with Amazon technology and global resources. And together, we’ll work hard to provide the best possible service for millions of customers in the Middle East.” “We are guided by many of the same principles as Amazon, and this acquisition is a critical next step in growing our e-commerce presence on behalf of customers across the region,” said SOUQ.com CEO and Co-Founder Ronaldo Mouchawar. “By becoming part of the Amazon family, we’ll be able to vastly expand our delivery capabilities and customer selection much faster, as well as continue Amazon’s great track record of empowering sellers.” “As the largest e-commerce platform in the region, we focus on the value we bring through technology and job creation. We connect people to products through our retail and marketplace model,” said Ronaldo Mouchawar, CEO & co-founder of Souq.com. “Through cutting edge technology, we enable our consumers to make smarter choices and access to mobile commerce is further empowering them.” The deal is expected to close in 2017 subject to closing conditions, Amazon said. Souq.com was founded in 2005 as an auction site linked to internet portal Maktoob, which had been founded in 1998 by Samih Toukan and Hussam Khoury as a webmail service. Mouchawar, who was born and raised in Aleppo, Syria, was educated in the U.S. and returned to the Middle East, joining Maktoob in 2000. He holds a Master’s degree in Digital Communications and a Bachelor degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston. Maktoob was acquired by Yahoo in 2009, becoming its official arm in the MENA region. Following Maktoob’s acquisition, Toukan and Khoury decided to spin-off the brands that were not acquired by Yahoo, namely souq, cashu, and ikoo and to form the Jabbar Internet Group, a new incubator to house these brands, focusing on consumer e-commerce in the region. Jabbar currently employs over 300 people at various offices in UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kuwait, and became one of the leading investors in Internet and technology companies in the region. Jabbar continued to fund Souq.com until it was adequately scaled up. Photo: Ronaldo Mouchawar, CEO & co-founder of Souq.com.]]>