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Indian startup FreeCharge raises $80 million in new funding

Company offers coupons to customers.

By Raif Karerat

WASHINGTON, DC: FreeCharge, a Mumbai-based mobile commerce platform that rewards users with coupons and other prizes when they pay their bills, has raised an $80 million series C funding.

The most recent round of investors include Tybourne Capital and Valiant Capital Management, as well as returning patrons Sequoia Capital, Sofina, and RuNet, according to a report published by TechCrunch.

The latest injection of capital drastically improves on the $33 million Series B FreeCharge gleaned last September.

The company now claims it has a user base of over 20 million people and that its mobile app was downloaded 10 million times in 2014.

FreeCharge operates by offering consumers the chance to log onto its website or mobile apps in order to square away payments for mobile phone plans, satellite television subscriptions, and various other utility bills. Once customers successfully pay a bill, FreeCharge sends an email containing a coupon that can be redeemed at leading e-commerce sites as well as brick-and-mortar institutions.

In exchange for participating in FreeCharge’s coupon program, participating vendors are given insights into consumer behavior by tracking which coupons are redeemed and which products or services they’re used for, along with a slew of other data and metrics.

FreeCharge was founded in 2010 after acquiring an unspecified amount of seed funding. In the future, FreeCharge aims to enter transactional advertising, which enables consumers to purchase advertised products without leaving the page on which the advertisement appears. The startup, whose business model is under patent pending status, is also keenly appraising markets in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

According to Alexa statistics, at the time of publication FreeCharge’s website ranks relatively highly on the global scale, showing steady improvement over the past year and currently slotting in at number 2,842 out of all worldwide websites.



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