Neo-banking firm Open becomes India’s hundredth unicorn

iNDICA News Bureau-

India recorded its hundredth unicorn, or startup company valued at U.S. $1 billion or more, Monday when the Bangalore-headquartered neo-banking startup Open raised $50 million in its D series round of investment.

This round was led by IIFL with participation from existing investors like Temasek, Tiger Global and 3one4 Capital, The Indian Express newspaper reported.

India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted: “India hits century in style. India=Ideas + Innovation + Investment.” Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, the replacement for the erstwhile Planning Commission of India, said, “This reflects the dynamism of young Indian entrepreneurs out to change the world.”

The country recorded its first unicorn in 2011 when the mobile advertising service platform InMobi achieved the valuation of U.S. $1 billion. The total funding raised so far by the 100 unicorns is estimated at about U.S. $90 billion, with online marketplace Flipkart, now acquired by American retail major Walmart, and edtech startup Byju’s topping the list.

Open was founded in 2017 by former PayU and Citrus Pay senior management team member Anish Achuthan with his wife Mabel Chacko, his brother Ajeesh Achuthan and Deena Jacob. Anish is the CEO of the company while Mabel is the chief operating officer while Ajeesh is the chief technology officer. The fourth co-founder is the company’s chief financial officer.

The company had raised $2 million in May 2018 in its pre-series A round of funding from some venture capitalist funds and Yes Bank.

Anish Achuthan said, “We see a lot of synergies with IIFL, especially on leveraging the lending book, as we are getting ready to launch innovative products like revenue-based financing, early settlement, working capital loan and business credit cards to SMEs (small and medium enterprises) on our platform.”

Open’s platform integrates all the tools used by small and medium businesses with a business current account. The company processes over $30 billion in annualized transactions and has raised over $140 million in funding so far.