Mumbai-based Suvidhaa Infoserve Pvt Ltd has raised $12 million or Rs 60 crore from Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co Ltd in its third round of funding. The monies raised will be used to enhance its technology platform, broaden its portfolio of consumer service offerings and aggressively expand its market presence in neighbourhood stores pan India.
Founded in 1947, Mitsui & Co specialises in businesses like energy, machinery, chemicals, food, textile, logistics, finance and more. In the year ending March 31, 2011, Mitsui had total revenues of $55 billion and net income of $3.6 billion.
In August 2010, service-commerce firm Suvidhaa Infoserve had raised $7 million (Rs 32.63 crore) in its second round of funding, led by International Finance Corporation (IFC) â€“ private investment arm of the World Bank. Prior to that funding, the company had raised undisclosed sum from Norwest Venture Partners and Reliance Assets Management. Suvidhaa also raised seed funding from Shapoor Pallonji Mistry, a construction tycoon holding 18.5 per cent stake in Tata Sons. With this third round of funding, Suvidhaa has now raised a total of $25 million in venture backing.
"We are excited in making this strategic decision to move into the field of electronic payments in India through our investment in Suvidhaa. We believe that Suvidhaa has significant potential to expand its business into related areas, such as e-wallet and mobile payment, through the introduction of advanced Internet technology," Yasushi Okazaki, general manager of Mitsui's Internet business division, commented on the investment.
Incorporated in 2007, Suvidhaa has established more than 45,000 neighbourhood stores called Suvidhaa Points across India. These points enable consumers to walk into the local stores and purchase every day 'services' they need, such as money remittance, air, railway and bus tickets purchase, mobile recharge, insurance premium payment, utility bill payment, hotel packages, payment collection services and a wide variety of other services.
The Suvidhaa Points consist of kirana stores, mobile stores, medical stores, STD booths, cyber cafes, travel agents, insurance agents and many other categories of neighbourhood stores. The company has presence in 28 states and in 2000-plus cities and towns across urban and rural India.
The company has also partnered with leading companies like IRCTC for railway ticketing, all major airlines for airline ticketing, telecom services providers, leading banks, key financial services and insurance players, more than 400 bus operators covering 7000-plus routes (for bus ticketing) and multiplexes such as Fun Cinema, among others.
"We are happy to have Mitsui on board, which reflects the strength of Suvidhaa's business model and the brand. The global experience and expertise of Mitsui across key industry categories will certainly help Suvidhaa in gaining scale, strategic alliances and adopting best practices," said Paresh Rajde, founder and CEO of Suvidhaa.