This banking tech startup is the newest Indian unicorn with a $1.45 billion valuation

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This banking tech startup is the newest Indian unicorn with a $1.45 billion valuation
Zeta co-founders Ramki Gaddipati (L) and Bhavin Turakhia (R)Zeta
  • Banking technology startup Zeta is the latest to join the Indian unicorn club.
  • The company has been valued at $1.45 billion after raising $250 million in its Series C round of funding.
  • Zeta plans to use the fresh infusion of capital to expand its presence in the US and European markets where banks are moving away from branches to offering their services online.
Zeta, a banking technology startup based in Bengaluru, is the newest Indian startup to attain the ‘unicorn’ status. In its Series C round of funding the company raised $250 million from Softbank Vision Fund II at a valuation of $1.45 billion.

A ‘unicorn’ is a private company that is valued at $1 billion or more.

The deal more than quadruples Zeta’s valuation since 2019, when Sodexo SA valued the startup at $300 million.

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With new money in its pocket and a brand new unicorn tag, Zeta plans to use the new funding to expand in the US and European markets. “They [banks] have been slow to innovate and provide poor user experiences,” said Bhavin Turakhia, co-founder of Zeta.

According to him, Zeta is poised to capture the markets where banks are moving online and away from the conventional branches. It provides backbone technology for credit and credit-card processing, core banking, loans, mobile banking and personal finance management.

“Banking software is a $300 billion industry globally. Most banks still employ technology, which is significantly older than their customers, impacting user experience and engagement.

Munish Varma, managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers

The company is banking on its simplified approach being different enough to attract customers. Rather than work with numerous supplies, as banks and financial institutions typically do, Zeta wants to combine all of those services and provide one cloud-based offering.
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So far, Zeta has 10 banks and 25 fintech companies across eight countries among its customers. This includes bigwig Indian banks like HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra, Axis, and others. Sodexo, an existing investor, is also a customer. It participated as a minority investor in the Series C round of funding.

List of startups that have entered the unicorn club in 2021:



StartupValuation
Digit Insurance$1.9 billion
Innovaccer$1.3 billion
Meesho$2.1 billion
Infra.Market$1 billion
PharmEasy$1.5 billion
Cred$2.2 billion
Groww$1 billion
ShareChat$2.1 billion
Gupshup$1.4 billion
Chargebee$1.4 billion
Urban Company$2 billion
Five Star Finance$1.4 billion
Moglix$1 billion
Zeta$1.4 billion

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Turakhia doesn’t normally rely on external funding. In fact, most of the startups he’s been involved in, in the past, have been without institutional funding. Zeta’s move to raise capital marks a departure from his preference for bootstrapping his businesses.

Zeta founder, 41-year old Turakhia, launched the startup in 2015 after already having dipped his toe — more like submerged his toe — in multiple startups with his brother, Divyank.

He was already coding at the age of 10 and had attained millionaire status by the time he hit 20. By the time he was 26, he shared a billion-dollar fortune with his brother.

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