#Tech news

Sachin Bansal’s fintech Navi seeks $2B valuation in its first major external fundraise

Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal is in talks to raise capital for his new startup, Indian fintech Navi. Bansal is talking to investors to raise at a valuation of around $2 billion, three sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. One source said he is looking to raise between $200 million and $400 million.

The Bengaluru-headquartered startup Navi has been largely self-funded up to now — Bansal owns 97% of the company — and this would be its first large outside fundraise since it was founded in 2018.

Talks have yet to materialize into a deal, so the terms, as well as Bansal’s appetite for outside funding, may change, the sources cautioned. A Navi spokesperson declined to comment.

Navi, which offers personal and home loans as well as health insurance to customers, has been through a few financial twists and turns. Navi originally wanted to raise $440 million in a public listing, according to paperwork it filed in 2022. With the IPO market in a slump, however, the startup abandoned those plans last year.

The funding deliberations point to a significant shift in the venture market in India, as well as an encouraging sign for fintech more globally. After a particularly rough 2023 in which overall startup funding fell 73% in the country, this could be a signal that growth stage funding rounds are back on the table.

Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund ADIA is in talks to back Indian audio-storytelling platform Pocket FM, TechCrunch reported last month. Indian eyewear brand LensKart, Temasek-backed consumer nutrition platform HealthKart, and bike-taxi aggregator Rapido are also in talks to raise new growth-stage rounds, Indian outlet Economic Times reported Thursday. Khazanah, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, is among investors that Swiggy-backed Rapido has engaged with in recent weeks, one source familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. 

India’s startup ecosystem saw a steep decline in large funding rounds last year as global investors including Tiger Global and SoftBank reduced their investments, while domestic VC firms shifted their focus to early-stage companies, according to a recent Bain report.

The Reserve Bank of India’s regulatory actions in recent years have also impacted startups issuing cards and lending, further spooking many investors in the fintech sector.

Under Bansal, Flipkart was a trailblazer for startups in India, raising billions of dollars from a storied list of strategic and financial investors. He then left the startup in 2018 with a $1 billion windfall and opted for a bootstrapped approach for Navi, which he founded the same year.

Even if this might become Navi’s first external raise, that doesn’t mean Bansal has not been talking to interested parties. As TechCrunch previously reported, the fintech spoke to potential investors, including SoftBank, ahead of its IPO filing. Those discussions stalled after Navi’s application for a banking license was rejected by the country’s central bank, TechCrunch previously reported.

In recent quarters, Navi has narrowed its focus. It sold its microfinancing unit Chaitanya India for $178.5 million in August as part of a “strategic plan to focus on our digital-first businesses,” Bansal said at the time.

In an interview published by the Indian outlet Moneycontrol Tuesday, Bansal said he would revive plans for the IPO, but only in a “few months, once we are ready.”

Bansal has also not given up the idea of turning Navi into a bank. “For now, I would say we have parked them, until we see that it is a possibility again in the future,” he told the Indian outlet. “Then we will pick up again when there’s some green light from the regulator at the right time.”

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