PayNearby plans to invest Rs 350 cr in scaling up operations

Startup firm PayNearby is planning to invest over Rs 350 crore in scaling up its financial services business and in-house engineering capability over 3-5 years.

PayNearby operates through a network of around 6.5 lakh retailers across all districts of the country. These retailers act as banking correspondents to provide bank related services, sell insurances, collect installment payments and deposits etc.

The company aims to offer financial and travel services through 15 lakh retailers across the country and gradually engage them for its e-commerce services by the end of the current fiscal.

"We are planning to raise USD 50 million (about Rs 356 crore) through equity dilution. It will be utilised for our non-banking financial services and scaling up our engineering work with use of modern technologies like AI, machine-to-machine, location sensing in next 3 to 5 years," PayNearby founder and CEO Anand Kumar Bajaj told PTI.

"We have terabytes of data of 6.5 lakh retailers. We have generated a lot of insights. They know about need of people nearby. If we start rolling out credits of up to Rs 1 lakh, it will create huge balance sheet for a bank," Bajaj said.

He said of the total fund that will be raised, the company will need Rs 200-250 crore to run its lending business.

He said PayNearby has applied for a non-banking financial company licence and expects to start services after Diwali.

PayNearby claims 33 per cent share in delivering Aadhaar related payment services and sees huge business opportunity.

"We have recently received IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) approval to sell insurance and IATA (International Air Transport Association) permit to sell airline ticket. We will now be going deep in all districts where we are present," Bajaj said.

PayNearby is also working on a hyper-local delivery based e-commerce platform of its own, BuyNearby, where order can be placed online and the product will be delivered by local stores to the customer.

"Retail is evolving but retailers are not. Survival of retailers is important for financial service. If he survives, financial services will survive much more. This is what we are trying to do through BuyNearby," Bajaj said.

He said the company at present has around 760 people which include 122 engineers.

"We will hire around 50 engineers more to take this number to over 170. Our focus will be to develop engineering capability around artificial intelligence, machine-to-machine learning, location sensing etc," Bajaj said.