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Fidelity, BlackRock Lead Fintech Startup’s $600 Million Funding

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(Bloomberg) -- Pine Labs Pvt, a payments platform for merchants in India and Southeast Asia, closed a $600 million fundraising round with some of the world’s largest investors including Fidelity Management & Research Co. and BlackRock Inc. as it targets a public offering within 18 months.The Singapore-based startup, which offers solutions for in-store and online payments as well as prepaid, loyalty and “pay later” programs, is valued at $3 billion, Chief Executive Officer Amrish Rau said. Investors participating in the round included a fund advised by Neuberger Berman Group LLC and India’s IIFL Finance Ltd. and Kotak Funds.

Banks and merchants pay monthly fees for using Pine Labs’ software as a service, with the startup also receiving micro-fees on every transaction. Payment services are gaining popularity in Asia as smartphones become more widespread, benefiting providers such as Pine Labs.

“It’s a product from India that’s succeeded in Malaysia and Singapore and is entering Indonesia and Thailand,” Rau said in an interview via video call. “We’ve got a good, Ebitda-positive story as we plan our IPO in the next 18 months.”

The initial public offering will likely take place in the U.S., Rau said. “With our size and scale, we want to make it a global IPO,” he said.The startup offers digital solutions for the checkout point, enabling transactions from billing to payments and reconciliation. Its “pay later” offering covers 100 million customers in India, Singapore and Malaysia, allowing buyers to pay in three, six, nine or 12 monthly installments for products such as Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. devices. The company also runs a prepaid gifting platform called QwikCilver in India, Southeast Asia, Middle East, Europe and Australia.

Its customers include Apple, Starbucks Corp., and McDonald’s Corp., with Sequoia Capital, Temasek Holdings Pte, PayPal Holdings Inc. and Mastercard Inc. among its backers.India’s fintech industry is growing at about 50% annual rate and Southeast Asia is following closely behind, Rau said. Pine Labs is growing at about a 60% annual clip as stores expand their payment options.

“A growing number of merchants in Asia want to create faster and more interesting checkout experiences,” Rau said. “They want solutions that help them compete with large online companies.”The startup acquired pay-and-save app Fave in April for $45 million. That app now has 6 million users and more than 40,000 merchants.

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