Lightspeed Venture Partners Leads Rs. 500 M Investment Into Essel Group’s Itz Cash Card Ltd.
Mumbai, India, July 22, 2009 Returning investors Matrix Partners India and Intel Capital join the financing for India’s largest pre paid cash card company Lightspeed Venture Partners, a leading global venture capital and growth equity firm, has led an investment of Rs. 500 million in Itz Cash Card Ltd., India’s largest multi- purpose pre-paid card company, along with existing investors Matrix Partners India and Intel Capital. The investment will be used by ItzCash Card to further expand its product portfolio and diversify its business, including venturing into the retail payments space. With this investment, Mr. Bejul Somaia, Managing Director, Lightspeed Advisory Services India Private Ltd. will be joining the board of Itz Cash Card Ltd. The amount invested will help ItzCash Card to scale the existing business and tap new products and market segments. Speaking on this occasion, Mr. Ashok Goel, Chairman, Itz Cash Card Ltd. says, “The investment by Lightspeed Venture Partners further validates the strong business model and growth of ItzCash. This is the second round of PE funding that ItzCash has received in the last two years, the previous one being USD 10 million from Matrix Partners and Intel Capital. Both the existing investors are also participating in this round.” ItzCash prepaid cards offer cashless payment solutions for individuals and businesses across physical, internet and mobile channels by providing a convenient, secure and efficient alternative to cash. Importantly, ItzCash prepaid cards serve as a financially empowering payment instrument for the under-banked or unbanked population of the Country. Mr. Bejul Somaia, Managing Director, Lightspeed Advisory Services India Private Ltd. comments, “ItzCash Card is a unique and innovative product that offers convenient payment solutions for multiple services. We believe there is significant growth potential for this product given that cash accounts for approximately 97% of the country’s retail payments, which exceed $500 billion. We are impressed by the company’s unique business model as well as its strong growth trajectory and future prospects. The strength and commitment of the management team, the quality of the company’s merchant partners and the reach of the company’s distribution channel, have all helped ItzCash establish a clear leadership position in the non-bank payments industry space.” Lightspeed Venture Partners' mission has been to partner with early and growth stage technology companies possessing the vision, energy and integrity required to build large sustainable enterprises. Lightspeed Venture Partners has invested in more than 100 technology companies over the past two decades. About Itz Cash Card Ltd.: Itz Cash Card Ltd., India’s only “Multi Purpose Prepaid Cash Card” part of the Essel Group established in 2004 today has an annual turnover of Rs.1700 crores. ItzCash is another successful venture that innovated the entire paradigm of payment solutions across the web and the mobile bringing payment solutions to the non bankable population. The Card offers a portfolio of customized e-commerce & m-commerce solutions in the B2B & B2C space. The card‘s salient features include its services, technology, safety & security, reliability and ever-increasing business alliances. ItzCash enjoys premium brand status in the highly competitive local markets. The company’s products have been internationally recognized and it went on to win the PayBefore awards for the second for the second consecutive year. Itz Cash has more than 5000 merchants and a spread across 1800 locations including cities, towns and rural India The tie-ups across service sectors facilitate the multi-utility aspect of the card. ItzCash has over 20,000 ItzCash franchisees branded as “ItzCash World” and 180,000 outlets in 1800 Tier I & II towns in the country under the brand name “ItzCash Point”. Itz Cash Card’s various tie ups including IRCTC for rail booking, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) to facilitate online payment of property Tax, water Bill in Mumbai and launched Octroi Silver Cards for traders and truckers to collect Octroi at the Octroi Nakas. It has also tied up with Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for paying property tax in Delhi. About Lightspeed Venture Partners: Lightspeed Venture Partners is a leading global venture capital and growth equity firm with over $2 billion of committed capital under management. Lightspeed’s investment professionals and advisors are located in Silicon Valley, China, India, and Israel. Over the past two decades, the Lightspeed team has backed more than 150 companies, many of which have become leaders in their respective markets, including Blue Nile, Brocade, Calista, Ciena, DoubleClick, eHealth, Galileo Technology, Growth Networks, Informatica, Kiva Software, LightLogic, Maker Communications, Metasolv, Openwave, Quantum Effect Devices, Riverbed, Sirocco, Virsa Systems and Waveset. For more information, visit the Lightspeed website: www.lightspeedvp.com About Matrix Partners India: Matrix Partners India is an investment firm with INR 1,500 crores under management. The firm invests in companies targeting the Indian domestic market with a sector independent investment strategy focused on generating exceptional returns. The firm invests up to INR 125 crores in a company depending on its stage of development and has invested in several companies including FIITJEE, ItzCash Card, and Tree House. The fund’s investors include leading university endowments and family foundations. Matrix Partners has a global network of funds in the US, China and India with $2 billion under management. Further information is available at www.matrixpartners.in About Intel Capital India: Intel Capital, Intel's global investment organization, makes equity investments in innovative technology start-ups and companies worldwide. Intel Capital invests in a broad range of companies offering hardware, software, and services targeting enterprise, home, mobility, health, consumer Internet, semiconductor manufacturing and cleantech. Since 1991, Intel Capital has invested more than US$9 billion in over 1,000 companies in 46 countries. In that timeframe, 174 portfolio companies have gone public on various exchanges around the world and 231 were acquired or participated in a merger. In 2008, Intel Capital invested about US$1.59 billion in 169 investments with approximately 62 percent of funds (excluding Clearwire) invested outside North America. For more information on Intel Capital and its differentiated advantages, visit www.intelcapital.com
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