Accelyst Solutions, which owns the online recharge and couponing site Freecharge.in has raised Rs 20 crore from Sequoia Capital, LiveMint reported today. This investment follows a seed investment from Sequoia Capital in 2011, and speaking with MediaNama, Accelyst co-Founder and CEO Kunal Shah said that the funds will be used to go mobile, as well as add new products and merchants to the business. On the mobile, though, the company is not looking at launching interactive voice response (IVR) based recharge yet, so it will probably be mobile web and applications: “We’re going to stick to 80:20 rule, and the question remains how many transactions happen on IVR. If less than 10% of the transactions are IVR, then we will not go there. For now, there’s a lot more to be done in the core web business,” Shah said.
Freecharge has a customer base of 1.5 million, and claims to have tens of thousands of transactions each day. It provides free recharge for a range of services including mobile, DTH TV and data card, and has partnered with over 50 retailers including McDonalds, Barista, Café Coffee Day, Fastrack, Puma, Domino’s, Crossword, Croma, Shoppers Stop, Pizza Hut and a host of e-commerce websites.
The recharge business has low monetization – it is a low margin business – but Freecharge innovated through adding a couponing model. It gives coupons to transacting customers, and has patent pending on its couponing business model. The practice of monetization through couponing has been emulated by other players in the industry, including sites like Rechargeitnow, Paytm*, among others.
More shortly in an interview with Shah.
Disclosure: Paytm is an advertiser with MediaNama