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CRED raises US$81 million, buys back ESOP worth $1.2 million

CRED, the high value credit card ecosystem player, has raised $81 million as part of its Series C round and bought back $1.2 million worth of stocks it had given employees over the last two years, the company said in a press release. While existing investors like Sequoia Capital, Ribbit Capital and Tiger Global participated in the round, the new entrants included hedge fund Coatue Management and Satyan Gajwani, vice chairman of Times Internet.

Founded by serial payments entrepreneur Kunal Shah two years ago, CRED began as an exclusive credit card repayment service through which members would receive cashbacks and discounts for using the app to repay EMIs. Eventually it opened itself to credit card users with high credit scores and now includes 1,300 brands/merchants. It also rolled out two credit products last year. While CRED RentPay allows users to pay recurring expenses and bills as well as rent on the credit card, CRED Cash offers an instant credit line.

“As we raise funds to support our next phase of growth, it’s important to acknowledge the role that employees have played in our success. We are committed to enabling wealth-creation opportunities for them and have allocated 10% of our captable allocated for ESOPs even at the Series C stage. I am grateful for their conviction, as well as that of our investors, and am focused on creating value for them as the product and business evolves,” said Kunal Shah, founder, CRED.

The company says it has 5.9 million users and processes 20% of all credit card bill payments in India. “Over 35% of premium credit card holders in India are on CRED, with members spending 2X of the average credit card user in India. This premium member base has made CRED an attractive proposition for hundreds of merchants and financial institutions intending to engage the creditworthy community,” it said.

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