Kunal Shah’s fintech startup CRED has joined the unicorn club thanks to its latest Series D funding round. The company is now valued at $2.2 billion after raising $215 million. The company’s latest funding round was led by Falcon Edge Capital along with Coatue Management and Insight Partners.

CRED founder Kunal Shah released a statement after receiving the funding and said, “With the credit card category in India expanding rapidly, we have a massive opportunity to shape responsible behaviour, imagine new use cases, and create a rewarding platform for members. Our growth in the past year has demonstrated the potential value of the high-trust, low-friction platform the CRED team has been building, and we are delighted to share the value created with investors, team members, as well as partners and the CRED community.”

CRED was founded in 2018 by the Freecharge co-founder Kunal Shah. The fintech company focuses on high-value credit card users and offers them rewards and benefits for paying their credit card bills on time, every time. The company has a strong filter as to who it welcomes on board and not any and every credit card user can sign up on CRED. The company first screens the credit score of the person who has applied and if it matches undisclosed prerequisites, the company offers them exclusive rewards and benefits for paying credit card bills. CRED so far has 5.9 million credit card users across the nation with an average credit score of 825.

Although CRED began as a platform where high-value credit card users are incentivized to pay their credit card bills timely, it has recently moved into ecommerce as well. In its foray into the e-commerce space, the company has launched its CRED store, an e-commerce channel just like Paytm mall. Moreover, the company also launched CRED Pay recently which allows CRED users to use their reward coins they accumulated by paying bills and use them to unlock products and discounts on CRED store. For strengthening its ancillary, the company is reported to be closing deals with e-commerce giants like Dineout, ixigo and BigBasket.

One should also note that the company can also foray into a lending business, given how it allows credible credit card users to come on board.

While CRED has surely joined the unicorn club, the company has shown losses, one financial year after the other. On one hand the company’s valuation is rising while on the other, the company has reported underwhelming revenue performance. Case in point, Financial Year 2020: for FY20, CRED shared its operating revenue for the first time since its inception. Its revenue clocked at just Rs. 52 lakhs while its total expenses were recorded to be around a jaw dropping Rs. 378.39 crores. As compared to FY19, when the company only recorded expenses worth Rs. 63.90 crores, FY20 saw the company recording expense 492% more than last year. Meanwhile, the company’s loss stood at Rs. 360 crores in FY20, Rs. 300 crores more than FY 19 when it recorded loss of Rs.60 crores.

Meanwhile the Indian startup ecosystem is lush and at its best currently. We are just 4 months into the year and yet there are 6 startups that are already inducted in the unicorn club. This includes Digit Insurance, Innovaccer, Five Star Business, Meesho, Infra.Market, and CRED. It should be noted that Meesho and CRED were inducted in the Indian unicorn club in the same week.

If we rewind and take a glance at 2020, there were 11 startups who achieved the feat of being valued over $1 billion. 11 startups making strides was especially noteworthy as 2020 was the year which saw COVID-19 halting the economy.


Also read: Indian startup ecosystem report card: 44 Indian unicorns generated $106 billion in value between 2010-20