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Sachin Bansal’s fintech Navi seeks $2 billion valuation in first major external funding round

Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal is in talks to raise funds for his new Indian fintech company Navi. Three people familiar with the matter told TechCrunch that Bansal is in talks with investors to raise funds at a valuation of about $2 billion. One source said he was looking for $200 million to $400 million.

Bengaluru-based startup Navi has been largely self-funded so far — Bansal owns 97% of the company — and this will be the company’s first major external round since its inception in 2018.

Sources cautioned that talks have not yet crystallized into a deal, so terms and Bansal’s interest in outside funding could change. A spokesman for Navi declined to comment.

Navi offers customers personal and home loans as well as health insurance, but its own financial situation has had its share of twists and turns. Navi initially hoped to raise $440 million through a public listing, according to a 2022 filing. However, the Bengaluru-based startup abandoned these plans last year due to a sluggish IPO market.

Funding review This signals a major shift in the Indian venture capital market and is an encouraging sign for global fintech. After a particularly tough 2023, total startup funding in the country dropped 73%, which could be a sign that growth-stage funding rounds are back on the table.

TechCrunch reported last month that Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund ADIA is in talks to support Indian audio storytelling platform Pocket FM. Indian eyewear brand LensKart, Temasek-backed consumer nutrition platform HealthKart and bike taxi aggregator Rapido are also in talks for a new round of growth-stage financing, Indian media outlet The Economic Times reported on Thursday. Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah is one of the investors Swiggy-backed Rapido has approached in recent weeks, a person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

A recent Bain & Company report showed that large funding rounds in the Indian startup ecosystem fell sharply last year as global investors such as Tiger Global and SoftBank reduced investments and domestic venture capital firms shifted their focus to early-stage companies.

Regulatory actions by the Reserve Bank of India in recent years have also affected card-issuing and lending startups, further spooking many investors in the fintech space.

Under Bansal’s leadership, Flipkart became a trailblazer for Indian startups, raising billions of dollars from numerous strategic and financial investors. He subsequently left the startup in 2018 with a $1 billion windfall and chose to be self-reliant and founded Navi in ​​the same year.

Even though this may be Navi’s first external financing, that doesn’t mean Bansal isn’t negotiating with interested parties. As TechCrunch previously reported, the fintech company held talks with potential investors including SoftBank ahead of its IPO filing. Those discussions stalled after Navi’s application for a banking license was rejected by the country’s central bank, TechCrunch previously reported.

Navi has narrowed its focus in recent quarters. In August, the company sold its microfinance unit Chaitanya India for $178.5 million as part of a “strategic plan to focus on digital-first businesses,” Bansal said at the time.

Bansal said in an interview published by Indian media outlet Moneycontrol on Tuesday that he would revive plans for an IPO, but only “in a few months, once we are ready.”

Bansal has not given up on the idea of ​​turning Navi into a bank. “At the moment, I would say we have parked them until we see that is possible again in the future,” he told Indian media. “Then when the regulator gives the green light at the right time, we will revive again.”

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