European Digital Bank, Revolut, Has Its Eyes Set on India

April 22, 2021
Connor Cassidy

United Kingdom’s online banking start-up, Revolut, plans on expansion into a new market, India. The London headquartered company announced Thursday, April 22nd that it has been in contact with the former executive for Indian start-ups Flipkart, Via.com and Lendingkart, Paroma Chatterjee, about leading its operations in its new market venture. They announced this alongside a US $25 million investment in the Indian market over the next five years and aims to have its app up and running in the country by 2022. As of 2021, the company has raised over US $900 million from investors and is currently valuated at US $ 5.5 billion.

“We’re looking forward to transforming the way people in India access and manage their money as we bring our products and services to more people around the world,” said Revolut CEO and co-founder Nik Storonsky. Also adding, “India is a core market in our expansion strategy with a huge supply of talent, and we’re excited to tap into that talent pool to help Revolut go from strength to strength.”

Indian workers will also benefit as Revolut said it would hire around 300 employees at its India subsidiary, which will also serve as its hub for its global operations. It has already hired heads of operations and legal as it aims to fill a multitude of other roles in human resources, marketing and compliance.

India is a huge market for Revolut, boasting a population of over 1.3 billion people and growing in its acceptance of digital payments. The opportunity is ripe for the digital bank that was founded in 2015, with the focus on travel-related services like cheap currency exchanges but has since rolled out stock trading and red-hot cryptocurrencies. They are not the only branchless bank looking to take on the world. Revolut has plenty of competition from U.K. peer Monzo, German rival N26 and U.S. start-up Chime, but plans to build on its early successes in other Asian countries like Japan and Singapore and tapping into India’s fast-growing remittances market is a major priority for the firm. The company is in close contact with the Reserve Bank of India and several local banks to secure the licenses and partnerships required to make the launch happen.

Launching in India would also put it in direct competition with Softbank-backed fintech Paytm, which is used by many Indians to make payments by scanning QR codes. Revolut also says it has high aspirations to become a major player in the Chinese market as well. The firm has been reported to be in talks to raise even more funds that have the potential to value its operations at as much as US $15 billion.

Nothing has come easy to the digital bank, as it has found mixed success in North America. It launched in the United States last year and since has accumulated over 150,000 clients and is now seeking to acquire a banking charter. On the opposing end, it announced back in February that it was withdrawing from Canada after only 18 months in service there.

Lots of eyes will be on Revolut as it’s expected to release its 2020 financial results before the end of spring.

Reference:

Browne, Ryan. “Revolut, Europe’s $5.5 Billion Digital Bank, Is Expanding into India.” CNBC, 22 Apr. 2021, www.cnbc.com/2021/04/21/revolut-hires-india-ceo-ahead-of-2022-launch.html.

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