Zomato Media Pvt. Ltd is in talks with China’s payments giant Ant Financial Services Group, looking to raise a funding of around $200 million,three people familiar with the deal said.
Food ordering and restaurant discovery platform may Zomato,may be valued between $800-$900 million, said two of the three people cited above. The third person said Zomato’s valuation may even exceed $1 billion.
Ant Financial, which is the payments business connected with China’s largest e-commerce firm, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, didn’t immediately respond to emails by Mint seeking comment.
Since starting out in 2008, Zomato has raised roughly $225 million in capital. It last received fresh capital in September 2015, when it raised $60 million from Singapore’s Temasek Holdings and Vy Capital. Sequoia Capital and Info Edge are the other institutional investors in Zomato.
For Ant, Zomato is attractive partly because the Chinese firm is bullish on hyperlocal businesses despite the fact that most such start-ups in India have failed. Ant Financial believes that, over time, India could also sustain a business such as Meituan-Dianping, a hyperlocal platform in China that is one of the most valuable internet companies there, said the people cited earlier.
Ant Financial is also looking to strengthen its foothold in southeast Asia, India and markets such as New Zealand and Australia.
In August, Ant tied up with Yelp Inc. in the US to cater to Chinese tourists there. The partnership let Ant Financial users make payments in restaurants across the US.
An investment in Zomato is largely seen as a move by Ant Financial to continue to follow Chinese tourists in south-east Asia (one of the largest markets for Zomato in terms of traffic is Jakarta), Australia and New Zealand.
Zomato’s fight with Swiggy is expected to be costly for both the companies—and Swiggy’s fund-raising shows as much. Since starting out in 2014, Swiggy has already raised over $160 million in equity and debt including $80 million in May from Naspers Ltd and others.
The two firms will soon face another well-funded rival: CureFit, the fitness and healthcare start-up launched by Mukesh Bansal and Ankit Nagori.
While food ordering is currently only 20% of CureFit’s business, the company wants to rapidly expand it and expects food to become its largest revenue contributor within the next three years.
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