FreeCharge, an online platform run by Accelyst Solutions pvt ltd. that lets users to add money to their prepaid mobile phone plans or pay utility bills online easily and in turn earn coupons, has raised a $33 million Series B from returning investor Sequoia Capital, as well as Sofina, and RuNet. Freecharge has raised Rs 20Cr from Sequoia Capital earlier in 2012.
Money will be deployed primarily in marketing activities, new advertising platforms and acquisitions. FreeCharge plans to grow both organically and via acquiring companies. Recently they acquired 2 startups – WishBerg and Preburn. FreeCharge is Mumbai based company and founded by Kunal Shah in 2010. FreeCharge is seed funded by Tandon Group, a member of Mumbai Angels.
Alok Goel, FreeCharge’s CEO, formerly global product management lead for Google Display Ad Network, says FreeCharge “wants to be an offline-to-online bridge in a unique manner.”
“We will use it to expand into a transaction advertising platform. Coupons are one form of transaction advertising, but we have more ideas. We want to create an ad ecosystem around users,” he adds.
After focusing on expansion in its domestic market, FreeCharge plans to target other countries where many mobile users use prepaid plans, including markets in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
In a statement, Shailendra Singh, managing director of Sequoia Capital India Advisors, said “FreeCharge is creating a unique new category, an advertising platform with the ‘consumption graph’ for the most valuable online consumers. We are very impressed with the team’s execution and the rapid growth and engagement of users on the platform.”