India-based Cashfree Payments is set to expand its global footprint to 15 to 18 countries in the next two years, reported BusinessLine.

The State Bank of India (SBI)-backed fintech firm is planning to ramp up its presence via merger and acquisition (M&A) deals, its co-founder and CEO Akash Sinha divulged to the publication.

The M&A route is expected to help the firm align with the regulatory requirements while expanding its operations to new markets.

Founded in 2015 by Sinha and Reeju Dutta, Cashfree is said to process transactions worth $20bn annually.

Last November, the firm took a majority holding in UAE-based payments gateway firm Telr in a deal worth around $15m.

Besides India and UAE, it maintains a presence in USA and Canada.

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Cashfree is now set to acquire another two or three start-ups this year, the report said.

Sinha did not reveal the details around funds set aside for M&As and the average valuation of start-ups that the firm is eyeing to takeover.

He said: “The global expansion is one of the big areas, where we see a lot of growth coming in for the company. I believe India is still ahead in the fintech game and whatever insights we have learned and gathered from here could be implemented in the emerging markets like Middle East, North Africa and the South-East Asia. We will be in 15-18 countries over the next two years.”

Funding plans

Cashfree, which counts Y Combinator and PayPal amongst its backers, is seeking to bring in fresh capital at a $1.3bn, according to multiple media reports.

Sinha told the publication that the fund-raising is currently ongoing and yet to close.

Last year, Cashfree raised $35.3m in a Series B funding round from Apis Partners and SBI at a valuation of $200m.

It followed the firm’s $5.5m in a Series A funding round in 2019, which was led by South Korean venture capital firm Smilegate Investments.

NPCI tie-up

Most recently, Cashfree signed a partnership with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to offer tokenisation solutions on RuPay cards for its merchants.

Token Vault, Cashfree’s tokenisation solution, helps merchants to allow customers to save cards on the merchant website or app and process card payments securely.

The partnership enables Cashfree to become a certified and compliant payment tokenisation service provider across key card networks including RuPay, Mastercard, and Visa.