Cashfree Success Story - Full Stack Payment Solution

Jeenal Jain Jeenal Jain
Apr 19, 2021 14 min read
Cashfree Success Story - Full Stack Payment Solution

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by Cashfree.

The Indian digital payments industry currently stands at ₹2,153 Tn i.e., ~961% of GDP (source: RedSeer report). Cashfree has rapidly grown in the country’s competitive environment to the point where it is now dominating payment disbursals with more than 30% market share among payment processors. Founded by Akash Sinha and Reeju Dutta, Cashfree is a full stack payments solution that is helping Indian businesses accept and send money.

An interesting point to note! Cashfree has been profitable since its first year of operations (2015) and has reported a revenue of around INR 100 crores in FY20 and a profit after tax of INR 20 crores. Know more about Cashfree's business model, how it started, funding etc., in this post ahead.

Owing to the tremendous growth of Cashfree, StartupTalky interviewed Mr. Akash Sinha, CEO & Co-founder of the company to know the Success Story and Startup Journey of Cashfree.

Cashfree - Company Highlights

Startup Name Cashfree
Founders Akash Sinha (CEO), Reeju Dutta
Launch Year 2015
Headquarters Bangalore
Sector Fintech/Digital Payments
Website cashfree.com

About Cashfree and its Vision
Cashfree - Payments Industry Details
Cashfree - Founders and Team
Cashfree - Ideation and How it Started
Cashfree - Product/Service and USP
Cashfree - Business Model and Revenue Model
Cashfree - Startup Launch
Cashfree - Customer Retention Strategies
Cashfree - Challenges faced
Cashfree - Marketing Strategies
Cashfree - Revenue and Growth
Cashfree - Funding and Investors
Cashfree - Competitors
Cashfree - Recognition and Achievements
Cashfree - FAQs

About Cashfree and its Vision

Cashfree offers businesses the fastest and most seamless way to collect and disburse payments at scale. The company’s products include a payment gateway, payout processing, marketplace settlements, Cashgram, Subscriptions, bank account verification, UPI Stack, Instant Refunds, Global Payouts and auto-collection via virtual bank accounts.

Cashgram is Cashfree’s innovative web link that allows users to provide account details and receive payments instantly from businesses. Cashfree is leading the way in payments innovation with faster settlements, advanced fast-refund solutions and higher success rates on online transactions.

Cashfree Logo

More recently, the company has introduced solutions like Instant Settlements on its payment gateway; recurring payments via Subscriptions; and a UPI stack with 15+ ready-to-use integrations for all business payment needs including collections, disbursals, and verifications using UPI infrastructure. Furthermore, Cashfree also has specific solutions tailored for NBFCs - Lending, Insurance, E-commerce and Education verticals.

Since Cashfree’s inception in 2015, the company has built a strong presence among enterprises by innovating for experience, scale and security. Payments is still seen as an evolving industry with its own challenges.

The short-term vision is to invest in next-gen payments as well as banking tech to make payments processing easier and more reliable. The long-term vision is to grow Cashfree to be the leader in the payments space in India and internationally, backed by a solid foundation of in-house technologies, tech-driven processes, and in-depth industry knowledge.

Akash Sinha, CEO & Co-founder, Cashfree said, “At Cashfree, we are working towards boosting India’s fintech ecosystem, as it is the backbone of Digital India and is a key problem-solver of the economy.”

Comparison between Indian digital payments system Instamojo and Razorpay
As of today, 160 million unique digital payments users are found just in India,which accounts for about 13% of the population. In European countries, thepercentage is as high as 68%. The pandemic has further boosted the use ofdigital payments. This triggers a question, that being, “Which is the b…

Cashfree - Payments Industry Details

The market for payment processing is robust in India. Payment processors use gateways to authorize direct payments across networks of online retailers, storefronts, credit cards, and individuals. That’s why Cashfree has rapidly grown in the country’s competitive environment to the point where it is now dominating payment disbursals with more than 30% market share among payment processors.

According to a recent report by RedSeer, the Indian digital payments industry currently stands at ₹2,153 Tn (~961% of GDP) and will grow at 27% CAGR to reach ₹7,092 Tn (~2278% of GDP) by FY25. This growth will be driven by:

  • Strong use case of merchant payments across user cohorts
  • Government policies such as Jan Dhan Yojana, personal data protection bill along with the growth of MSMEs
  • High smartphone penetration indicating strong headroom for growth through banking and financial services collaborations

Cashfree - Founders and Team

Akash Sinha (CEO) and Reeju Dutta are the founders of Cashfree.

Cashfree Founders
(L-R) Reeju Dutta, Akash Sinha (CEO) - Founders of Cashfree

Akash and Reeju are engineering graduates. While Akash graduated from the International Institute of Information Technology – Hyderabad (IIIT-H), Reeju graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT Kharagpur).

Akash and Reeju were introduced to each other by common friends, people with whom they went to college with.

Akash Sinha (CEO & Co-founder, Cashfree)

Akash was working at Amazon writing software and leading a tech team. He has a technical background and has also worked at BankBazaar, a fintech company. With Akash’s experience as a programmer and product owner, at Cashfree, he focuses on the intersection of technology and business opportunities. As a community builder in the startup and entrepreneur space, he is excited and enthusiastic about cutting-edge technologies that can help businesses experiment, scale and innovate faster.

Reeju Dutta (Co-founder, Cashfree)

Before co-founding Cashfree, Reeju was heading marketing at FabFurnish, an e-commerce retailer. He has a background in digital marketing. He has also worked at ZS Associates, a consulting firm, advising pharmaceutical companies on managing data. At Cashfree, he focuses on customer experience, sales & marketing, finance, and hiring. He is passionate about the growth of the startup ecosystem and enjoys interacting with businesses that offer innovative solutions.

In 2020, Cashfree strengthened its workforce to over 225 employees with hiring accelerated by the growth of  e-commerce and digital payments sectors. By the end of 2021, Cashfree plans to further double its workforce to 400 team members, filling up critical positions as they gear up for the next wave of transformation. As the company builds agile digital payments products, it also plans to grow its sales and support teams.


PayPal Company Profile - Latest News | Founders, Business Model, Revenue
Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified informationon different startups and organizations. The content in this post has beenapproved by the organization it is based on. Transaction is the heart of the developing business world. It revolutionizes theglobal economy wi…

Cashfree - Ideation and How it Started

In mid 2015, Akash Sinha (CEO and Co-founder, Cashfree) and Reeju Datta (Co-founder, Cashfree) were bouncing ideas off each other and looking for a co-founder to build on their ideas. Akash had an idea around an AI-based chat while Reeju was thinking of something around route logistics. They were brainstorming on what could work and what wouldn't based on the market situation. Since hyperlocal commerce was thriving in 2015, Akash came up with the idea of finding a way to make their payments cashless - which until then was cash-intensive. That’s how Cashfree was born.

Akash and Reeju started Cashfree in 2015 and initially, they were digitizing offline COD payments. Then in April 2016, they got into the online space completely. When they started, it was only Reeju and Akash, along with another member who handled sales.

The idea worked well with night restaurants where it was difficult to make cash payments at odd hours. As a beta version, they launched a mobile web product where after placement of an order. The customer receives a link to input their card details or use their wallet to make the online payment. Soon after, the delivery person would get an SMS saying that the payment had been received.

A few such merchants approached them to process the payments for their businesses via their website as well and that is when Akash and Reeju started developing an online payment gateway.

Cashfree - Product/Service and USP

Cashfree has built a comprehensive payments toolkit for small to large businesses in India. It has launched 16 products and solutions with six first-of-its-kind fintech innovations including Payouts, Instant Refunds, Cashgram, Pre-Authorization, Subscriptions, Instant Settlements. Their products and solutions are aimed at making online payments easier and elevating customer experience through innovation and higher transaction success rates. The company’s products include a payment gateway, payout processing, marketplace settlements, Cashgram, Subscriptions, bank account verification, UPI Stack, Instant Refunds, Global Payouts and auto-collection via virtual bank accounts.

  • Payouts – The first gateway with a bulk disbursal solution for domestic and international payments. Payouts performs bank transfers to any unified payments interface, wallet, or debit card with more than 100 payment options and support for 30+ foreign currencies. It can also verify accounts in real-time.
  • Instant Refunds – Launched on September 4, 2019, this was the first-time instant refunds were available on the Cashfree payment gateway. Merchants can initiate partial or full refunds from the dashboard or via an API. It seamlessly integrates with Shopify and Magento refund flows.
  • Cashgram – COD orders providing instant refunds for the first time. Customers can send a Cashgram link to a user, who can specify a destination for payments or instant refunds.
  • Pre-authorization – Provides the ability to block funds temporarily and debit the full or partial amount upon fulfilment. Customers can save payment gateway charges on cancelled orders and integrate with their enterprise resource planning software. Users get real-time tracking of transaction progress.
  • Subscriptions – Cashfree was one of the first gateways to offer recurring payments via the e-Mandate payment service initiated by the Reserve Bank of India and the National Payments Corporation of India.
  • Instant Settlements – Cashfree delivered the industry-first and fastest instant bank settlements for payments collections (within 15 minutes).

Pivot from the Initial product offering

When Akash and Reeju reached out to businesses to partner with for their online cash-on-delivery needs, around 5-6 months down the line, merchants approached them for an online payment gateway (PG) service. That's why they went on to build the payment gateway for them because both the products were kind of similar, though not the same.

It was easy for the founders to transition to an online payment gateway. When they started rolling out the PG, they soon realized that there was still a need for a modern payment gateway that offered services like simple API integration, high transaction success rates, full collection on all the payment modes. That is how they transitioned into an online payment aggregator as businesses (customers) asked for it.


Nubank Success Story | Founders | Business Model | Revenue Model
Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified informationon different startups and organizations. The content in this post has beenapproved by the organization it is based on. We all love being protected. Nowadays we do not feel safe to carry money with usin our pockets wh…

Cashfree - Business Model and Revenue Model

Cashfree is a full stack payments solution that helps Indian businesses accept and send money and is used by 50,000+ businesses for vendor payouts, wage payouts, bulk refunds etc. Currently, the company makes a fee of anywhere between 1.75% and 3% of the value of the transaction.

Cashfree - Startup Launch

Initially, Akash and Reeju started out by working with small restaurants in Bangalore. They were focused on night delivery restaurants, as it was a segment that required alternate options for cash payments. So, night delivery restaurants are where they found their very first users.


The Rise Of Digital Contactless Payments Post Pandemic.
The fast spread of the novel coronavirus has led to a global lockdown hithertounfathomed. The on-going situation has now become one of the biggest threats toeconomies and financial markets all over the world, and is leading us towards aglobal recession. The spread of the coronavirus has impacted …

Cashfree - Customer Retention Strategies

Cashfree has focused on building exceptional payments products and developing innovations for merchants to minimize pain points associated with various payments use cases. This has led to a lot of organic growth for the company, driven by word of mouth and inbound traffic.

The high success rates of Cashfree’s flagship products such as Payouts and Cashgram has led to the company winning the trust of their customers. This led to these same customers also adopting some of the company’s other products to simplify payments.

Many of the payments products built by Cashfree were a result of direct feedback from existing customers on their payments challenges. The company saw these challenges as opportunities to develop products that would add value to their customers. One of the payment innovations that was a direct outcome of customer feedback is Cashfree’s Instant Settlements cycle - where Cashfree enables merchants to get access to their funds in 15 minutes. Merchants can make use of the settled funds for disbursals to vendors and other partners even on bank holidays.


Coronavirus Impact on Digital Payments Startups
Coronavirus is here, and it’s making a big impact on every aspect of business.From trade market swings to airline collapses, the economy of many industries istaking its toll and having major constraints. Whole worldwide especially inEurope, those living in Italy, Spain, Germany and France have be…

Cashfree - Challenges faced

In early 2015 when Akash and Reeju first started out Cashfree, they were making prototypes in AI chat and logistics, but it didn’t work out, as a lot of hyperlocal commerce companies were using COD and there was no way to pay digitally.

That’s how they came up with their idea to use digital payment modes such as credit card, debit card and net banking. They were able to sign up 200-300 offline stores in Bangalore. They started at the right time, tried figuring out online payment pain points and ways to solve them.

Cashfree - Marketing Strategies

One of Cashfree’s most successful marketing campaigns was for the launch of the company’s e-commerce product suite. Cashfree’s e-commerce payments platform offers merchants the best payment experience for mobile and UPI payments and allows them to collect customer payments, process refunds, pay sellers and do a lot more. Along with the regular roll out of press releases, digital marketing, email marketing and more.

Cashfree also hosted a series of fireside chats and webinars with thought leaders in the e-commerce space as a knowledge sharing platform. This series of sessions not only helped Cashfree reach out to thousands of businesses, but also helped many entrepreneurs understand the finer points of running a successful e-commerce venture.


Insane Marketing Strategies Successfully Implemented Ever | StartupTalky
Marketing is, no doubt, the backbone of any company in the 21st Century. Andwhen it comes to big brands, they leave no stone unturned for it. They have avast research team to calculate the risks first. Then they have a separatemarketing department which is always on the go or may outsource it fro…

Cashfree - Revenue and Growth

Cashfree reported revenue of around INR 100 crores in FY20 and a profit after tax of INR 20 crores. As of March 2020, Cashfree was processing over $12 billion in annualized payment volume. For FY21, Cashfree is expecting the transaction volumes to grow by 2-2 ½ times. The company has been recovering fast since July 2020 and expects to clock 3x growth both in revenue and volume. Cashfree has been profitable since its first year of operations and counts more than 50,000 businesses amongst its merchants including leading internet companies such as Cred, BigBasket, Zomato, HDFC Ergo, Ixigo, Acko, Zoomcar, and Delhivery, among others.

Currently, Cashfree’s solutions are used by over 10,000 e-commerce platforms including Nykaa, Furlenco, EaseMyTrip, Wakefit, Vero Moda among others. In 2020, Cashfree processed more than 2 crore transactions from e-commerce orders and expects to onboard 5,000 e-commerce companies by the end of the year.

Cashfree has offices in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. The company is scaling its business volumes to handle around 5 Mn transactions a day over the next seven to nine months as more enterprises across the country start thinking digital first.

Cashfree - Funding and Investors

Funding Details of Cashfree is as follows -

Date Stage Amount Investors
April 9, 2019 Series A USD 5.5 Mn Y Combinator, George Osborne, Vellayan Subbiah
November 23, 2020 Series B USD 35.3 Mn Apis Growth Fund II, Y Combinator

Cashfree has raised a total of USD 42 Mn to date. Cashfree's investors are - Y Combinator, George Osborne (former Chancellor of Exchequer of the UK), Vellayan Subbiah (former MD of Cholamandalam Investment) and APIS Growth Fund II.

Cashfree plans to use the latest round of series B funding for research & development and for creating new product lines. The company will strengthen its team in India and expand into some of the emerging markets.

The investments have supported Cashfree’s ambitious growth plans including launching and rolling out new products. More recently, the company introduced Global Payouts which enables it to offer fintech, e-commerce marketplaces, logistics platforms, remote staffing platforms etc. based outside India, instant, simple, and cost-efficient rails for bulk cross border money transfers to India.

International businesses can use Cashfree's solution without having to set up a place of business in India. Cashfree also launched a payments toolkit for e-commerce stores and marketplaces in India. With a host of specific solutions, this product suite enables e-commerce businesses to collect payments on the website, mobile app or any social media channel using Cashfree’s payment gateway, and to process partial or full refunds, facilitate seller payouts, split payments with multiple sellers and affiliate partners, and more.


Indian Startups - Funding & Investors Data [April 2021 Updated]
Ideas, creativity, and execution are essential for a startup to flourish. Butare they enough? A startup succeeds in the long run only if it can scale as andwhen required. Investors provide startups and other entrepreneurial ventureswith the capital—popularly known as “funding”—to think big, grow …

Cashfree - Competitors

Payu, Paytm, CCAvenue - are considered to be the top competitors of Cashfree.


Paytm - An E-wallet that rules the world of Digital Payments!
This post has been approved by the organization it is based on. Nearly 1.7 million people in the world are unable to engage in the formalfinancial system. This imposes adverse effects on saving and investments.Cash-based transactions lack transparency and are also typically unsafe. Paytmbrought …

Cashfree - Recognition and Achievements

  • Akash Sinha, CEO and Co-Founder, Cashfree was listed in Forbes 30 under 30 2021
  • Cashfree secured as the 5th fastest growing technology company in Deloitte Technology Fast 50 India 2020  

Cashfree - FAQs

Who founded Cashfree?

Akash Sinha (CEO) and Reeju Dutta are the founders of Cashfree.

How does Cashfree make money?

Cashfree charges a fee of anywhere between 1.75% and 3% of the value of the transaction.

How much funding has Cashfree raised?

Cashfree has raised a total of USD 42 Mn to date. Its recent funding was led by Y Combinator and APIS growth fund II for USD 35.3 Mn as a series B round.

What is Cashfree?

Cashfree is a full stack payments solution. It helps Indian businesses accept and send money. It offers businesses the fastest and most seamless way to collect and disburse payments at scale.

How much is Cashfree's Revenue?

Cashfree reported revenue of around INR 100 crores in FY20 and a profit after tax of INR 20 crores. As of March 2020, Cashfree was processing over $12 billion in annualized payment volume.

Is Cashfree free?

NO. Cashfree charges a fee of anywhere between 1.75% and 3% of the value of the transaction. But, one can start a Cashfree trial with Free Credits and do Payment Gateway& Payouts transactions worth ₹3L each for free! (T&C)

Must have tools for startups - Recommended by StartupTalky

Subscribe to StartupTalky

Get the latest insights delivered to you right in your inbox

Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to StartupTalky.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to StartupTalky.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.
Grow your Skills and advance your career with LinkedIn Learning ->