Freecharge - The best deals and cashbacks are right here

Back in 2010, nobody even had the slightest of thought that like you can share videos over the internet, one would also be able to carry monetary transactions over the phone, at just one click. Amongst the early ones to exploit this idea and pioneer the evolution of digital payments were Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tandon by launching Freecharge in 2010.

Company Name Freecharge
Headquarter Mumbai
Sector Ecommerce
Founders Kunal Shah, Sandeep Tandon
Founded 2010
Website freecharge.in

Freecharge - About and how it works
Freecharge - Founders and Team
Freecharge - How did it start?
Freecharge - Startup Launch
Freecharge - Competitors
Freecharge - Funding and Investors
Freecharge - Growth
Freecharge - Mergers and Acquisitions

Freecharge - About and how it works

Freecharge Logo
Freecharge Logo

Freecharge is a digital payment portal that enables users to do activities as mobile recharges, pay bills, etc. The interesting part starts here- Freecharge is backed by solid Cashback offers from various Indian Retailers both Online and Offline. Freecharge is one of the most promising startups in Indian history.

At the application, payments are done under 10 seconds which drives the vision of the company successfully of enabling customers with world-class and less time-consuming services, that too coupled with cashback and offers which leads to amazing customer experience.


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Freecharge - Founders and Team

  • Kunal Shah, Co-founder- Kunal is an entrepreneur in the truest form. He is an MBA dropout by choice from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy from the Wilson College and got into the buying selling dynamic way early. He decided not to join his family business and joined as a Programmer in a BPO firm. There on, he funded himself for 14 years selling Pirated CDs, Cards, etc. Kunal is also an investor. He has invested in 40-50 startups like TableHero, Razorpay, LifCare, and Zilingo.
  • Sandeep Tandon, Co-founder- Sandeep Tandon is a technology entrepreneur and also an angel investor. He has done his bachelors and masters from the University of South California. To this day, he is amongst the board of members of CRED, a partner at Whiteboard Capital to only name a few of his ventures.

Freecharge - How did it start?

All of this happened around 2009 when Kunal decided to sign the papers and start his own venture called Paisaback. Paisaback was created by him on the grounds of Cash Back in those days. The idea was to tie up with localized centers of companies like McDonald’s, Barista Coffee, Dominos, Croma to offer great cashback deals to the customers which were referred by his venture, Paisaback.

Though the idea was brilliant, it didn’t last long. It primarily got defeated by online players like Mysmartprice, CouponDunia, and others. And eventually, he realized that for this idea to work, the conventional business models have to come to an end and he will have to come up with something new to disrupt the system. This fueled his entrepreneurial spirit and he went on to design a profitable model for Freecharge leaving Paisaback behind.

Freecharge - Startup Launch

After Paisaback, Kunal drew an insight that recharges were the new black. He researched a bit and found that 95% of invoices of a mobile store belonged to recharges. Both the co-founders then got into the development of the product.

Sandeep being an engineer, both of them had a great experience while developing the product. And finally, Freecharge was launched on Aug 15, 2011. One of their initial partners were McDonald’s and which helped them grow rapidly.

Freecharge - Competitors

Right after they launched, in 2012, the competition sky-rocketed through other applications such as Rechargeitnow and PayTM. And then in 2015, the competition ramped up as mobile phones took over as the preferred medium. And that time, 80% of the Freecharge transactions were taking place on mobiles. They had to find a new way forward to prevent the company from fizzling out.

Freecharge - Funding and Investors

The startup economy knew that Freecharge will hit it high when Sequoia Capital, India’s one of the biggest investors, decided to invest in the company for its seed funding round in 2010. The amount still remains undisclosed.

Between 2011 to 2017, Freecharge took up 6 additional rounds of funding, roping in $177.6 million in total, which clearly marked them as the startup darling. Over this course, Freecharge had six prominent investors namely Sequoia Capital India, RTP global, Snapdeal, Valiant Capital Partners, and Sofina.


Also Read: Save on Everything with Latest Deals, Offers and Coupons from GrabOn


Freecharge - Growth

  • Started with recharges and paying utility bills. Expanded and made couponing a possibility in 2012.
  • From having McDonald's, Dominoes, and CCD on board for redeeming coupons to e-commerce platforms such as BookMyShow, Jabong, and Myntra, Freecharge grew with the trends
  • Average daily transactions- More than 40,000
  • Average daily transaction value- More than 60,000,00
  • Total wallet holders on Freecharge- 52 million

Freecharge - Mergers and Acquisitions

  • In 2015, Freecharge was acquired by Snapdeal for $400 Million which comes to ₹2600 Crore. This was the second-largest acquisition after Goibibo’s acquisition of MakeMyTrip.
  • In early 2019, Axis Bank acquired Freecharge. This acquisition got Freecharge out of the shackles of a struggling owner like Snapdeal. And Axis bank got access to the vast wallet holders of Freecharge.
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About Vidhi Punamiya

  • Mumbai