Banking tech startup Zeta is inching closer to the much sought-after unicorn status as it engages with investors to finalize a new round, two sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.
SoftBank Vision Fund 2 is in advanced stages of talks to lead a ~$250 million Series D round in the five-year-old startup, the sources said. The investment proposal values the Indian startup, co-founded by high-profile entrepreneur Bhavin Turakhia, at over $1 billion, up from $300 million in its maiden external funding (Series C) in 2019.
The round has yet to close, a third person said.
A SoftBank spokesperson declined to comment.
Five-year-old Zeta helps banks launch modern retail and fintech products. The thesis is that banks -- largely operating on antiquated technologies -- today don't have the time and expertise to offer the best experience to hundreds of millions of customers and fintech firms they serve.
Zeta is attempting to help banks either use the startup's cloud-native, API-first banking stack as its core framework or build services atop it to offer better a experience to all customers -- think of improved mobile app and debit and credit features. It also offers API, SDKs and payment gateways to banks to work more efficiently with fintech firms.
The startup has amassed clients in several Asian and Latin American markets.
Turakhia, with his brother Divyank, started his first venture in 1998. Along the way, they sold four web companies to Endurance for $160 million. Zeta is the third startup Bhavin has co-founded since then -- the other being business messaging platform Flock and Radix.
When the deal is finalized, Zeta would join a growing list of Indian startups that have turned a unicorn in recent months. Last week, social commerce Meesho -- also backed by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 -- fintech firm CRED, e-pharmacy firm PharmEasy, millennials-focused Groww, business messaging platform Gupshup and social network ShareChat attained the unicorn status.
The story was updated with additional details and to note that the round hasn't closed.