India’s largest bank The State Bank of India has bought a 20% stake in a technology service provider – A Little World Pvt Ltd (ALW) for Rs.80 Cr, which values A Little World Pvt Ltd at Rs.400 Crore. Other prominent PE Investors in A Little World Pvt Ltd include Enam Financial, Bellweather Microfinance Fund, India Financial Inclusion Fund, and Legatum Ventures.
A Little World Pvt Ltd is the developer of ZERO, India’s first domestic payment system which focuses on reaching out to masses with the lowest available communication infrastructure. A Little World recently announced that the number of people using its services recently crossed 3 million. The company also claims to have helped banks open more than 60 lakh no-frills accounts through the more than 10,000 micro branches that it operates out of grocery shops and through individuals.
A Little World has also partnered with Zero Microfinance and Savings Support Foundation, a non-profit organization that works with self-help groups and entrepreneurs to establish local operators in rural villages and trains them to conduct banking transactions.
Speaking to the Financial Chronicle, one of the founders and promoters said ” SBI bought a 20 percent equity stake in ALW and henceforth we will undertake the majority of work for SBI in future. Considering the enormous work that SBI plans to undertake, there will be no time to work for other banks. At present, we have a tie-up with 24 other banks, they will be phased out gradually and some might continue to remain with us.”