E-commerce major Flipkart has officially confirmed that it has raised a massive $1 billion investment in a round co-led by existing investors Tiger Global & Naspers.
New investor Singapore government’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and existing investors DST Global, Tiger Global and Accel Partners have also participated in this round.
Flipkart CEO Sachin Bansal said they will be using this capital for strategic investments in technology and mobile platforms. “This investment helps us think really long term and take big bets”. The company will also be using the investment for acquisitions in the fashion, mobile apps, robotics and wearable segments among others.
This is the largest investment raised by an Internet company in India and probably one of the largest investment raised by an Internet company globally.
Interestingly, this investment comes on the heels of raising $210 million from DST Global and existing investors Tiger Global, Naspers, and Iconiq Capital in May this year and $360 million from Dragoneer Investment Group, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Sofina, Vulcan Capital, and Tiger Global late last year. Prior to this investment, the company had raised an overall $751 million investment until now.
Over the past months, Flipkart has been carrying out a series of initiatives to strengthen its position in the country, where the battle is now essentially between three key marketplaces: Amazon India which is aggressively rolling out more categories to its site, eBay-backed Snapdeal which has raised over $300 million investment, including a $100 million round from Temasek, BlackRock Inc., Myriad, Premji Invest and Tybourne in May this year and Flipkart. These include:
– Myntra acquisition: Earlier in May, it had acquired the online fashion store Myntra and had stated plans of investing upward of $100 million into Myntra in the near future. Post acquisition, Myntra CEO Mukesh Bansal had joined Flipkart board and is now heading Flipkart’s fashion business. (Our entire coverage of Flipkart-Myntra deal here)
– Hardware: Last month, Flipkart had forayed into self-branded Android tablets by launching a 7-inch Android tablet Digiflip Pro, quite similar to Amazon which offers Kindle Fire tablets and recently launched its own smartphone. However unlike Amazon, the company didn’t go to the extent of forking Android to build a separate operating system like Fire OS.
In terms of smartphones, the company has denied plans to launch its own smartphones, although it is inking exclusive tie-ups to sell mobile phones from companies like Motorola, Xiaomi, Karbonn and Alcatel among others. Earlier this month, Flipkart CEO Sachin Bansal had claimed that it had sold one million Motorola phones in five months since Motorola’s re-entry to India.
However, the site has been repeatedly crashing unable to cope up with the demand for Xiaomi Mi3 phone which went on sale earlier this week. Hopefully, Flipkart will be able to use this investment to fix this issue.
– Subscription Services: Flipkart launched an Amazon Prime-like subscription service called Flipkart First last month. It is priced at Rs 500 per year and provides free next day delivery, discounted same day delivery, free shipping and priority customer service among others. Flipkart First subscribers also got early access to the Mi3 sale earlier this week.
It also launched a student-focused subscription service called Flipkart Students which claims to offer additional discounts on products across various categories to students along with a 50% discount on its Flipkart First subscription service. Students could sign up for the service by sending a scanned image of their student ID along with requisite details like phone number, age and expected month or year of graduation to Flipkart.
– New Categories: Last week, Flipkart introduced a new e-learning vertical, thereby foraying into services segment. This section offers e-learning material, certification courses and online tests from brands like Career Launcher, Edurite, EduKart, EasySkillz, Meritnation, TCY Online and Practice Guru to students in schools, colleges and those preparing for competitive exams.
Earlier in the month, it also launched a sexual wellness category, offering sexual wellness products from brands like Durex, Moods, Manforce and Skore among others.