Ecommerce giant Flipkart has tied up with HomeStop, HomeTown and @Home to introduce a new range of products from the brands. Flipkart currently claims to have over 1,000 brands and 700,000 home products in the category. Users will be able to buy DIY tools, furnishings and decor among other items under the same category from brands and their private labels. Flipkart plans to partner with other retailers across other categories to expand its product offering as well.
Flipkart currently claims to have over 30 million products across over 70 categories. After launching in 2007, the company expanded from being a bookstore to offer music, movies and games, with labels including Moser Baer, T-Series, BIG Video, Times Music, EMI and others on board in 2010. In the same year, it raised up to $10 million in funding from Tiger Global Management. It had then been on a hiring spree, expanding to around 200 employees.
Flipkart: A timeline
Newer categories added: The next year, it added Personal & Health, and Home Appliances categories, graduating from being a vanilla, online book seller to a big e-commerce portal, on the lines of international stores like Amazon and BestBuy. The same year, it began looking at digital distribution of music through its Flyte store. The company also added a new ‘Wallet’ feature to enable customers store money in their Flipkart account and redeem it on future purchases. In 2013, however, Flipkart had applied for, but had not been able to get a license for its Payzippy prepaid card service. They had to do this when they shifted from a direct to consumer ecommerce business to a marketplace model, because vendors (who were distributing to Flipkart), became “sellers”, and Flipkart became more a conduit than a seller, they could not allow third party payments without a semi closed prepaid wallet system, as per RBI regulations.
$31 million raised: It also raised $20 million in a fresh round of funding, from existing investor Tiger Global, bringing the total amount raised to $31 million at that point of time. (Fun figures: Flipkart’s income for the financial year ending 31st March 2010 was ~ Rs 11.61 crore, it reported a loss of Rs 91.27 lakh during the year 2009-10)
Digital music store Flyte: In 2012, Flipkart was to launch a digital music store called Flyte, after it acquired the Mumbai-based digital content platform company Mime360 which managed music streaming for labels like Saregama, Universal Music and Inreco and delivered music content to publishers like Gaana.com, Myusic and iMusti. In 2013, after shutting down its Flyte Music Store, Flipkart has shut down its Flyte brand altogether. In the same year, it raised $150 million in a fresh round of funding led by Naspers and existing investor Tiger Global.
One day delivery: In 2013, right after Amazon started offering one day delivery for products sold through their website, Flipkart also launched a similar service charged at Rs 90. At that time, one day delivery was available for products sold by WS Retail, which handled its front end retail operations, only. By then, Flipkart had raised a total $541 million from five rounds. It reported a loss of Rs 281.7 crore in the year ended March 2013, up from Rs 109.9 crore loss it reported in the previous year, despite a fivefold increase in revenue to more than Rs 1,180 crore from Rs 204.8 crore it reported in the previous year.
Naspers investment: In November last year, South African media company Naspers invested around $242.3 million in Flipkart, taking Naspers’ total investment in Flipkart to around $495.5 million with a stake of 16.6% on a fully diluted basis (post multiple rounds of investment). The company had raised $1.75 billion investment till then and was in talks to raise $500 – $600 million more. The next month, it announced a funding of $700 million from a clutch of investors, and with the number of shareholders exceeding 50, Singapore based Flipkart filed for conversion to a Public Company.
Myntra acquisition: Last year, Flipkart 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.
AdIQuity acquisition: In March this year, Flipkart acquired mobile advertising firm AdIQuity for an undisclosed amount, which would help Flipkart move into broader areas and foray into advertising. In the same month, Flipkart and Myntra shut down their mobile websites, redirecting users to Google’s Play Store and iOS’ App Store to download the application. In April, it acquired the mobile marketing startup Appiterate for an undisclosed sum. According to Flipkart, the deal would strengthen its mobile technology platform, in line with its ‘Mobile First’ focus.
Net Neutrality and Airtel Zero: In April, after Flipkart signed up with Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecom operator, on a platform called Airtel Zero, in order to allow companies to buy data to offer their apps to consumers for free. However, a week after intense flak from the public, it pulled out from its deal with Airtel Zero and said that it was committed to the larger cause of Net Neutrality in India and would be internally discussing the details of actions they would take to support the cause.
Image Credit: Flickr user Pawas Shrivastava