India-based e-commerce shopping portal Flipkart announced Monday it has raised $3.6 billion in new funds from a group of investors, including one very big name: Walmart.
“Flipkart is a great business whose growth and potential mirrors that of India as a whole — that’s why we invested in 2018 and why we continue to invest today,” said Judith McKenna, president and CEO of Walmart International, a majority stakeholder in Flipkart since it bought a 77% stake in 2018.
Walmart, along with GIC, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Softbank Vision Fund 2, led the round that is rumored to be Flipkart’s pre-IPO funding. The company, now with a post-money valuation of $37.6 billion, reportedly has been pursuing going public in the United States with a blank-check firm since March.
Other participants in the round included Tencent, Willoughby Capital, Antara Capital, Franklin Templeton, Tiger Global and sovereign funds Qatar Investment Authority, DisruptAD and Khazanah Nasional Berhad.
McKenna said Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy and his team “have put the Indian customer at the center of everything and they have continued to innovate in the categories and services Indian customers want most, creating new jobs and growth opportunities for Indian entrepreneurs and small businesses alongside them. The quality of the investor group and valuation announced today is further confirmation of global confidence in Flipkart and its mission to transform commerce in India.”
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By 2034, India’s e-commerce industry is expected to surpass the United States to become the second-largest market in the world.
That growth is one reason why SoftBank is again investing in Flipkart. It had sold its shares to Walmart (NYSE:WMT) in 2018.
“SoftBank’s reinvestment in Flipkart is driven by our experience with and conviction in the company’s management team to continue addressing the needs of the Indian consumer in the decades to come,” said SoftBank Investment Advisors partner Lydia Jett.
“From our platform as one of the largest Asian e-commerce investors, SoftBank has a broad lens on the fundamental trends shaping digital commerce in the region. The opportunity to meet consumer demand for high-quality selection at low prices and a young population make online consumption critical to India’s quest for the ‘$5 trillion economy’ that Flipkart’s growth story has been enabling,” Jett said.
With these new funds, Flipkart plans to add more employees to its roster of 100,000 delivery people and invest in more last-mile delivery programs to handle its fast-growing consumer base that currently sits at 350 million registered Indian users.
Funding details: Flipkart
|Funding amount||$3.6 billion|
|Funding round||Private equity|
|Lead investors||GIC, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Softbank Vision Fund 2 and Walmart|
|Secondary investors||Tencent, Willoughby Capital, Antara Capital, Franklin Templeton, Tiger Global and sovereign funds Qatar Investment Authority, DisruptAD and Khazanah Nasional Berhad.|
|Business goals||Improve and add technology solutions, add market segments, expand delivery and business partners, grow registered users|
|Post-money valuation||$37.6 billion|
|Total funding||$12.6 billion|
Flipkart reportedly hopes to leverage technology in growing market segments like fashion to help small businesses, known as kiranas in India, compete with large enterprises. Flipkart recently launched its social commerce platform, Shopsy, which invigorates entrepreneurs to join the company’s network of 1.6 million kiranas.
“At Flipkart, we are committed to transforming the consumer internet ecosystem in India and providing consumers access and value. This investment by leading global investors reflects the promise of digital commerce in India and their belief in Flipkart’s capabilities to maximize this potential for all stakeholders,” said Krishnamurthy. “As we serve our consumers, we will focus on accelerating growth for millions of small and medium Indian businesses, including kiranas.
“We will continue to invest in new categories and leverage made-in-India technology to transform consumer experiences and develop a world-class supply chain,” he said.