Monday 30 March 2015

Snapdeal buys e-commerce management firm Unicommerce

Online marketplace, promoted by Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd, has bought Unicommerce eSolutions Pvt. Ltd, an e-commerce management software and fulfilment solution provider, for an undisclosed amount, official documents show. Unicommerce will be merged with Jasper, according to documents filed with the registrar of companies.
Separately, Snapdeal is investing Rs.25 crore in its wholly owned logistics unit, Vulcan Express Pvt. Ltd, taking another step towards building a large, integrated logistics network. Vulcan currently manages transit warehouses for Snapdeal across the country, according to two people aware of the development. Snapdeal and Unicommerce did not respond to Mint’s queries. Softbank-funded Snapdeal has been on a shopping spree after it received $627 million from the Japanese investor in October. Earlier this month, it bought a 20% stake in logistics firm Gojavas for Rs.120 crore. The firm is also close to announcing the acquisition of online recharge and coupon portal Freecharge, Mint reported earlier this month. The acquisition of Unicommerce will help Snapdeal manage everything from vendors to inventory and from warehouse to shipment and returns. Mint reported on 18 December that Unicommerce was in talks with Snapdeal for a potential acquisition. Unicommerce, which currently provides its software to companies including Myntra, Snapdeal, Jabong, Groupon and HealthKart, has received investment from Nexus Venture Partners and Snapdeal founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal. Founded in 2012 by three graduates from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi—Ankit Pruthi, Karun Singla and Vibhu Garg—Unicommerce offers a pay-per-use Web-based solution that helps small merchants and e-commerce firms manage orders from the time they are placed till when products are delivered. Logistics is a key element of e-commerce and most large e-commerce firms such as Flipkart, Myntra and Amazon have their own last-mile logistics support in order to wield better control over the delivery time and experience. This helps these firms to deliver products fast, sometimes in less than a day. Until recently, Snapdeal had stayed away from putting in place its own in-house logistics, working with third-party delivery companies such as Blue Dart, GoJavas and Ecom Express. However, after the SoftBank investment in October, Snapdeal has moved fast to build a logistics network. Snapdeal plans to invest more than $150-200 million over the next year in supply chain and logistics, co-founder Bansal said on 17 March. The firm, which raised more than $1 billion last year from investors, is eyeing as many as five acquisitions in the technology space this year, Mint reported in February.
 The firm currently claims to offer close to 10 million products across over 500 categories on its platform, with over 40 million registered users. Online retail is expected to be worth $6 billion this year, a 70% increase over 2014 sales of $3.5 billion, according to technology researcher Gartner Inc. E-commerce represents less than 4% of the total retail market, according to a Gartner report published in October.

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