Sunday 19 March 2017

Flipkart could get much awaited capital; eBay’s proposed participation raises hopes of second innings
There is finally a glimmer of good fortune for Indian ecommerce bellwether Flipkart. The company has found investors who are contemplating an investment of $1.5 billion. The figure is close to what the company had expected to raise. After its series of devaluations, Flipkart is finally having some good turns.
American ecommerce firm eBay and Chinese investment company Tencent are reportedly the chief participants. An anonymous insider confirmed this,
“Talks with eBay are at an advanced stage, and a strategic deal may include Flipkart acquiring or merging their India operations.”
eBay is planning to put about $ 400-500 million. However, Tencent’s figures are not known, as a third-party investor is also likely to be roped in. Flipkart’s major investor Tiger Global’s role in the funding is not clear.

Good for everyone

Sreedhar Prasad, partner for ecommerce and startups, KPMG India says that the move will benefit the overall health of Indian ecommerce. He says,
“The current round of funding will provide a much-needed boost and improve the sentiment towards ecommerce and the overall startup sector in India. Apart from the company, the ecommerce ecosystem partners such as logistics companies and others will benefit.”

The road to raising funds appears rocky

Flipkart’s funding rounds so far are as follows:
  • Tiger Global invested a total of $ 30 million between 2010 and 2011.
  • The company got a total of $ 360 million in 2013 in Series E funding rounds.
  • It raised $ 1 billion in 2014 from Tiger Global and others.
  • Later that year, it got $ 700 million from Qatar Investment Authority, Greenoaks Capital and others in a Series H round.
  • In 2015, it was looking at $ 550 million from Tiger Global and others. It got $ 700 million from private equity.
  • Late last year, the company considered approaching investment banks to raise capital.
  • The company is working hard to increase its valuation so that it gets a significant amount.

eBay’s second innings

Everyone knows that eBay did not impress Indian shoppers despite its early entry into the market. Sellers too felt that selling on eBay wasn’t rewarding enough. It tried to wiggle back in to deal with the competition (better services, introducing a concierge service on Twitter, trying its hand at fashion-), but the attempts remain unsuccessful. Perhaps its investment idea could help both Flipkart and itself.

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