India’s largest consumer e-commerce firm Flipkart Online Services Pvt Ltd, which runs Flipkart.com, has completed its fourth round of funding, raising an undisclosed amount from two new investors, MIH (part of Naspers Group) and ICONIQ Capital, besides participation from existing investors Tiger Global and Accel Partners.
The Bangalore-based company did not say if MIH led the series D round of funding but disclosed it would get a board seat as part of the transaction.
Naspers is a South Africa-based multinational group of media and e-commerce platforms, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. ICONIQ Capital is a global multi-family office, headquartered in San Francisco, California. It has been founded by three Morgan Stanley employees – Divesh Makan, Michael Anders and Chad Boeding, and counts Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Mark Pincus as its clients.
“The money raised in this round will be invested in expanding supply chain capacities, launching new categories and in growing the talent pool to continue building upon our leadership position,” said Flipkart CFO Karandeep Singh.
Sachin Bansal, co-founder and CEO of Flipkart.com, said in a statement, “We are excited to complete this round of funding, which would fuel our growth plans and help us achieve our stated ambition of hitting $1 billion in gross merchandise value by 2015.”
Flipkart, which clocked Rs 500 crore ($90 million) in revenue for the year ended March 31, 2012, had previously raised $31 million from Tiger Global Management and Accel Partners besides a few angel investors. Tiger Global, a privately owned hedge fund sponsor that also specialises in investing in early-stage companies and startups, has put in the bulk of the money in the previous rounds of funding.
Although the quantum of the funds raised have not been disclosed, the firm was eyeing up to $150 million in the Series D round as first reported by VCCircle in July 2011.
Last June, Flipkart raised $20 million in Series C funding, led by Tiger Global.
With the latest round, Flipkart has arguably become the most heavily funded e-commerce firm in the country, ahead of names like Snapdeal (raised $53 million in three rounds), Fashionandyou (raised $48 million in two rounds) and Myntra ($39 million).
In the OTA space, companies like Yatra has raised over $60 million while NASDAQ-listed MakeMyTrip has raised over $100 million through a string of VC/PE rounds of funding besides its initial public offering and a follow-on-offering.
Flipkart has been aggressively expanding its product basket and in the recent past, added a host of new categories including toys, beauty & care, watches, belts, bags & luggage, pens & stationery and more besides the digital music store Flyte. It has even made a low-key entry into private label with digital accessories under the Digiflip brand and currently offers products such as laptop bags and camera pouches.
Flipkart hit a new milestone and clocked Rs 100 crore in gross merchandise value shipped in a month for the first time in June this year. The jump is from an average of around Rs 42 crore from the last financial year. It had also clocked Rs 500 crore in gross sales for the 12 months ended March 31, 2012.
Naspers’ India story
For Naspers, this comes as yet another exposure in Indian consumer Internet business. The firm, which was started almost a century ago, has evolved a lot over the past two decades – from a traditional print media business in one country to a broad-based e-media company across multiple markets.
Its principal operations are in internet platforms (focusing on commerce, communities, content, communication and games), pay television and the provision of related technologies and print media (including publishing, distribution and printing of magazines, newspapers and books). The group’s most significant operations are located in emerging markets including South Africa and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa, China, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and India.
In India, it picked stake in OLX from a string of venture capital investors, including Nexus Venture Partners, among others.
It also controls ibibo (or MIH India, a joint venture with Chinese internet firm Tencent), which has various properties including the OTA Goibibo. The MIH Group also owns a clutch of other e-commerce ventures in India including online shopping site Tradus.in and the payment gateway Payu.in.
It had acquired a majority stake in auto classifieds site Gaadi.com in February 2011 and most recently, picked a majority stake in six-year-old Gurgaon-based travel company Tek Travels, which runs the B2B travel portal Travel Boutique Online.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)