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Flipkart To Invest In Logistics Arm eKart

Ramya GovindRaj

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Flipkart, India’s largest ecommerce site, reportedly infused another $ 257.3 million in its logistics services arm eKart. According to filings with Registrar of Companies, Flipkart raised this sum in multiple tranches between October and November last year. eKart is operated by Instakart Services Pvt., Ltd.

VCCircle reported the ecommerce firm raised close to $ 51.56 million in October last year. The company further raised the bulk of the investment amounting to $206.6 million in November 2017, in two tranches. The filings also revealed, eKart raised this capital by allocating equity shares worth Rs. 62.51 apiece to its Singapore based group firm Klick2Shop Logistics International Pvt., Ltd. Lick2Shop Logistics controls Instakart and is considered to be a subsidiary of Flipkart Pvt., Ltd.

In October last year, reports suggested eKart had earmarked $ 460.7 million in the form of a strategic reserve pool. In the RoC filings, the company said,“Considering the future requirements of the company whereby it may have to make strategic investments in other business/acquire companies for inorganic growth, extend loans and/ or guarantee to other corporates or provide security in connection with loans availed by other corporate. It is proposed to fix the limits at Rs. 3, 000 crores.

2017 was undoubtedly a good year for the homegrown online retailer. Flipkart set records and raised $ 4 billion from Japan based venture capital firm SoftBank. Despite a failed merger deal with rival Snapdeal, the ecommerce behemoth successfully relaunched their online food delivery arm Supermart in Bengaluru. The Chief Executive Officer of the ecommerce firm Kalyan Krishnamurthy told a news daily the company would now be focusing on increasing its monthly active users. 

In December, Flipkart also successfully completed the repurchase of employee stock options (ESOPs) worth $ 100 million. Krishnamurthy further added in the year 2018, the firm will also focus on developing the frequency of transactions and the number of times the Indian customer shops online in a year. Many market analysts estimate currently top online retailers such as Flipkart and Amazon have roughly 15 to 20 million active monthly customers.

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Ola Acquires Ridlr To Enhance Public Transport

Smruthi Kishore

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In an attempt to improve its navigation technology, homegrown cab conglomerate Ola, acquired transportation and traffic tracking app, Ridlr, for an undisclosed amount. With arch rival Uber racking in the big bucks, Ola made this acquisition to make sure it stands out on all fronts. The buyout comes shortly after Ola recently raised $ 1 billion, started its services abroad, acquired a food platform and shut down its bus unit, Ola Shuttle.

As a part of the acquisition, Ridlr’s workforce of 64 will merge with Ola, while co founder of Ridlr, Brijraj Vaghnani, will continue to lead the day to day operations. Currently operating in New Delhi and Mumbai, the traffic tracking app offers information on bus and train routes. Apart from this, the company also helps users book transportation for public services as well as track real time traffic.

Through the acquisition, Ola is aiming at building a seamless experience for commuters who use its service in conjunction with public transport services like buses, trains and the metro. Furthermore, the acquisition helps strengthen Ola’s efforts in making travelling a truly effortless experience. According to reports, both Ridlr and Ola believe this merger is going to enable multi modal mobility solutions for their users at a larger scale.

Rumours of an Ola and Ridlr tie up have been going around for quite a while. Now that the deal has gone through, Ola has made it clear it wants to uset the resources at hand to bring new technology and mobility options as it makes plans to take over the world one city at a time.

Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-Founder and CEO of Ola shared in a media statement that public transportation is a lifeline of millions of Indians and powering their needs like real-time information, mobile ticketing, cashless payments, and reliable services is bound to impact their end experience.”

“The challenge really is to make the entire ecosystem inclusive and robust for all. Ridlr, in a short span, has made huge strides in this space, and this latest acquisition lends muscle to our efforts in making transportation a far more holistic service,” he added. With this new relationship, it stands to see what Ola can achieve in the long run.

 

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SoftBank Team Up With GCL To Sponsor India’s Solar Venture

Smruthi Kishore

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SoftBank Group Corp has teamed up with the Chinese firm, GCL System Integration Technology Co Ltd., to invest $ 930 million in the field of solar energy in India. The venture aims at working on the photovoltaic technology used in solar panels. While GCL will provide the technology, SoftBank will assist in obtaining land and regulating approvals.

SoftBank said in 2015 that it would invest up to $ 20 billion along with Foxconn Technology Co Ltd., and Bharti Enterprises in solar projects in India, which has a goal of generating 100 gigawatts (GW) of power from solar by 2022. The new joint venture between GCL and SoftBank will eventually have a capacity of 4GW, with the implementation being carried out in 2GW installments.

The Japanese firm will hold 60% of the venture’s shares while GCl will hold the remaining 40%. Incidentally, SoftBank said it would invest in building the largest solar power project in Saudi Arabia. According to reports, this project is expected to cost around $ 200 billion and will have the capacity to produce around 200 GW by the year 2030.

Funding for this new venture will come from the SoftBank Vision Fund. The Fund consists of Apple Inc., Foxconn and a number of Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund among its brackets. As of last May, the Fund raised around $ 93 billion, thereby making it the largest private equity fund in the world. With the tech world booming, SoftBank has increased the number of investments it has been making.

In fact, it seems that with the passing of every week, the number of investments made by SoftBank has been increasing. Led by Recode 100 honoree, Masayoshi Son, the Japanese company has quite literally changed the startup landscape. While it is a hero to the startup world, it is quite the villain to the other venture capitalists. In fact, in the last year, SoftBank was involved in more than ten of the largest VC investments.

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Walmart To Invest In Flipkart. Should Amazon Be Worried?

Ramya GovindRaj

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The world’s biggest retailer, Walmart Stores Inc., is in talks to invest in homegrown ecommerce firm Flipkart to acquire a minority stake. According to people close to the development, the deal could be finalized as soon as March this year.

The retailer has reportedly started advanced talks to buy a 15% to 20% stake in Amazon.com Inc’s main competitor. The Economic Times reported, Walmart’s Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon along with ecommerce CEO Marc Lore and future CEO and President Judith McKenna visited Flipkart’s Bengaluru office early last week.

Both Flipkart and Walmart declined to comment regarding the rumors stating, “As a policy, we don’t comment on market speculation.” Walmart spokesperson added, McMillon had been in the country to review its three units in the country.

This potential investment by the retail giant in Flipkart could mar Amazon’s expansion in India. On the global front, Amazon acquired the 400 store network of Whole Foods last year. In India, Amazon has invested close to $ 3 billion in Amazon Seller Services in line with Jeff Bezos’ commitment to invest $ 5 billion in the Indian retail industry.

Walmart’s investment in Flipkart combined with backing from SoftBank could provide the homegrown ecommerce firm the firepower to capture the majority of the market share. In September last year, Walmart completed the $3 billion acquisition of Jet.com following which the company further acquired 15 startups seeking talent and technology to make it a dominant online player as well.

Last year, Flipkart claimed to have a higher sale during the festive season sale, beating Amazon for the top spot. Although Amazon refuted the claim, Flipkart reported a 43% rise in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) for the six months quarter which ended on 30 September 2017. Amazon Inc., on the other hand, claims it is the second largest player in traffic, accounting for 58% traffic on personal computers, 129% on mobile web and has 52% more app downloads.

The Indian food retail industry has been gaining a lot of attention from international investors including Alibaba which is in talks to buy 40% stake in BigBasket. If Walmart’s investment in Flipkart goes through, the Indian ecommerce industry could see a significant change soon.

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