Close to 11 years ago, when the Indian ecommerce ecosystem was still in the nascent stages, one company, with an investment of Rs. 4, 00,000 did not know it would become India’s leading ecommerce player. Launched by IIT Delhi alumnus Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, today, Flipkart is valued at $11.6 billion. Slowly but surely, the firm gained investors such as Tiger Global Management, Tencent Holdings and Naspers.
But, the company faced some major competition in these ten years. From Snapdeal to eBay, the Bengaluru based ecommerce firm fought tooth and nail to gain a majority of the Indian online retail market. After a long drawn out battle, last year Flipkart and India’s next ecommerce major Snapdeal almost joined hands to become one entity. However, the deal didn’t come through as the Gurgaon based startup, Snapdeal, wanted to pursue an ‘independent path.’ The silver lining of this merger was Flipkart gained one of it’s biggest shareholders after ending the merger talks with Snapdeal. With backing from Japan’s venture firm SoftBank, US based Microsoft and eBay among other investors, Flipkart was finally prepared to take on the world. However, the company faced a bigger threat in the form of the American retail giant Amazon led by Jeff Bezos.
The Flipkart versus Amazon battle was always present from the very word go. The real war, however, started back in 2015, when both Flipkart and Amazon decided to move into the online smartphone market. At that point, Amazon lost its foothold in the Chinese market, with other ecommerce platforms figuring out they could do what Amazon was doing in a faster and cheaper way.
With that happening on the side, founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, decided to do whatever it takes to keep their foothold strong in the Indian market. This included signing a cheque worth $ 2 billion to anyone who stood in its way! While this matter in itself was worrisome for Flipkart, the fact that Amazon was entering into the world of smartphones made things exciting.
Over the years, the Flipkart and Amazon war gave rise to a lot of exciting eyeballs, making everyone stand on edge with excitement. Flipkart wanted to be the reason Indians bought products on the Internet. Its focus on technology to solve product ecommerce for the domestic market put it in a league of its own. Even the storied Indian IT and BPO industry derived nearly 90% of its profitable revenues from global enterprise clients.
What makes the two ecommerce platforms stand neck to neck is the fact that the number of coders, as well as the technology used by both the companies. Refined to its core, this battle is a classic “homegrown pioneer vs. giant multinational” story on the grounds of Nirma vs. Hindustan Lever, Thums Up vs. Coca Cola, or Mahindra & Mahindra vs. Toyota Motors; with technology as the mid ground. Flipkart has the scale and local footprint. Amazon has staying power and a platform it has seasoned globally for 21 years.
With SoftBank’s recent investment into Flipkart, the battle stands at an interesting level. As of 2017, the homegrown ecommerce platform raised $ 3.9 billion in two rounds of funding from SoftBank and Tencent. At such a time, even the idea of a potential investment from the biggest retail giant, USA based Walmart would give the boost it requires to beat Amazon once and for all. However, before that could happen Amazon decided to show its hand in the game as well. The Seattle based company recently offered Flipkart a breakup fee of $ 2 billion to convince it to discuss an offer which analysts say would bring with it substantial antitrust challenges, as Flipkart and Amazon dominate the online shopping space in Asia’s third largest economy. Furthermore, Amazon is interested in buying about 51 to 55 % stake in the ecommerce platform. Whichever way the deal plays out, it is safe to say Flipkart has garnered a great deal of attraction from the international ecommerce marketplace.
Whether the deal goes through between Flipkart Amazon.com Inc., or with Walmart and Flipkart, it will be the biggest deal made by a US based company in terms of buying out another similar online platform. Regardless of how this flips, it would also be a win win situation for the Indian ecommerce company!
Elon Musk Works 120 Hours a Week, Stays In Factory For 4 Days
In an interview with The New York Times, Elon Musk said he has been working 120 hours a week. It is more than three times the national average work week, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As the CEO of two major companies, Tesla and SpaceX, Musk seems to be having a hard time delegating his work. This is making him overworked.
“The classic problem as an entrepreneur is that they have a hard time delegating,” Robert Pozen senior lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management. “But that’s really crazy. Recruiting other executives is critical, so is dealing with customers and dealing with regulators. Those are functions that only the top founders can do.”
Silicon Valley has been criticized for glorifying overworking. “A culture of overwork is damaging because it turns brief binges of hard work into a long-term strategy, and, worse still, an expectation. When managers start measuring the worth of their employees according to how quickly they return emails at 3 a.m., that particular work culture is broken,” said Adam Alter, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business.
Musk realised that this behaviour is harmful and has been affecting his life drastically.
“There were times when I didn’t leave the factory for three or four days – days when I didn’t go outside,” Musk said. “This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids. And seeing friends.”
Elon Musk also revealed that he has not been on vacation since 2001, he has spent his most recent birthday at work. Musk added, he has trouble sleeping “it is often a choice of no sleep or Ambien.”
It has been reported that the Tesla executives are looking for a number two, to take on some of Musk’s daily responsibilities. Musk said that he is not aware of this search and has no plans to step away from his many roles at Tesla.
As the CEO of two major companies, Musk is known to keep an intense daily routine. Inc. previously reported that the CEO ignores most phone calls, abstains from getting stuck dealing with emails, and breaks his entire day into a series of five-minute slots. But apparently, he’s still there for 120 hours a week.
Google Parent invests $ 375 Million In Oscar Health
Google’s parent company, Alphabet has invested $ 375 million in an insurance startup company, Oscar Health.
Post the investment, Alphabet will own 10% of the stake in the startup. Alphabet through its venture firm CapitalG and the life sciences division Verily participated in a $ 165 million funding round for Oscar Health.
Founded in 2012, Oscar Health is a technology-focused health insurance company that is headquartered in New York City.
Oscar Health co-founder and CEO Mario Schlosser said, “it’s fantastic for us because it will really allow us to focus fully on the core model we’ve been building for the past 6 years, which is: use technology, use data, use design, use a human approach to build a very different health care experience,”
The startup offers health coverage through ObamaCare in six states. Oscar Health is planning to introduce new innovation like providing a “concierge” team, which includes a nurse. The nurse will help the people enrolled to find suitable doctors.
Schlosser announced the news in an interview, “We can hire more engineers, we can hire more data scientists, more product designers, more smart clinicians who can think about health care a different way. It’s the acceleration of that product roadmap that fascinates us the most. The second, more tangible piece, is that we’re launching new product lines.”
The co founder of Oscar Health, is Josh Kushner, the brother of Jared Kushner. Jared Kushner is Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser. This relationship is quite intriguing looking at Oscar Health’s participation in ObamaCare.
Schlosser in an interview said Josh Kushner’s connection to Trump “does not affect what we do.” He added, “Whatever happened in the press, whatever happens on the regulatory side, I have personally always thought, and I think the company shares in this, that if we have something that leads to lower costs and happier members in some shape or form we’ll be able to turn this into a successful company.”
How IKEA India Is Different
IKEA, the largest furniture retailer, finally launched their showroom in India after a fair amount of struggle. The opening was initially intercepted in 2006 due to the Indian restrictions on foreign investment. The rules were later relaxed.
When it finally opened on 9 August, a staggering number of 40,000 customers visited the store on the first day.
— ANI (@ANI) August 10, 2018
The Swedish Ambassador, Klas Molin, attended the opening ceremony along with the Chief Minister of Telengana, K Taraka Rama Rao.
Situated on a 13 acre land on the outskirts of Hyderabad with over 7,500 products on sale, IKEA expects over six million consumers to visit the store every year. By employing over 950 people at its Hyderabad store, IKEA aims at creating over 1,500 additional jobs.
Ikea’s first India store looks like this.
— BloombergQuint (@BloombergQuint) August 8, 2018
To suit the Indian market, the Swedish brand has made various alterations as the average annual salary in India is less than $2000. The changes include the sale of idli making appliances, as well as spice boxes for people who, according to John Achillea, Store Manager, have “big aspirations for their homes and small wallets.” For example, a cutlery set for kids costs only Rs. 131. There are over 1,000 items on sale for less than Rs. 200.
— BBC Business (@BBCBusiness) August 9, 2018
The store includes a 1,000-seat cafeteria that is among the largest in India. There have been changes made to the classic IKEA menu. For example, the Swedish meatballs have been replaced by Samosas, Biryani, and Dal Makhani.
The lack of “Do It Yourself” (DIY) culture and the abundant amount of cheap labour available, the company has partnered with UrbanClap, an application that connects handymen with customers, to provide more services.
IKEA plans to expand in India over the next few years with stores in Bangalore, Mumbai and a suburb of New Delhi. It has invested over Rs. 10 billion and plans to hire over 15,000 employees in the country by 2025. IKEA said half of its Indian team of workers would be women.
IKEA is going to revolutionise the furniture industry as most of the Indian consumers buy non-brand furniture. Its major competitors currently range from Godrej Interio, Future Group’s HomeTown to Durian Furnitures.
Spotted this morning on the conveyor belt at Hyderabad airport: lots of #Ikea cartons. All empty. Just announcing that the first Ikea store in India opens today! How cool is that. Take a bow – whoever thought of this innovation. And welcome to India @IKEAIndia pic.twitter.com/9YkrTgdZtq
— Prakash Iyer (@prakashiyer) August 9, 2018
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