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Flipkart to go public

India’s largest e-commerce player Flipkart said it has closed a $700 million fresh financing round which saw new investors like Baillie Gifford, Greenoaks Capital, Steadview Capital, T Rowe Price Associates​ and Qatar Investment Authority get on board the seven-year-old venture. Its existing investors DST Global, GIC, ICONIQ Capital and Tiger Global, also participated in the latest fund-raise valuing Flipkart at around $11 billion, pre-money.

The new round catapults Flipkart right up into the top-tier of the world’s most valued privately-held tech startups like Uber, Snapchat, Airbnb and Dropbox. With this, Flipkart has raised around $2.5 billion in funding till date.

TOI had reported in its November 24 edition that the e-tailer had raised fresh capital of around $600 million giving it ammunition to fight out rivals Snapdeal and Amazon in a fiercely competitive online commerce market.

“As with previous funds raised, these funds will be used towards long-term strategic investments in India and to build a world-class technology company, delivering superior customer experiences,” a company statement said.

Significantly, Flipkart Limited, which is incorporated in Singapore, has filed with ACRA, the national regulator of business entities and public accountants in Singapore for conversion to a public company. This is a mandatory procedure for all companies where the number of shareholders exceeds 50. This filing ensures we are in compliance with the laws of Singapore and is in no way indicative of any upcoming IPO or of any corporate activity that the company is engaged in either in Singapore or any other part of the world, the statement said.

This is the third fund-raise for Flipkart this year having raised an eye-popping billion dollars in July valuing it at $7 billion then. Sources said the latest move was part of Flipkart’s regular fund-raising plans till it readies itself to go public on the US bourses in the next 36 months.

As reported by this newspaper, the company could raise anywhere between $2 billion and $3 billion within this time frame. Flipkart was founded by two ex-Amazon employees Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal (not related) — who were also batch mates at IIT-Delhi — as an online bookstore in Bangalore. Since then, the company has expanded to become a horizontal e-commerce player selling electronics, fashion and baby care, among many other categories.

In October this year, Japan’s SoftBank pumped $627 million into Delhi-based online retailer Snapdeal, signaling the investor exuberance around India’s consumer internet story buoyed by the rapid adoption of internet-enabled smartphones.

Flipkart has already hit a $4 billion revenue run rate, as reported earlier by TOI, on the back of exclusive tie-ups with mobile handset makers Motorola and Xiaomi, and its growing market share in the fashion category post its acquisition of Myntra.

 

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