Sameer Ranjan Bakshi
South African technology investor Naspers pumped in an additional $71 million to acquire additional interest in India’s home grown e-commerce firm Flipkart, taking its holdings in the company to 16.5%. Naspers first invested in Flipkart in 2012 when the latter raised its series D round of funding. Naspers was the lead investor at that time. Two years later, Naspers along with Tiger Global led a $1 billion investment into Flipkart during the series G round in July 2014. While the additional infusion of funds would help Flipkart compete with bigger rival Amazon, Naspers in its annual result statement said, “The group’s Indian etail associate, Flipkart, remains a large opportunity, with market estimates expecting the online retail market in India to reach $50 billion by 2020.”
It qualified its optimism on Flipkart by adding, “Competition has intensified in the past year, with Amazon gaining market share in the early part of the year”. As per Naspers’ estimates, Flipkart’s share in monthly gross merchandise value that fell to 45% in June 2016 increased to 55% in March 2017. Naspers has clubbed Flipkart along with PayU and MakeMyTrip and classified them in a group that it called ‘companies that are 3-5 years away from full potential.’
Naspers hold about 33% stake in China’s largest internet service platform, Tencent, that along with Microsoft and eBay, pumped in $1.4 billion in Flipkart. Naspers also has a 29% stake in leading Russian internet company, Mail.ru group. Coincidentally, the founder of Mail.ru group, Yuri Milner had invested in Flipkart in 2014.
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In June 2017, the group invested Rs 3.9 billion (approximately US $60 million) in Bundl Technologies (Swiggy), the operator of a first food delivery service in India. Following the investment, the group holds a 14.8% interest in Swiggy on a fully diluted basis. The group also recently invested an additional $132 million in MakeMyTrip in May 2017, as part of an equity funding round. Following the investment, the group holds a 40% interest in MakeMyTrip on a fully diluted basis.