Flipkart raises $3.6bn of fresh funding

12 Jul 2021

Image: © burdun/Stock.adobe.com

This round brings the value of the Indian e-commerce giant to $37.6bn.

Indian online retailer Flipkart has raised $3.6bn of new funding in a pre-IPO round, bringing the firm’s value to $37.6bn.

The funding round was led by CPP Investments, GIC, Softbank and Walmart. Franklin Templeton, Tencent, and several sovereign wealth funds also participated.

Walmart currently owns more than three quarters of Flipkart, having bought a controlling stake in August 2018. The Bangalore-based company continues to lead the Indian e-commerce market, edging out Amazon.

Like Amazon, Flipkart began as an online bookstore before expending into general e-commerce, now hosting more than 300,000 sellers across India. It also has links to brick-and-mortar retail, working with 1.6m ‘kiranas’ – family-owned grocery stores – as part of its wholesale and delivery services.

The company is in the process of organising an IPO for later in 2021, and is reportedly considering listing in the US.

Commenting on the funding round, Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy said: “This investment by leading global investors reflects the promise of digital commerce in India and their belief in Flipkart’s capabilities to maximise this potential for all stakeholders.

Krishnamurthy continued: “We will continue to invest in new categories and leverage made-in-India technology to transform consumer experiences and develop a world-class supply chain.”

Judith McKenna, CEO of Walmart, added: “Kalyan and the team have put the Indian customer at the centre of everything and they have continued to innovate in the categories and services Indian customers want most, creating new jobs and growth opportunities for Indian entrepreneurs and small businesses alongside them.”

This investment round marks a return for Softbank, which sold its 20pc stake in Flipkart to Walmart in 2018. The company’s total valuation is now more than double what it was at that time.

Commenting on the move, Lydia Jett, a partner at Softbank Investment Advisors, said: “From our platform as one of the largest Asian e-commerce investors, Softbank has a broad lens on the fundamental trends shaping digital commerce in the region.

“The opportunity to meet consumer demand for high-quality selection at low prices and a young population make online consumption critical to India’s quest for the ‘$5trn economy’ that Flipkart’s growth story has been enabling.”

Jack Kennedy is a freelance journalist based in Dublin