Flipkart

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Flipkart is an e-commerce company founded in 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. It is registered in Singapore and it operates in India, where it is headquartered in Bangalore, Karnataka. Flipkart has launched its own product range under the name “DigiFlip” with products including tablets, USBs, and laptop bags.

In May 2014, Flipkart received $210 million from DST Global, in July 2014 it raised $1 billion led by existing investors Tiger Global and South Africa’s media group Naspers and in May 2015 it raised $550 million from some of its existing investors. Flipkart’s last fundraising round in May 2015 had pegged its valuation at $15 billion.

History


Flipkart (Company) was founded in 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, both alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. They had been working for Amazon.com previously. The business was formally incorporated as a company in October 2007 as Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd. The first product sold by them was the book Leaving Microsoft To Change The World, bought by VVK Chandra from Andhra Pradesh. Flipkart now employs more than 16000 people. Flipkart allows payment methods such as cash on delivery, credit or debit card transactions, net banking, e-gift voucher and card swipe on delivery.

Acquisitions

  • 2010: WeRead, a social book discovery tool.
  • 2011: Mime360, a digital content platform company.
  • 2011: Chakpak.com, a Bollywood news site that offers updates, news, photos and videos. Flipkart acquired the rights to Chakpak’s digital catalogue which includes 40,000 filmographies, 10,000 movies and close to 50,000 ratings. Flipkart has categorically said that it will not be involved with the original site and will not use the brand name.
  • 2012: Letsbuy.com, an Indian e-retailer in electronics. Flipkart has bought the company for an estimated US$25 million. Letsbuy.com was closed down and all traffic to Letsbuy has been diverted to Flipkart.
  • 2014: Acquired Myntra.com in an estimated 20 billion (2,000 crore, about US$319 million) deal.
  • 2015: Flipkart acquires a Bangalore-based global mobile network AdiQuity for an undisclosed amount.
  • 2015: Flipkart acquires a mobile marketing start-up Appiterate as to strengthen its mobile platform.

Finance


Initially, they had spent 400,000 only for making website to set up the business. Flipkart has later raised funding from venture capital funds Accel India (US$1 million in 2009) and Tiger Global (US$10 million in 2010 and US$20 million in June 2011). On 24 August 2012, Flipkart announced the completion of its 4th round of $150 million funding from MIH (part of Naspers Group) and ICONIQ Capital. The company announced, on 10 July 2013, that it has raised an additional $200 million from existing investors including Tiger Global, Naspers, Accel Partners and Iconiq Capital.

Flipkart’s reported sales were 40 million in FY 2008–2009, 200 million in FY 2009–2010 and 750 million for FY 2010–2011. In FY 2011–2012, Flipkart is set to cross the 5 billion (US$100 million) mark as Internet usage in the country increases and people get accustomed to making purchases online. Flipkart projects its sales to reach 10 billion by year 2014. On average, Flipkart sells nearly 10 products per minute and is aiming at generating a revenue of 50 billion (US$0.81 billion) by 2015.

On November 2012, Flipkart became one of the companies being probed for alleged violations of FDI regulations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999

Flipkart reported a loss of 281 crore for the FY 2012-13. In July 2013, Flipkart raised USD 160 million from private equity investors.

In October 2013, it was reported that Flipkart had raised an additional $160 million from new investors Dragoneer Investment Group, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Sofina SA and Vulcan Inc. with participation from existing investor Tiger Global.

On 26 May 2014, Flipkart announced that it has raised $210 million from Yuri Milner’s DST Global and its existing investors Tiger Global, Naspers and Iconiq Capital.

In early July 2014, it was also highly speculated that Flipkart was in negotiations to raise at least $500 million, for a likely listing in the US for 2016.

On 29 July 2014, Flipkart announced that it raised $1 billion from Tiger Global Management LLC, Accel Partners, and Morgan Stanley Investment Management and a new investor Singapore sovereign-wealth fund GIC.

On 6 October 2014, Flipkart sold products worth INR 650Crore in 10 hours in a special one-day event – “The Big Billion Day”, claiming they had created e-commerce history, but their hard-won reputation for good customer service suffered because of technical problems, and angry reactions on social media from buyers disappointed with the pricing and availability of products. It claimed to sell a whopping 5 lakh mobile handsets, five-lakh clothes and shoes and 25,000 television sets within hours of opening its discounted sale at 8 AM. In December 2014, After it received $700 million from another funding, Flipkart had a market cap of $11 billion or Rs.66000 crore.

On 20 December 2014, Flipkart announced filing application with Singapore-based companies’ regulator ACRA to become a public company after raising USD 700 million for long term strategic investments in India following which its number of investors exceeded 50. The USD 700 million fund raised by Flipkart added new investors – Baillie Gifford, Greenoaks Capital, Steadview Capital, T. Rowe Price Associates and Qatar Investment Authority – on company’s board.Its existing investors DST Global, GIC, ICONIQ Capital and Tiger Global also participated in this latest financing round.

Flyte Digital Music Store


In October and November 2011, Flipkart acquired the websites Mime360.com and Chakpak.com. Later, in February 2012, the company revealed its new Flyte Digital Music Store. Flyte, a legal music download service in the vein of iTunes and Amazon.com, offered DRM-free MP3 downloads. But it was shut down on 17 June 2013 as paid song downloads did not get popular in India due to the advent of free music streaming sites.

Exclusive product launches


Motorola Mobility, previously owned by Google but then sold to Lenovo, in an exclusive tie up with Flipkart launched its budget smartphone Moto G in India on 5 February 2014. Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page). The Moto G success story, led to another exclusive tie up between Flipkart & Motorola Mobility, who launched their flagship Android smartphone, the Moto X on 19 March 2014. After Moto G and Moto X, Flipkart invited the Moto E, the newest member of Moto family which is even cheaper than Moto G on 13 May 2014. The sale of high-end smartphone Xiaomi Mi3 produced by Xiaomi Tech was launched in India on an exclusive tie-up with Flipkart. The first batch was sold out within 39 minutes on 22 July 2014, the second in 5 seconds on 29 July 2014. The sale was proceeded on pre-registration mode where more than 150 000 buyers booked for the 5 August 2014 sale. This got sold off in less than 2 seconds. Following this Xiaomi Tech decided to sell 20,000 pieces in the next sale scheduled for 12 August 2014. On 2 September 2014 Flipkart held a flash sale of the budget Android smartphone the Xiaomi Redmi 1S which was launched in India in July 2014. 40, 000 units priced at Rs 5999 each were sold within seconds. In the second round of Xiaomi Redmi 1S sale held on Sept 9, 2014, 40,000 units were sold within a span of 4.5 seconds, slightly longer than the first sale, which lasted just 4.3 seconds. Third round of Redmi 1S sale held on Sept 16, 2014 with again 40,000 units sold in fastest of all 3.4 seconds. In the 4th round of sale of Redmi 1S held on Sept 23, 2014, Flipkart put more units this time, 60,000 units go out of stock in 5.2 seconds. In the latest Flash sale held on Sept 30, 2014, once again 60,000 units Go out of stock in 13.9 seconds. Redmi Note in India exclusively through Flipkart. The first flash sale of 50,000 Redmi Note devices held on 2 December 2014 and all the devices sold out in mere 6 seconds, just like all the earlier flash sales of Xiaomi held at Flipkart. Flipkart is planning to enter into grocery segment soon after amazon started its grocery pilot project in Bangalore as Kirana now.Both amazon and Flipkart may face stiff competition from local startups like bigbasket,zopnow, bazaarcart etc.

In-house products


 Digiflip, Flipkart’s own electronic brand
  • In July 2014 Flipkart launched its own set of tablet, mobile phones & Phablet. The first among these series of tablet phones was Digiflip Pro XT 712 Tablet.
  • In July 2014 Flipkart launched its first networking router, under its own brand name named DigiFlip WR001 300 Mbit/s Wireless N Router.
  • In September 2014 Flipkart launched its in-house home appliances and personal healthcare brand Citron. The label includes a wide range of cooking utilities and grooming products.

Criticism


On 13 September 2014, a Flipkart delivery boy molested a house maid in Hyderabad. The house maid’s employer has been fighting against Flipkart for justice on this issue, and also for making offline delivery services safe.

On 6 October 2014 Flipkart launched a promotion called ‘Big Billion Day’ with the intention to increase the popularity of their website by targeting a billion sales in 1 day. This, even though Flipkart achieved the target, led to public outcry and widespread criticism among consumers, competitors and partners, heavily damaging its reputation. Many users could not place any order because of high server load and errors which led to frustration among customers. Many users who placed orders got an email saying that their order got cancelled. Most of the products were sold for a price less than cost price and Flipkart was accused of killing competition. Major competitors filed complaints against Flipkart to the commerce ministry claiming that selling products for less than cost price is against the commerce policy of the country. The Ministry said that they will form new trade rules for electronic retail after this incident.

Flipkart received mass criticism on the subject of Net Neutrality after their partnership with Airtel to use Airtel Zero platform which would had made the Flipkart app free for Airtel Users.On 14 April 2015 Flipkart pulled back its decision to use Airtel Zero platform

Awards and recognition


  • Co-Founder of Flipkart Sachin Bansal, got Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2012-2013 from Economic Times, leading Indian Economic Daily
  • Flipkart.com was awarded Young Turk of the Year at CNBC TV 18’s ‘India Business Leader Awards 2012’ (IBLA).
  • Flipkart.com- got Nominated for IndiaMART Leaders of Tomorrow Awards 2011.

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