Founded in October 2007, Flipkart is one of India’s leading e-commerce marketplaces, with headquarters in Bengaluru. Flipkart was founded by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal and the company initially started as an online book store. Later, as the company’s popularity grew, it also started selling other items such as music, movies and mobile phones. As the e-commerce revolution gained momentum in India, Flipkart grew at an accelerated pace and added several new product ranges in its portfolio. As of now, the company offers more than 80 million products spread across more than 80 categories such as mobile phones & accessories, computers and accessories, laptops, books and e-books, home appliances, electronic goods, clothes and accessories, sports and fitness, baby care, games and toys, jewelry, footwear, etc.
Flipkart has 100 million registered users and more than 100 thousand sellers on its e-commerce platform. The company has invested in 21 state-of-the-art warehouses to ensure prompt delivery to its customers. The Flipkart website attracts 10 million page hits every day and around 8 million shipments are processed every month. Flipkart has also introduced its mobile app, which has become quite popular, with more than 50 million app users. Flipkart is a billion dollar company and its valuation in 2016 was Rs 15,129 crore (US$2.3 billion). It employs more than 33,000 people.
History: Flipkart started as an online bookstore in October 2007. The founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal left their jobs at Amazon.com to launch their own company. It was a risky move, since the e-commerce sector in India was mostly non-existent at that time and there was no certainty about its future. However, the founders took the risk and now it has turned out to be a huge success. One of the major problems that Flipkart tackled during its initial years was online payments. At that time, people in India were averse to make online payments to a virtual store. Flipkart solved the problem by launching its ‘Cash on Delivery’ service, which helped build confidence among online buyers. Flipkart also made significant efforts to improve the supply chain system, which helped the company to ensure timely delivery to customers. In 2013, the company created a record by selling one lakh books on a single day. In 2016, Flipkart had crossed the 100 million mark in registered customers.
Funding: Flipkart has received more than $ 4.5 billion in funds till date, with the biggest funding coming in July 2014 worth $ 1 billion and in April 2017 worth $ 1.4 billion. Some of the top investors in Flipkart include Naspers, Steadview Capital, Tiger Global Management, DST Global, Accel Partners, Dragoneer Investment Group, Baillie Gifford, GIC, Greenoaks Capital, ICONIQ Capital, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Qatar Investment Authority, and Sofina.
Acquisitions: With fierce competition in the e-commerce market, a slew of mergers and acquisitions have been witnessed in the e-commerce sector in recent years. Flipkart has acquired a range of businesses in recent years to boost its product and service offerings. Some of the key acquisitions made by Flipkart include Myntra, eBay India, PhonePe, Jabong, Letsbuy.com, WeRead, Mime360, chakpak.com, Appiterate, FX Mart, and ngpay. The most recent acquisition was Snapdeal that was a competitor to Flipkart. Snapdeal has been acquired at a cost of $950 million.
Competition: With Snapdeal in its kitty, Flipkart now has only one major competitor Amazon India. However, having only one is enough since Amazon is betting big on India’s e-commerce revolution and has committed $5 billion investments in Amazon India. The company has already received $2 billion in funding and $3 billion more are planned. Amazon India has been consistently expanding its customer base, which has resulted in tough competition for Flipkart.
About the Founders: Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal are both IIT graduates. Both come from Chandigarh, but they are not relatives, even though they share the same last name. It was Sachin Bansal that got Binny Bansal to join Amazon.com, but later they both quit and decided to launch Flipkart. Sachin Bansal is now the Executive Chairman of Flipkart whereas Binny Bansal has been promoted to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).