Flipkart

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Flipkart India Private Limited
Flipkart logo.png
Type of site E-commerce
Founded 2007; 9 years ago (2007)
Headquarters Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Area served India
Founder(s) Sachin Bansal
Binny Bansal
Key people Sachin Bansal (Chairman)
Binny Bansal (CEO)
Industry Internet
Services Online shopping
Revenue Increase 10,245 crore (US$1.5 billion) (2015)[1]
Employees 35,000 (2015)[2]
Subsidiaries Myntra, Jabong.com
Website www.flipkart.com
Alexa rank Decrease 118 (August 2016)[3]
Current status Online

Flipkart is an e-commerce company founded in 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. The company is registered in Singapore, but has its headquarters in Bangalore, Karnataka, India.[4][5][6] Flipkart has launched its own product range under the name "DigiFlip" with products including tablets, USBs, and laptop bags.[7][8][9]

Flipkart's last fundraising round in May 2015 had pegged its valuation at $15 billion.[10] In May 2016, Morgan Stanley lowered Flipkart's valuation to $9.39 billion.[11]

History[edit]

Flipkart logo used from 2007 to 2015

Flipkart was founded in 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, both alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. They worked for Amazon.com, and left to create their new company incorporated in October 2007 as Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd.[12] The first product they sold was the book Leaving Microsoft To Change The World to a customer from Hyderabad.[13][14][15] Flipkart now employs more than 33,000 people.[16] Flipkart allows payment methods such as cash on delivery, credit or debit card transactions, net banking, e-gift voucher and card swipe on delivery.[17]

After failure of its 2014 Big Billion Sale, Flipkart recently completed the second edition of Big Billion Sale held between 13 and 17 October.[18] where it is reported that they saw a business turnover of $300 million in gross merchandise volume.[19]

Business Structure[edit]

In a report dated 25 November 2014, a leading media outlet reported that Flipkart were operating through a complex business structure which included nine firms, some registered in Singapore and some in India. In 2012 Flipkart co-founders sold WS Retail to a consortium of investors led by Rajeev Kuchhal.[20]

Acquisitions[edit]

  • 2010: WeRead, a social book discovery tool.[21]
  • 2011: Mime360, a digital content platform company.[22]
  • 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.[23]
  • 2012: Letsbuy.com, an Indian e-retailer in electronics. Flipkart has bought the company for an estimated US$25 million.[24][25] Letsbuy.com was closed down and all traffic to Letsbuy has been diverted to Flipkart.[26]
  • 2014: Acquired Myntra.com in an estimated 20 billion (US$300 million) deal.[27]
  • 2015: Flipkart acquired a mobile marketing start-up Appiterate as to strengthen its mobile platform.[28]
  • 2016: Flipkart’s Myntra acquires rival fashion shopping site Jabong for $70 million.[29]
  • 2016: In April, Flipkart acquired payment start-up PhonePe.[1]

Investments[edit]

  • In 2015, Flipkart bought a minority stake in a Navigation and route optimization startup MapmyIndia to help improve its delivery using MapmyIndia assets.

Finance[edit]

Initially, they had spent 400,000 (US$5,900) only for making the website to set up the business.[30] Flipkart has later raised funding from venture capital funds Accel India ($1 million in 2009)[31][32][33] and Tiger Global ($10 million in 2010 and $20 million in June 2011).[34][35][36] 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.[37] 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.[38]

Flipkart's reported sales were 40 million (US$590,000) in FY 2008–2009,[39][40] 200 million (US$3.0 million) in FY 2009–2010[41] and 750 million (US$11 million) for FY 2010–2011.[42] In FY 2011–2012, Flipkart is set to cross the 5 billion (US$74 million) mark as Internet usage in the country increases and people get accustomed to making purchases online.[43] Flipkart projects its sales to reach 10 billion (US$150 million) by year 2014. On average, Flipkart sells nearly 10 products per minute[44] and is aiming at generating a revenue of 50 billion (US$740 million) by 2015.[45]

On November 2012, Flipkart became one of the companies being probed for alleged violations of FDI regulations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999[46][47]

Flipkart reported a loss of 2.81 billion (US$42 million) for the FY 2012-13.[48] In July 2013, Flipkart raised $160 million from private equity investors.[49]

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.[50][51][52]

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.[53]

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.[54]

On 29 July 2014, Flipkart announced that it raised $1 billion[55] from Tiger Global Management LLC, Accel Partners, and Morgan Stanley Investment Management and a new investor Singapore sovereign-wealth fund GIC.[56]

On 6 October 2014, Flipkart sold products worth 6.5 billion (US$97 million) 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.[57][58][59] It claimed to sell a whopping 500,000 mobile handsets, 500,000 clothes and shoes and 25,000 television sets within hours of opening its discounted sale at 8 AM.[60] In December 2014, After it received $700 million from another funding, Flipkart had a market cap of $11 billion.[61] In May 2015 Flipkart has raised $550 million from some of its existing investors, in a deal that raises the valuation of the privately held Indian startup to about $15 billion.[62]

On 20 December 2014, Flipkart announced filing application with Singapore-based companies' regulator ACRA to become a public company after raising $700 million for long term strategic investments in India following which its number of investors exceeded 50. The $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.[63]

By August 2015, after raising $700 million, Flipkart had already raised a total of $3 billion, over 12 rounds and 16 investors.[64]

Regulatory Action and Lawsuits[edit]

The Government Of India informed the parliament in 2012, that it had asked the Enforcement Directorate to investigate Flipkart Online Services. In August 2014, the Enforcement Directorate claimed that it had found Flipkart to be in violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.[65]

On 30 November 2012, Flipkarts offices were raided by the Enforcement Directorate. Documents and computer hard drives were seized by the regulatory agency.[66]

Delhi High Court observed violation of foreign investment regulations by E-Commerce firms including Flipkart.[67]

In January 2016, a public interest litigation came up for hearing which alleges Flipkart of contravention of foreign investment norms. The court asked the Reserve Bank of India to provide the latest circular on foreign investment policy.[68]

In January, 2016, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) clarified that it does not recognize the marketplace model of online retail.[69]

In February 2016, Health Minister, J P Nadda, informed that the Maharashtra FDA had taken action against Flipkart, among others, for selling drugs without valid license.[70]

Flyte Digital Music Store[edit]

In October and November 2011, Flipkart acquired the websites Mime360.com[22] and Chakpak.com.[23] Later, in February 2012, the company revealed its new Flyte Digital Music Store.[71] 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.[72][73]

Exclusive product launches[edit]

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;[74][75] more than 20,000 units were sold within hours of launch on Flipkart.[76] After this Flipkart was looking for a long term tie up with Motorola Mobility,[77] They also launched their Android smartphone, the Moto X, on 19 March 2014.[78][79] Flipkart later sold the Moto E, cheaper than Moto G, from 13 May 2014.[80]

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[81] on 22 July 2014, the second in 5 seconds[82] 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.[83] Following this Xiaomi Tech sold 20,000 units in the next sale on 12 August 2014.[84] On 2 September 2014 Flipkart held a flash sale of the Xiaomi Redmi 1S budget Android smartphone which was launched in India in July 2014. 40, 000 units priced at Rs 5999 each were sold within seconds.[85] A further 40,000 units were sold within 4.5 seconds on Sept 9, 2014.[86] The third Redmi 1S sale on Sept 16, 2014 sold 40,000 units in 3.4 seconds;[87] In the 4th round of sale of Redmi 1S, 60,000 units sold in 5.2 seconds on Sept 23, 2014.[88] On 30 September 2014 60,000 units sold in 13.9 seconds.[89] Redmi Note in India exclusively through Flipkart; 50,000 units sold in 6 seconds on 2 December 2014.[90]

In-house products[edit]

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[edit]

On 13 September 2014, a Flipkart delivery boy molested a house maid in Hyderabad.[91] The house maid's employer has been fighting against Flipkart for justice on this issue, and also for making offline delivery services safe.[92]

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 orders because of high server load and errors which led to frustration among customers.[93] Many users who placed orders received emails stating that their orders were cancelled.[94] Most of the products were sold for 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 lesser than cost prices is against the commerce policy of the country.[95] The Ministry said that they would formulate new trade rules for electronic retail after this incident.[96][97]

Flipkart received mass criticism on the subject of net neutrality after their announced partnership with Airtel to use the Airtel Zero platform which would have made the Flipkart app free for Airtel Users. On 14 April 2015 Flipkart retracted its decision to use Airtel Zero platform.[98]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • In April 2016, Sachin Bansal & Binny Bansal were named in 100 most influential people by TIME[99]
  • In September 2015, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal entered Forbes India Rich List debuting at the 86th position with a net worth of $1.3 billion each.[100]
  • Co-Founder of Flipkart, Sachin Bansal, got Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2012-2013 from Economic Times, leading Indian Economic Daily.[101]
  • Flipkart.com was awarded Young Turk of the Year at CNBC TV 18's 'India Business Leader Awards 2012' (IBLA).[102]
  • Flipkart.com- got Nominated for IndiaMART Leaders of Tomorrow Awards 2011.[103]

See also[edit]

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External links[edit]