SoftBank-Backed Snapdeal Weighs $400 Million Mumbai IPO

  • Indian e-commerce retailer Snapdeal Pvt is considering an initial public offering that could raise about $400 million, joining a growing list of startups preparing to tap capital markets as the nation’s digital economy booms.
  • Representatives for Snapdeal and SoftBank declined to comment.
  • Four years ago, Snapdeal walked away from a potential merger with Flipkart, which would have united the two local-e-commerce companies against Amazon.
[Via]

Court summons Snapdeal’s Kunal Bahl and 9 executives over contract violation

Summons have been issued against Snapdeal’s founder, Kunal Bahl and 9 executives as Bangalore based company, Dream Merchants has filed a case against Snapdeal for contract violation.

Dream Merchants organizes Bangalore Fashion week and Snapdeal had signed up three-year sponsorship contract.

The bi-annual event, which signed up Snapdeal for a three-year contract as a `powered by’ sponsor for six editions, did not receive the promised sponsorship of Rs 25 lakh in January 2016. The event management company approached the court due to nonpayment of dues in March 2016. 

While there was a 60-day exit clause, they violated the contract by backing out 15 days before the event (source).
Currently, Snapdeal is in talks with Flipkart for sale and from what we know, the deal is almost done.

Snapdeal: Is this a scam ?

So I am part of ‘Snapdeal bonus’ programme where I have an option to choose some really cool gift – right from an iPhone to Washing machine to laptop to Sony LED TV.
All for free.
All I am supposed to do is buy minimum Rs. 5,000/ worth of product from Snapdeal and the free gift deal will be automatically activated.
Listen to this conversation with the company which called me and had my Snapdeal account details.

I didn’t get any email from Snapdeal regarding this offer – but any layman, after a call like this would have jumped and bought products worth Rs. 5,000/ from Snapdeal, in the hope of the deal.
Note that there is a very high probability of trusting a call like this because they have your Snapdeal login id and delivery address too.
The question is:

  1. If this was a genuine offer – why is there no official communication from Snapdeal (I did logged in to my account to check if there are any updates).
  2. If this is a scam (which it seems to be), how come these guys have my data from Snapdeal (that address is an older address – and Snapdeal is the only site where I haven’t updated, as I haven’t bought anything from them in the last 2 years).

Anyone else who has received a similar call?

Snapdeal : Will fire 600 people. Founders take 100% salary cut


Snapdeal is firing 600 people and in between all this, the founders have decided to take 100% salary cut – for an unspecified period.

“We believe that every resource of the company should be deployed for driving us towards profitable growth and with this announcement, both Rohit and I are taking a 100% salary cut” (from an internal email/via).

This is what we feel about this entire *drama*

Snapdeal launches its own cloud : Snapdeal Cirrus, built on OpenStack

Snapdeal has announced the launch of its own private cloud platform, Snapdeal Cirrus.

Snapdeal cloud is built entirely on open source with OpenStack at the center, making it not just an industry-first in India, but also one of the largest OpenStack deployments of a hybrid cloud anywhere in the world.

snapdeal-cloud

Snapdeal Cirrus spans across three data center regions, with a highly dense server architecture of 100,000 cores, 16 PB of storage and a robust 100G SDN infrastructure – an investment made by very few companies globally.

Snapdeal Cirrus is a true hybrid cloud, which expands seamlessly to public and allows various applications to be dynamically assigned to run in different parts of the cloud, mentions the company.

The private cloud solution has been built and operationalized in under a year and is timed to handle long-term growth in traffic. The launch follows a sustained increase in online traffic at Snapdeal, where millions of users regularly browse, buy, make online payments and track shipments till delivery.

The launch will also satiate fast growing demand for crunching big data to build personalized and relevant experiences for consumers. This move will enable Snapdeal to ensure that business growth is augmented with platform speed, security, and stability.

Snapdeal To Scale Down Operations In Regional Offices; Plans Job Cuts [Updated]

Delhi based Snapdeal has planned to take a step back and scale down its operations in the regional offices including Bangalore, Mumbai, Calcutta and Hyderabad. [source]

If the company fails to raise a fresh funding soon, the company may even shut down a few offices in the next six months.

The company had earlier launched a performance improvement plan for certain employees and also asked few employees from the regional offices to shift to its head office in Delhi. After giving severance packages for two months, few employees have also been asked to leave.

SoftBank backed Snapdeal has also cut its accounts and vendor management teams in Bangalore from 85 people a year ago, to 45 member.

The e-commerce competition has been intensifying and after the slowdown in funding, the companies are initiating new measures to curb the cash burn and is also restructuring its business model with the intent to make profits.

Update

“Snapdeal strongly denies the ET report ( dated 27 May, 2016) about Snapdeal reducing operations in any regional office, the report is baseless and misleading. We are witnessing strong growth across all our markets in the country. Our campus in Gurgaon and regional offices in 8 cities are staffed by highly experienced teams, who continue to drive excellence and growth in our business. We have recently added more members to our Mumbai and Bengaluru offices and we  are in the process of doing the same at Chennai,” said Snapdeal in a statement.

 

Leadership @Snapdeal : CPO Anand Out. Govind Rajan : Freecharge CEO. Kunal Shah : Chairman

Some leadership movement happening at Snapdeal.

CPO, Anand is leaving the company.

“Anand has done some stellar work on the product side at Snapdeal. His insights and attention to detail have helped us traverse quickly towards launching and improving products at Snapdeal. We wish Anand the very best for his entrepreneurial journey ahead.” [Snapdeal Official response/source]

Recently, Flipkart CPO, Punit Soni too left the company.

Govind Rajan is the new CEO @Freecharge

Govind, joined Freecharge in August 2015 and is currently the Chief Operating Officer at FreeCharge.

In a related move, Kunal Shah, currently the CEO of FreeCharge will now be the Chairman of the Company. Kunal Shah is the co-founder of the company, along with Sandeep Tandon. In April 2015, Snapdeal had acquired FreeCharge in the biggest deal that the e-commerce sector has seen in India till date.

“FreeCharge is built on a robust foundation of cutting-edge technology, superlative customer experience and a deep understanding of consumer needs. Kunal has built a great tech team and an iconic brand. It is a privilege to take the baton from him. We are fortunate to have his guidance as the Chairman and mentor-in-chief. I am very excited to carry forward our mission to build FreeCharge as India’s digital payments OS”. [Govind]

Maybe another 3 months and you will hear an update from Kunal Shah?

Snapdeal Acquires TargetingMantra, A Predictive Marketing Technology Company

Alibaba backed Snapdeal has acquired ‘TargetingMantra’, a boutique technology company which works in the field of personalizing shopping experience for customers on e-commerce platforms.

Founded by Saurabh Nangia and Rahul Singh in March 2013, TargetingMantra has offices in Palo Alto and Gurgaon.

The company provides a unified platform to manage customer life cycle through personalization, targeting and big data analytics. TargetingMantra specialises in building products for enhancing customer buying journey and increasing conversion rates through intuitive product discovery, recommendations and channel selection.

Post-acquisition, TargetingMantra’s team will further the on-going initiative to build the ‘customer experience engine’ which will personalise shopping experiences for customers.

Rohit Bansal, Co-Founder, Snapdeal said, “At Snapdeal, we are always on the lookout for talented teams, who come with complementing tech skills, which can further enhance the experience for our customers. Personalisation is a key piece which helps consumers discover and transact in a fast, frictionless and intuitive manner. The Targeting Mantra team comes with valuable experience in driving superior customer experience through machine learning. We are thrilled to have them join us on our journey towards achieving 20 million daily transacting users by 2020.”

Snapdeal Forays Into Travel Segment; Now Allows To Book Flight Tickets From The App

Alibaba backed Snapdeal has made a strategic move and forayed into the travel space, at a juncture when speculations are soaring about e-commerce companies’ business models and external funding have slowed down. All the e-commerce companies are now focusing on a sustainable business model and on profitablity.

Snapdeal announced it on social media that it now allows users to book flight tickets from the Android app.  The company had earlier launched booking of bus tickets from the app. No other details has been disclosed by the company yet.

Last year, Paytm had also launched its bus ticket marketplace. With this new entrant in the travel marketplace, competition will inevitably intensify for user acquisition for the existing players.

Snapdeal had recently raised $200 million led by Canada’s Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan at a valuation of $6.5 billion.

Delhi High Court Orders Snapdeal-owned Unicommerce Not To Use Paytm’s Data

The Delhi High court has asked Snapdeal-owned Unicommerce not to use any data which it from accessed from the sellers of Paytm.

Paytm’s statement said, “Unicommerce has been instructed not to access the customers’ data and the sellers data which was being used to sign up sellers for our competition. They have also  submitted that they will not derive any information such as sales analysis or user behaviour for any misuse. This is an important point since this data might have been used unduly by our competition.”

It further added, “The order clearly states that sellers can only view this information and they cannot submit anything back such as catalogue information, inventory, pricing or create any order processing changes or catalogue changes in our systems. This effectively prevents any changes from happening into Paytm data and systems.”

The court also asked Unicommerce to pull down its YouTube advertisement or remove Paytm’s logo from it.

However, Unicommerce said, “The reliefs sought (by Paytm) have not been granted. We welcome the honourable court’s interim order. While the matter is sub-judice, we believe that the allegations made are clearly unfounded and speculative.”

Through a blog post, Paytm has asked its sellers not to use Unicommer’s platform and ‘strict action’ will be taken which include ‘imposing penalties’ or ‘blocking the concerned partner entirely’ or more.

The case will next be heard on July 11th.

Earlier, Alibaba backed Paytm had filed a lawsuit against e-commerce management software Unicommerce and accused of accessing confidential data via the sellers who use Unicommerce’s platform for managing their orders and inventory for other marketplaces as well.

[source]

Marketplace Tussle: Paytm Takes Snapdeal-Owned Unicommerce To Court For Stealing Data

Alibaba-backed Paytm has filed a lawsuit against e-commerce management software Unicommerce, which is owned by Snapdeal.

Paytm has accused Unicommerce of accessing confidential data via the sellers who use Unicommerce’s platform for managing their orders and inventory for other marketplaces as well.

The hearing is likely to take place on Thursday in Delhi High Court.

Paytm declined to comment and said no statement has been given by the company so far.

As the competition between e-commerce marketplaces intensify and customer acquisition gets tougher, rival companies are leaving no opportunity. Snapdeal had initially started as an e-commerce marketplace and then acquired Freecharge and forayed into the payment space while Paytm though started as a payments platform, later entered the marketplace business.

[source]

Govt. Permits 100% FDI In Only Marketplace Format Of E-Commerce

In order to attract more foreign investments, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion on Tuesday has permitted 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment in the market place format of e-commerce retailing.

DIPP has also come out with definitions of ‘e-commerce’, ‘inventory-based model’ and ’market place model’, to bring out more clarity on which companies will be able to benefit out of the new permits.

As per new definitions:

– Market place model of e-commerce means providing an IT platform by an e-commerce entity on a digital and electronic network to act as a facilitator between buyer and seller.

– The inventory-based model of e-commerce means an e-commerce activity where inventory of goods and services is owned by e-commerce entity and is sold to consumers directly, according to the guidelines.

DIPP added that a market place entity will be permitted to enter into transactions with sellers registered on its platform on business-to-business basis.

However, e-commerce companies will not be permitted to sell more than 25 per cent of the sales affected through its market place from one vendor or their group companies.

As per the guidelines, e-commerce means buying and selling of goods and services, including digital products over digital and electronic network.Digital and electronic network will include computers, TV channels and other Internet application used in automated manner such as web pages and mobiles.

DIPP further added that e-commerce marketplace may provide support services to sellers in respect of warehousing, logistics, order fulfillment, call center, payment collection and other services.

However, such entities will not exercise ownership over the inventory. Such an ownership over the inventory will render the business into inventory based model and hence not fall under the purview of new permits.

Alibaba Approaches Tata For Indian Partnership; Will Run Parallel To It’s Investment Snapdeal And Paytm

Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba Group is evaluating options to enter Indian e-commerce industry in 2016.

Alibaba is planning to enter in to the market as a standalone entity and run parallel to its investments in existing players such as Paytm and Snapdeal.

Alibaba has also approached Tata sons Ltd for a possible partnership- given that they are the best match for Alibaba given the scale and capabilities. Tata Sons Chairman emeritus Ratan Tata also happens to be the investor in Paytm and Snapdeal, where Alibaba holds significant shares.

Alibaba Group president Michael Evans and global managing director K Guru Gowrappan met IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday and expressed company’s interest in investing in Indian e-commerce sector.

Ravi Shankar Prasad has assured that Alibaba would be given full cooperation.

“They’re most welcome to adopt the same (online and offline) strategy in India, too,” said Prasad.

When NextBigWhat team asked about marketplace and investment strategies,  Paytm officials refused to comment anything on it.

But, as per reports Paytm is in talks with Alibaba Group for an additional investment of $300-400 million, and, Paytm is also contemplating to spin off it’s online marketplace to allow Alibaba establish a direct presence and organically expand in India.

If successful then Alibaba will take Flipkart, Snapdeal and American Amazon head-to-head in worlds fastest growing e-commerce market.

This Kid Bought iPhone 5S For Rs 68 And Got Snapdeal To Pay A Fine As Well !

A Btech student from Punjab University after spotting a 99.7 percent discount on iPhone 5S, purchased it for Rs 68. But the ecommerce platform Snapdeal refused to deliver it citing ‘technical glitch’.

The student mailed Snapdeal a number of times but failed to get a response. He then approached State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission in Sangrur, Punjab.

On March 26, 2015, the forum ordered Snapdeal to sell the iPhone 5S for Rs.68 calling it a “clear cut case of deficiency in service” and pay an additional amount of Rs.2,000 for compensation and litigation expenses.

On February 12th 2016, the e-commerce platform has been fined Rs 10,000 by the State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission after its appeal against the order was dismissed.

Smart boy!

[source]

Snapdeal Raises $200 Million Led By Canadian Pension Fund

Company Name : Snapdeal
Funding Amount : $200 million
Investor(s) Teachers’ Pension Plan, Iron Pillar
Funding Round : Not Disclosed


Delhi based e-commerce player Snapdeal has raised $200 million led by Canada’s Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Iron Pillar and other investors also participated in the funding round. The current valuation has not been disclosed. 

The company had earlier raised $500 million from Alibaba Group, Foxconn Technology Group and existing investor Softbank Group and was then valued at about $4.8 billion post money.

Earlier, Jasper Infotech the owner of Snapdeal reported a loss of Rs 1,328.01 crore for the year which ended in 31 March 2015.

[source]

Govt partners with Snapdeal for LED bulb distribution

The government wants to replace all 77 crore incandescent bulbs sold in India with LED bulbs. A tie-up with Snapdeal would help the government expand its marketing and distribution reach over 5,000 cities.

The annual saving in electricity bills is estimated at Rs 40,000 crore.