Flipkart has raised another $3.6bn (£2.6bn) ahead of an expected stock market debut. The fundraising is expected to give the Sachin and Binny Bansal-founded startup significant firepower to expand online shopping and take on well-capitalised rivals such as Amazon Inc, Reliance Industries and the Tata Group.
The new fundraising round places Flipkart among the top 10 e-commerce companies in the world by valuation. Industry executives have said the funding will leverage Flipkart’s plans to go public in the United States by 2022. They said it would set the stage for Flipkart’s initial public offering (IPO) and increase its valuation to $ 50-60 billion. Prior to this funding deal, sources said, Flipkart was considering a valuation of around $ 40 billion for the IPO.
Flipkart will continue to make deeper investment in people, technologies, supply chains, and infrastructure to address the requirements of a rapidly growing consumer base in India. A key focus area for the group is to help informal commerce segments leverage the power of technology. As one of the leaders in the fashion segment, Flipkart said this meant working with the fashion industry and helping small businesses explore untapped opportunities that technology presents.
Flipkart is offering a wealth creation opportunity where employees will have the option to liquidate their vested Esops (employees stock ownership plan) in the buyback worth Rs 600 crore. With more than 350 million registered users in the country, Flipkart has been investing in key categories, including fashion, travel and grocery.