A look back :
Flipkart is one of India’s leading e-commerce marketplace founded by two alumni of IIT Delhi graduates, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal in October 2007. The journey of Flipkart started when these two IITians became friends while working together at Amazon and then left their job to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. Although these two men share the same name and belong to the same city, Chandigarh but these two Bansals are nowhere related to each other.
The company started its office in a two-bedroom apartment as an online bookstore and now have reached to a workspace of 8.3 lakh sqft of office space having its headquarter in Bengaluru.
In its initial days, this online venture was focused on online book sales having country-wide shipping and started to receive 100 orders per day by the year 2008 and by the year 2010, they acquired the Bangalore based Social book discovery service weRead from Lulu.com. When the revolution of e-commerce gained momentum in India, Flipkart started to grow at an accelerated speed and added numerous new product lines in their portfolio.
Leadership roles :
When Flipkart is formed, Sachin Bansal took care of the CEO’s post for nine years and then in 2016, Binny Bansal took over as CEO of the company as Sachin became executive chairman for Flip kart. In 2017, Kalyan Krishnamurthy, who was previously an executive in Flipkart investor Tiger Global, took over as their CEO making Binny Bansal the CEO of the whole group that includes payments unit PhonePe, Myntra, Jabong, and logistics firm Ekart.
Strategic expansion/ Acquisitions :
The company had opened its first office in 2008 at Bengaluru and then in Delhi and Mumbai in 2009. In 2011, Flipkart domiciled themselves to Singapore, as it looked to entice foreign investors to fund for their rapid growth.
In 2014, Flipkart bought Myntra an online apparel retailer in a deal of about $300 million. Flipkart made two big deals in 2016 and bought one more fashion retailer Jabong for about $70 million and a payment startup PhonePe which was rapidly gaining its popularity amongst the public.
In the year 2017, eBay sold itself to Flipkart in exchange for an equity stake they had in Flipkart and made $500 million cash investment. Flipkart also made a deal with Walmart which is a US retail giant and that bought 77 percent stake in the Flipkart.
As of now, Flipkart has more than 1 million registered sellers and 100 million users on its electronic commerce platform with a warehouse set up in 21 states to ensure prompt delivery to its customers.
Funding / Investors :
Initially, the Bansals spent around Rs. 400,000 ($5,800) on web site development and later raised funding of $1 million in 2009 from venture capital funds Accel India and $30 million in 2010-11 from Tiger Global.
In the year 2012, they got huge funding of $150 million from MIH and ICONIQ capital along with additional funding of $200 million from existing investors including Naspers, Tiger Global, Iconiq Capital and Accel Partners, which allowed Flipkart to grow globally and get a huge name in the market.
Currently, Japan’s SoftBank is the largest investor in Flipkart with a 23-24 percent stake along with a 13 percent stake of early backer South African media and internet giant Naspers.
Flipkart has many other foreign investors which majorly includes US private-equity firm Accel Partners, New York-based hedge fund Tiger Global, eBay Inc and Microsoft Corp and China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd.
Financial statistics :
The year 2017 has been proved as a great year for Flipkart as many important events took place which helped Flipkart to gain financial strengths.
If we talk about the financial statistics, Flipkart Group’s consolidated loss attributable to its owners in the financial year 2017 has widened to Rs 8,770 crore, from Rs 5,216 crore as compared to the earlier year. And the consolidated revenue of the company also jumped 29 percent to Rs 19,855 crore in the same year.
Flipkart also held a 39.5% market share of India’s e-commerce industry as of March 2017.
Flipkart’s reported that their sales were around Rs. 40 million (US$580,000) in the financial year 2008–2009, then Rs. 200 million (US$2.9 million) in FY 2009–2010 and Rs. 750 million (US$11 million) for the FY 2010–2011.
Brands – In-house & outsourced :
As of today, the company deals with 80 million+ products across more than 80+ categories such as books and e-books, mobile phones & accessories, laptops, computers and accessories, electronic goods, clothes and accessories, jewelry, footwear, sports and fitness, games and toys, home appliances, baby care and many more as the list goes on.
Apart from these Flipkart maintains many of their in-house brands, including Digiflip (formerly for electronics and accessories) and Citron (home appliances). Flipkart also launched few more additional brands in the year 2017, including Smartbuy (electronics accessories, effectively replacing Digiflip), Billion (smartphones), and MarQ (for large appliances). In the case of MarQ, Flipkart has faced a trademark dispute during its launch with an existing company, Marc Enterprises but still, they manage to keep it as their house brands.
Awards and recognition :
In the year 2013 Economic Times awarded Mr. Sachin Bansal as the Entrepreneur of the Year 2012–2013.
Later in September 2015, the two founders of Flipkart entered the 86th position in Forbes India Rich List with a net worth of $1.3 billion each. Also once again in April 2016, both of them were named to Time magazine’s list of The 100 Most Influential People in the world.
From the year 2014, Flipkart has faced a couple of criticism because of different concerns and reasons.
- On 13 September 2014, a Hyderabad based person was fighting with Flipkart for justice on the issue that a Flipkart delivery boy allegedly molested their housemaid and demanding for making offline delivery services better and safe.
- In 2014, Flipkart again got into trouble when competitors such as Future Group filed complaints against them with India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, claiming that the Flipkart’s Big Billion Days discounts drastically undercut the prices in a manner predacious to other retailers. To this complaint, the ministry hand stated that it would look into these complaints.
- Later in April 2015, Flipkart once again faced the criticism in Airtel Zero Program as their launch partner, with an allegation that this scheme of zero-rating has violated the principles of net neutrality. But Flipkart later pulled it out.
- Again in 2015, almost 400 of eKart’s delivery executives, (eKart is the logistics arm of Flipkart), went on protest for poor working conditions which included the complaints like seven day working, lack of clean toilets, extended working hours, unavailability of medical assistance for the delivery boys who got involved in accidents. This incident impacted the Flipkarts business to a major loss.
- In 2016 a violent incident happened which made Flipkart take the immediate corrective action. It is when their delivery executive named Nanjunda Swamy was murdered by one of the customers who did not pay for a product purchased due to lack of money. To this incident, Flipkart launched a safety initiative called ‘Project Nanjunda’ which was named after the deceased executive which included a provision in their mobile app (as Nanjunda button) for the field executives in cases of emergencies.