Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, the holding company of the $103 billion Tata Group, has made an investment in Snapdeal, a New Delhi-based online retailer. The latest investment closely follows other high-profile investments in the industry, including by Amazon.com and Flipkart, India’s largest e-commerce company.
Snapdeal, which did not disclose the amount invested by Tata, who led the creation of the diminutive Nano -- the world's cheapest car -- has also tied up with the Tata Group’s housing division to sell affordable homes online in five Indian cities. In 2014, Snapdeal has raised more than $233 million, not counting the latest investment by Tata. The Tata Group has interests in a wide range of sectors and owns some of the world's most visible brands such as the Jaguar and Land Rover, and assets such as the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai.
“An investment by a legendary and respected figure like Mr. Tata is an excellent validation of our focused strategy on building a long term enterprise and marks the start of a very important phase for the company,” Kunal Bahl, Snapdeal’s co-founder and CEO, told Economic Times, a local business news publication.
Snapdeal, a four-year old online retailer, is growing at an annual rate of 600 percent and recently crossed $1 billion in sales. The company is also adding new products from more than 50,000 vendors to sell through its website. Snapdeal’s existing investors include BlackRock Inc. (NYSE:BLK), Temasek Holdings and eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY), Forbes reported.
The latest investment is yet another reminder of the growing awareness among Indian corporate leaders about the potential of India's $2.3 billion e-commerce market. Wipro Limited (NYSE:WIT) chairman Azim Premji recently bought stakes in Snapdeal and Myntra.com, a local fashion retailer, which was recently acquired by Flipkart, which, in turn, announced in July that it had raised $1 billion from investors.
Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) also announced a $2 billion investment for its India operations in July. The Seattle-based company offers more than 17 million products across 28 categories in India.