Jasper Infotech has raised $500 million in a new round of funding led by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Ltd., with its online shopping site Snapdeal locked in fierce competition with domestic rival Flipkart and American giant Amazon.com Inc.
Existing investors Temasek, BlackRock, Myriad and Premji Invest also participated in the latest round, Snapdeal said in a press release Tuesday. Founded in 2010, Snapdeal’s biggest funding round was the $627 million it raised from SoftBank last year. Prior to that the company raised about $350 million.
Even with the latest round, joined by Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology and Japanese telecom and Internet investor SoftBank Corp., Jasper CEO Kunal Bahl will have raised less than Bangalore’s Flipkart -- which has raised over twice as much money as Snapdeal to date -- or the $2 billion that deep-pocketed Amazon's Jeff Bezos committed for India.
Competition will also increase from eBay Inc., an early investor in Snapdeal, which is now selling a portion of its stake in the New Delhi company, to focus on its own Indian operations. Having been an early investor in Snapdeal, eBay said in its statement, it made a strong return on the partial sale.
Snapdeal’s value has risen to $2.5 billion, according to research firm CB Insights. Only Flipkart has a higher valuation among Indian e-commerce companies.
Bahl, who has said his company’s strategy requires less money than those of his rivals, has made several acquisitions with the aim of building what he calls a “digital commerce ecosystem” that goes beyond selling smartphones online.
Mobile phones are the single largest source of revenue for India’s online shopping sites today, accounting for over half of their business, according to retail consultancy Technopak. India is projected to become the world’s largest smartphone market, after China, overtaking the U.S. in 2017.
Snapdeal, which operates like an online marketplace, has 150,000 sellers offering over 15 million products. It can ship products to more than 5,000 cities and towns in India, according to its press release.