How Flipkart went from being an online bookseller to India’s biggest e-commerce story

How Flipkart went from being an online bookseller to India’s biggest e-commerce story

  • Walmart now owns a 77% stake in Flipkart.
  • The company will invest $16 billion for its stake.
  • Flipkart founder, Sachin Bansal, is exiting the company, as is chief investor Softbank.

The Walmart-Flipkart deal is finally official, with the US-based retail giant acquiring 77% stake in the Indian unicorn. Flipkart’s chief investor Softbank is selling off its shares, as is its founder Sachin Bansal.

The deal has been in the works since September 2016. At the time, Walmart wanted to acquire a minority stake in the company. Today’s announcement marks a landmark in both the Indian startup and e-commerce industry.

Flipkart has been one of the biggest success stories in the country, starting from a 2BHK apartment over a decade ago. Here’s how the company’s journey played out.

The Journey
How Flipkart went from being an online bookseller to India’s biggest e-commerce story

  • Flipkart began in 2007, when the Indian e-commerce market was untapped. Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, the founder of Flipkart, began the company as a replica of Amazon for the Indian market.
  • It opened its first office in Bangalore in 2008 followed by expansions in Delhi and Mumbai. It even launched its 24x7 customer service too.
  • In 2009, Accel Partners invested $1 million in the company.
  • In 2010 they pioneered the Cash-on Delivery payment mode in India. With this, the company launched its logistics department Ekart and announced a 30 day return policy.
  • In 2011, Flipkart launched their digital wallet, and acquired Chakpak and Mime360. By now they delivered to over 600 cities.
  • In 2012, they launched their mobile app, bringing the marketplace in the hands of the consumer.
  • Flipkart also introduced the Next Day Shipping Guarantee in 2013.
  • It raised more funding, worth $160 million in 2013.
  • Over the years, the company grew exponentially with acquisitions of e-tailers like Myntra and WeRead. Huge investments even came in from investors across the globe.
  • In 2016, it was the first indian app to cross 50 million users, while it also crossed the 100 million registered user threshold.
  • The biggest investment came in from Japanese SoftBank, which made a $2.5 billion bet on the Indian unicorn and e-commerce giant. .
  • Sachin Bansal, founder of Flipkart, stepped down from his post as the CEO in 2016. This was filled in 2017 by Kalyan Krishnamurthy, who took over from Binny Bansal.
  • Flipkart acquired Myntra for $300 million in 2014 and Jabong for $70 million in 2016.
  • In 2018, the company consolidated all its Bangalore offices into one large campus with an area of .83 million square feet.
  • In terms of finances, Flipkart Group incurred losses of ₹87.7 billion attributable to the owners of the company in FY17, which rose from ₹52.16 billion in FY16. Consolidated revenue increased by 29% to ₹19,855 crore in FY17.
  • Flipkart had wiped out half of its $6.1 bn investments as of early 2018.
  • As of now the company is valued at $20 billion.