Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart has hit the market to raise about $1 billion at up to $30 billion valuation in a pre-IPO financing round, two people familiar with the matter.
The Bangalore-based startup, which sold majority stake to Walmart for $16 billion in 2018, initiated fundraise possibilities with some investors earlier this year and has since grown more serious and hired bankers.
In recent months, the company has also internally discussed pushing its public listing timeline to early next year, the people said, requesting anonymity as details are private. (The firm still intends to file for an IPO later this year. A listing takes an additional few months. Reuters reported last year that Flipkart might list overseas in 2021.)
Several major investors of Flipkart declined to comment on fundraise talks early this month and the e-commerce firm didn’t respond to a request for comment. An early Flipkart investor, who has since sold all its stake, said it made sense that the e-commerce group was planning to raise some capital as the market currently has no shortage of it.
11 Indian startups have turned unicorn this year, more than half of them last month, as some high-profile investors including Tiger Global and Falcon Edge double down on the world’s second largest internet market.
Flipkart, which was last valued at about $24.9 billion last year when it raised $1.2 billion in a round led by Walmart, hasn’t finalized the new investment and the deal size as well as the valuation may change, one of the sources said.
In an earnings call in November last year, Walmart said Flipkart and its payments entity PhonePe had reached an all-time high monthly active customers base. In an earnings call in February this year, Judith McKenna, President and Chief Executive Officer of Walmart International, said Flipkart’s GMV growth was impacted by a 53-day national lockdown in India in the first half of the last year.
“But the business rebounded and exited Q4 with strong momentum, delivering GMV growth roughly double that of the full year,” said McKenna, adding that more than 250 million customers in India engaged with the e-commerce platform during last year’s festival sales.
India was hit by a second wave of the coronavirus in early April, which has again prompted some states to enforce restrictions on servicing of non-essential items on e-commerce platforms. Flipkart announced on Tuesday that it is working to strengthen its grocery infrastructure as it expands the new category.
The Bangalore-headquartered firm competes neck to neck with Amazon in India. The American e-commerce group has invested over $6.5 billion in the South Asian market.