Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus at Tata Sons, has invested in Delhi-based online marketplace Snapdeal. The company did not disclose the amount invested. The announcement comes a day after Snapdeal entered into a partnership with Tata Value Homes to sell apartment units of projects spread across five cities, namely, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
Snapdeal’s cofounder and chief executive Kunal Bahl termed Tata’s investment a validation of the company’s growth. “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,” said Bahl. This investment also underlines the growing interest shown by India’s traditional industries in the fast-growing ecommerce sector. Recently traditional retail majors like Reliance and Arvind have made forays online.
The sector has also attracted large investments in the past few months. Snapdeal raised over $233 million this year in two rounds from investors like eBay Inc, Singapore-based Temasek and Wipro chairman Azim Premji’s family office Premji Invest. Market leader Flipkart too raised two rounds of funding this year. In July it raised $1 billion from existing investors and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC. Global major Amazon also announced a $2 billion investment for its India operations in July.
Snapdeal, which is estimated to have crossed $1 billion in sales this year, is rapidly adding new categories of products. Apart from apartments, it has launched a catering supplies segment recently. In the next few months the four-year-old platform is planning to add 10 more categories. Bahl has stated in the past that the company will focus on adding new merchants, new categories and focus on mobile commerce to ensure growth.