Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is to invest hundreds of millions of dollars across two Indian companies: a $627 million injection into India’s fastest growing and largest online marketplace Snapdeal, while the company will also “lead” a wider investment of $210 million in taxi-booking service Ola Cabs.
The Snapdeal investment confirms earlier speculation. Founded in 2010, Snapdeal has more than 25 million registered users and more than 50,000 business sellers across its e-commerce marketplace.
In a statement, Kunal Bahl, co-founder and CEO of Snapdeal, noted that SoftBank’s involvement “will further strengthen our promise to consumers and create life-changing experiences for 1 million small businesses in India.”
The company has so far raised $1 billion this year, including this round from SoftBank and counts investors including eBay, Indian billionaire Azim Premjiand and former Tata group chairman Ratan Tata.
Meanwhile Ola, founded in 2011, claims to be “the leading transportation aggregator in India,” connecting consumers and taxi drivers via mobile apps, the web and call centres. Ola’s app hosts more than 33,000 vehicles across 19 major cities in India.
A Bloomberg reports notes that the investment in India’s e-commerce industry, which CLSA Asia Pacific Markets projects will grow sevenfold to $22 billion by 2018, adds to the Japanese firm’s spate of acquisitions. SoftBank has invested in more than 1,300 technology companies including a $250 million stake in Legendary Entertainment, the producer of ‘Godzilla,’ and a 32 percent stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
“We believe India is at a turning point in its development and have confidence that India will grow strongly over the next decade,” said billionaire Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank. “As part of this belief, we intend to deploy significant capital in India over the next few years to support development of the market.”