Flipkart sets up fund for early-stage bets; PharmEasy, Drivezy may raise capital

Flipkart sets up fund for early-stage bets; PharmEasy, Drivezy may raise capital
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25 Mar, 2019

Walmart-owned homegrown e-commerce major Flipkart has set up an internal fund for its early stage investments, a report in a financial daily stated.

The Economic Times, citing three unnamed persons familiar with the matter, said that it has earmarked $60-100 million to back early-stage companies across fintech, supply chain and software-as-a-service.

The company will cut cheques of $2-3 million and will pick up a 20-25% stake in the firms. The size of the fund could also go up depending on the investment appetite, the ET report added.

Flipkart will source the capital for this internal fund from its balance sheet. The initiative will be led by Emily McNeal, the e-commerce behemoth’s group chief financial officer, the report added.

E-mail queries sent to Flipkart seeking more details on the fund did not elicit a response at the time of filing this report.

An internal fund may help Flipkart streamline and institutionalise its early-stage investments. It has previously invested in logistics startup BlackBuck, mobile gaming startup Mech Mocha, home rental startup Nestaway and parenting social network Tinystep among others.

SoftBank, Amazon eye Drivezy

Mumbai-based AS Justride Tours and Travels Pvt. Ltd, which owns self-drive vehicle rental platform Drivezy, is in talks to raise $100 million in a round potentially led by SoftBank and Amazon, The Economic Times reported, citing two persons in the know.

Amazon’s investment will likely go towards the company’s meta search engine, Rayy, the report added.

Rayy is a multi-product platform that allows Drivezy manufacturers and individuals to list products for sharing or renting, the report added.

A SoftBank spokesperson declined to comment on the development while Amazon and Drivezy did not respond to e-mail queries at the time of filing this report.

PharmEasy in talks with SoftBank

Mumbai-based 91 Streets Media Pvt. Ltd, which operates online drug delivery platform PharmEasy, is in preliminary stages of discussions with SoftBank to raise $100 million in fresh funding, a report in Mint stated, citing three persons in the know.

The report stated that the investment will likely value it at $400 million.

The development comes six months after PharmEasy closed $50 million (Rs 363 crore) in an extended Series C round led by new investor Eight Roads Ventures. F-Prime Capital, Fundamentum Advisors, San Francisco-based hedge fund Think Investments and existing investor Bessemer Venture Partners also participated in the round.

Both SoftBank and PharmEasy declined to comment on the development.

The startup was founded in 2015 by Dharmil Sheth and Dhaval Shah. The e-pharmacy startup connects patients with chemist shops. It also uses a tech-enabled lead generation platform that helps customers get cheaper diagnostic tests. The company competes with 1mg and NetMeds.