Adding to its vast kitty of subsidiaries, Flipkart has recently purchased PhonePe, a mobile payments start-up. Ironically, PhonePe is the brainchild of two ex-employees of Flipkart, Sameer Nigam and Rahul Chari.
Flipkart’s CEO Binny Bansal said on the acquisition, “Payments has been one of the biggest hurdles for mass adoption of online shopping in India. UPI has the potential of transforming the entire payments ecosystem in the country. The acquisition of PhonePe is in-line with Flipkart’s focus on driving innovation on the payments front. I am delighted that two Flipkart veterans – Sameer and Rahul are at the helm of this initiative.”
PhonePe is looking at creating a product that allows buyers to transact using only their Aadhaar number, mobile number and a virtual address, keeping their bank account details out of the picture.
Flipkart and its entourage of subsidiaries
Flipkart has been working towards strengthening its position through strategic alliances. In the past, the company has acquired the following:
- Myntra –apparel marketplace (2014)
- Appiterate – mobile app platform (2014)
- MapmyIndia – digital map service ( 2015)
- Blackbuck – online freight booking company (2015)
- FXMart – mobile wallet (2015)
- Adiquity – mobile advertising company (2015)
- WeHive – marketplace start-up (2015)
A quick glance at the list shows that the company is clearly working towards establishing itself in the mobile and payments scene. Other marketplaces are not far behind in preferring their own payment platform over third party service providers.
You win some, lose some
Close on the heels of the latest acquisition, Flipkart is bidding farewell to Manish Maheshwari, head of seller marketplace and ecosystem. Maheshwari is joining Web 18 as its new CEO. Maheshwari had a brief stint at Flipkart after he joined last year.
Flikart’s founder and Commerce platform head Mukesh Bansal and Chief Business Officer Ankit Nagori have left the company in the recent past. Speculations are that the crowning of Binny as CEO has not exactly worked well with the others in the top management. Unless the company management is strong, uncertainty will persist, and block growth.