After trying their luck with the offline coupon business, Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal ventured into online commerce with Snapdeal in February 2010. Since then the company went through successful pivot, massive funding rounds and became the fifth Indian company to join the billion dollar valuation club.
This month, the Delhi-based company turned five and here we take a look at Snapdeal’s journey. During the second half of 2011, Kunal and Rohit had visited China and witnessed Alibaba’s tremendous scale. Inspired by Jack Ma’s brainchild, the duo pivoted Snapdeal in December 2011 from a deal destination to a pure-play online marketplace.
The pivot was heroic as the company had over 65 per cent of group deal market share when the duo decided to pivot. “The journey hasn’t been easy and has involved many pivots along the way, but with each turn our passionate team has become stronger and more motivated to ensure that the next five years are even more phenomenal as we work towards our vision to create one million successful online entrepreneurs in India,” says Kunal.
With a few hundred sellers Snapdeal had a humble beginning as an online marketplace. In five years, it has surpassed the one lakh seller mark. At present, the Delhi-based company has 40 million registered user and close to 65 per cent orders coming from mobiles.
“It is a great feeling to have turned five and to reflect on how many people we’ve been able to impact in this journey. More importantly, all of us feel that we’ve been able to create a strong platform which will help us impact the lives of millions of small businesses and millions of consumers in the next five years,” says Rohit
Here is the timeline covering Snapdeal’s five-year journey:
Investments – Timeline and the funding amount raised:
- Nexus Venture Partners poured in $10 million in January 2011
- Bessemer Venture Partners invested $45 million in July 2011
- eBay invested undisclosed amount in April 2013
- Snapdeal got $ 133.77 million round led by eBay in February 2014
- Temasek, Blackrock Inc., Myriad, Tybourne and Premji invested $105 million in May 2014
- Ratan Tata invested undisclosed amount in August 2014
- Japanese conglomerate Softbank pumped in $627 million in October 2014
Acquisitions – Timelines and names of the companies acquired
- Snapdeal acquired Grabbon.com in June 2010. The acquisition brought on board two key senior leaders - Sandeep Komaravelly (SVP Marketing) and Tony Navin (SVP – Electronics & Home)
- A marketplace for sports products Sportsbuy.com was acquired by Snapdeal in April 2012
- Handicraft focused marketplace Shopo.in was acquired by Snapdeal in May 2013
- Social recommendations for fashion products Doozton.com merged with Snapdeal in May 2013
- Wishpicker joined the Snapdeal family in December 2014
Timeline of key initiatives
- September 2012: Snapdeal.com introduced the revolutionary concept of Brand Stores. An exclusive page allows brands to create their own store on Snapdeal.
- January 2013: Snapdeal.com becomes the first e-commerce company in India to start selling scooters online.
- April 2013: Snapdeal launched customer protection service TrustPay to provide consumers with a complete guarantee on all their purchases, across all sellers. Consumers who interact with the TrustPay brand, become three times more likely to buy.
- June 2013: Snapdeal.com launches SafeShip - the world's first ever fulfillment technology platform for sellers. As many as 80 per cent of orders get shipped in 24 hours, with 100 per cent trackability for buyers and sellers.
- October 2013: Snapdeal.com becomes the first eCommerce company in India to launch a mobile shopping application for iPhone users. Thousands of downloads start happening every week.
- October 2013: Snapdeal introduces ReGlobe, a platform for consumers to sell used gadgets. Consumers successfully sell gadgets worth crores.
- October 2013: Snapdeal launches a new service that allows customers to search for the price of the product they wish to buy on SMS.
- January 2014: Snapdeal launches same day delivery service in Delhi NCR and goes multilingual; launches Hindi and Tamil interfaces on the site, becoming the first and only eCommerce company in India to do so.
- February 2014: Snapdeal forays into eCommerce for services; launches online education category, another first for India.
- April 2014: Snapdeal introduces Launchpad, a platform for innovators and inventors across the country.
- May 2014: Snapdeal hits a new milestone with 50 per cent of its sales coming via mobile-based transactions.
- June 2014: Snapdeal launches Snapdeal Plus service for sellers which enables same day delivery service for its sellers. Announces network of 40 fulfillments across 15 cities.
- June 2014: Snapdeal launches four-hour listing service for sellers, hits a new milestone of over 1000 sellers with sales in excess of Rs 1 crore annually.
- July 2014: Snapdeal launches a mobile application for sellers, becomes the first to take on this unique initiative.
- August 2014: Snapdeal becomes the first online marketplace to sell real estate online; partners with Tata Value Homes to sell homes/ apartments online.
- August 2014: Snapdeal launches Capital Assist - a financing programme for sellers that will help them get access to working capital that they need to further grow and expand their businesses
- Snapdeal enters TV commerce with 50:50 joint venture with Den Networks.
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- online marketplace
- Rohit Bansal
- Kunal Bahl
- Person Travel
- online commerce
- Jack Ma
- online entrepreneurs