Flipkart’s renewed focus on supply chain and logistics is highlighted in its strategic investment inMapMyIndia, a digital map data, GPS navigation and location-based apps provider.
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The Bengaluru-based e-commerce major has said the investment will use MapMyIndia’s location intelligence capabilities across its supply-chain network, from first-mile pick-up to last-mile delivery. The company also announced it would roll out ‘unique’ solutions in the areas of address verification, real-time shipment tracking, facility mapping and theft minimisation with the help of MapMyIndia solutions.
Speaking on investment, BinnyBansal, COO and Co-founder of Flipkart, said:
The integration of comprehensive and accurate location data will allow us to deliver more personalized and delightful experience to our customers. This partnership is a strategic fit that gives us a sustainable competitive advantage.
The companies declined to provide the details of the deal value. However, MapMyIndia’s early financial investors Nexus Venture Partners and Lightbox Ventures will exit the company post the Flipkart investment.
This investment comes two months after Flipkart re-acquired its logistics business from WS Retail, the biggest merchant on the platform. WS Retail, too, used to be a subsidiary of Flipkart. These moves by Flipkart comes at a time when its competitors, Amazon and Snapdeal, have upped their game significantly especially in logistics and delivery. For instance Snapdeal offers a 90-minute reverse pick-up in some locations. Amazon has launched many fast delivery initiatives. Among them is the morning delivery service allowing customers to place orders till midnight for a delivery 11am.
Flipkart’s investment will not affect MapMyIndia’s operation and it will continue to function independently. Just weeks ago, automobile hailing app Ola had entered into a multi-year license partnership with MapMyIndia to use the latter mapping and navigation capabilities.
“We have seen extremely strong demand from leading e-commerce players, all automotive OEMs and progressive government agencies, and we remain committed to helping all customers,” said Rakesh Verma, Managing Director and Co-founder of MapmyIndia. He added:
We are thrilled to welcome India’s largest ecommerce marketplace, Flipkart, as a strategic minority investor, and are excited by their vision for leveraging our maps and location technologies.
The competition in the e-commerce space is only getting fiercer every day. Flipkart made its mark on the promise of high customer service and it will have to keep improving on consumer experience every day. An investment in a company in the maps space makes absolute sense for Flipkart, and would provide both long-term and short-term value to itsbusiness.
This becomes acutely important as Flipkart is planning to expand its logistic network even deeper into India. Flipkart and rival Snapdeal, along with other players like Paytm, have also become prolific investors and acquirers. This is good news for the Indian startup ecosystem.