Indian e-commerce startup Snapdeal files for IPO

Snapdeal filed for an initial public offering on Tuesday, joining a number of firms in India that have tapped the public market this year.

The New Delhi-based startup, which counts SoftBank among its backers, said in its draft prospectus that it will issue fresh shares worth $165 million. Some of its existing investors, including SoftBank, Sequoia Capital India and Foxconn, plan to sell as many as 30.7 million secondary shares in the IPO.

The 11-year-old firm, which once competed with Amazon and Flipkart in India, has lost considerable market share in recent years and shifted focus to serve consumers in smaller cities and towns.

Snapdeal, which has raised more than $1.7 billion to date (according to Crunchbase and Tracxn) says more than 50 million unique customers have shopped at least once on its platform since April 2018. “75%+ of our business comes from repeat customers. More than 70% of our sales are from beyond Tier 2 towns and cities and 99% of our orders come via mobile phones. And we cover 96% of the pin codes in the country. Our users browse and connect with us in seven languages, beyond Hindi and English,” co-founder and chief executive Kunal Bahl (pictured above) wrote in recent LinkedIn post.

“Building Snapdeal 2.0 has meant creating all the required underlying capabilities to serve value-savvy users, staying within the guardrails of good economics and moving fast with bold and decisive steps,” he added.

The shift in focus came after months-long talks to merge the business with Flipkart didn’t materialize in 2017.

In its prospectus today, Snapdeal said it generated an operating revenue of $31.9 million in six months ending in September.

More than half a dozen consumer-focused Indian startups have filed for an IPO this year. While some, including Zomato and Nykaa, have made stellar debuts, others, including Paytm, which filed for the nation’s largest IPO, have consistently performed below issue share price. Insurance aggregator PolicyBazaar has also lost all its IPO gains.