Delhi-based Jasper Infotech Pvt Ltd, which runs e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal, has quietly picked a stake in Smartprix Web Private Limited, which runs online product and price comparison site Smartprix, sources privy to the development told Techcircle.in.
This comes as yet another strategic move for Snapdeal in acquiring or getting an exposure to third-party e-commerce enabling ventures over the last year or so. It had recently acquired gifting recommendation venture Wishpicker besides snapping fashion products discovery platform Doozton around a year ago.
It is learnt that Snapdeal had initially acquired 10 per cent stake in Smartprix in FY14 with the understanding to acquire a majority stake eventually.
"Snapdeal's VP engineering Amitabh Misra had joined the board of Smartprix as one of the directors," said one of the sources. Misra is one of the senior most employees of company who has been at the forefront of setting up the tech team which counts well over 100 members.
An email query to Snapdeal chief Kunal Bahl did not elicit a response. When contacted, Misra declined to comment on the development.
We have also contacted Smartprix founders Hitesh Khandelwal and Abhinav Choudhary and will update the post as soon as we hear from them.
Smartprix was founded in May 2011 by then IIT-Delhi students Choudhary and Khandelwal who have dual degree in computer science and engineering.
Smartprix.com is an online comparison shopping that helps users compare different products and choose the best product according to their needs. It also presents the pricing information of the product on different online stores and provides review, ranking and recommendations.
Its product categories include mobile phones, tablets, laptops, cameras personal care appliances, accessories and books. The firm also features deals on all kinds of products and plans to introduce newer categories.
The firm earns commission from the affiliates for every sale. To date, it has tied up with over 50 online stores.
Snapdeal is not the first firm to eye a piece of a product price comparison engine. Amazon already runs a India specific price comparison site called Junglee.com which operates in about 26 categories that include electronics, computer & accessories, kitchen & home, media & gaming, baby products, and musical instruments, etc. The firm had recently also entered into the pre-owned items space by allowing users to post an ad and also through its tie-up with Quikr to enable its users to find such locally available pre-owned items on its portal. These items are essentially displayed under related product listings.
There are several startups in the price comparison space, many of whom have managed to grab VC attention. Among these, Zopper.com raised $5 million led by Tiger Global Management LLC, PriceBag.com raised $2 million from angel investors, MySmartPrice raised $1 million from Accel and Helion, YouTellMe.com recently raised $100,000 from Dutch early-stage fund Bright Ventures, among others.
Snapdeal, which raised close to $1 billion across three funding rounds last year with SoftBank coming in as a lead investor in the company last year, has been on the lookout for inorganic expansion.
However, as against 2012-13, when it acquired vertical e-com players such as Shopo and Esportsbuy, its deals over the recent past has been around e-com enablers.
The firm has set up a mobile-focused startup incubator & seed fund and had appointed Abhishek Kumar, who was previously heading investments in Palaash Ventures, to look after acquisitions, investments and deep partnerships that can lead to mergers. He is also responsible to look at all avenues of inorganic expansion for the e-commerce player.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)