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Excl: Before backing Flipkart, Naspers invested in BuyThePrice.com this year

Naspers, a South Africa-based multinational group of media and e-commerce platforms, seems to be spreading its investment bets on Indian e-com space. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed company's arm MIH has quietly invested Rs 8.5 crore ($1.7 million) in Hyderabad-based MyZingo eCommerce Service Pvt Ltd, which runs the online shopping portal BuyThePrice.com, sources told Techcircle.in.

The investment was made in February this year but is yet to be made public.

An e-mail query sent to BuyThePrice spokesperson did not elicit any response till the time of posting this article.

BuyThePrice.com had earlier raised an undisclosed amount of angel funding from Rajan Anandan, Rehan Yar Khan, Sunil Kalra (all part of Indian Angel Network) besides one more unnamed individual. The MIH investment would be the first institutional round of funding in the company.

The startup was founded in December 2009 by Ranjith Boyanapalli (CEO), Tharachand Surydevara (VP-Operations) and Jagdish Kothapalle. Boyanapalli, IIM-Indore alumni, has earlier worked at companies like Infosys, CSC, and eYantra. Suryadevara holds an M.Tech degree in Geotechnical Engineering from IIT-Bombay and has worked with Infosys, Applogics Inc. and Polaris Software Lab. Prior to BuyThePrice, Kothapalle has worked with Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys.

The company had earlier started off as an e-commerce site for consumer electronics and appliances, but later added a number of categories to its offerings. As of now, the site claims to be offering over 1 lakh products (with 1000 brands) across a number of in categories that include mobiles, computers, cameras, appliances, lifestyle products, home and living, beauty and personal care, health and fitness, flowers and gifts, sports and leisure, stationary, among others.

Also, we couldn't help but notice a non-functional babycare, kids and toys category in the list, which most probably means that the startup will add products to it in the near future.

Naspers' principal operations are in Internet platforms (focusing on commerce, communities, content, communication and games), pay television and the provision of related technologies and print media (including publishing, distribution and printing of magazines, newspapers and books).

Last month, Flipkart Online Services Pvt Ltd, the company that owns and operates e-commerce site Flipkart.com had raised an undisclosed amount in its fourth round of funding from MIH (part of Naspers Group) and ICONIQ Capital, besides participation from existing investors Tiger Global and Accel Partners.

Naspers had earlier picked stake in OLX from a string of venture capital investors, including Nexus Venture Partners, among others. It also controls ibibo (or MIH India, a joint venture with Chinese internet firm Tencent), which has various properties including the OTA Goibibo. The MIH Group also owns a clutch of other e-commerce ventures in India including online shopping site Tradus.com and the payment gateway Payu.in.

It had acquired a majority stake in auto classifieds site Gaadi.com in February 2011 and most recently, picked a majority stake in six-year-old Gurgaon-based travel company Tek Travels, which runs the B2B travel portal Travel Boutique Online.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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