How Flipkart evolved from an online bookstore into India’s biggest e-tailer

How Flipkart evolved from an online bookstore into India’s biggest e-tailer
Reuters

How Flipkart evolved from an online bookstore into India’s biggest e-tailer

A little more than a decade after Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal started an online bookstore they named Flipkart, US retail giant Walmart is set to acquire a majority stake in what is now India's largest e-commerce company. 

But how did Flipkart get here? After starting out selling books, Flipkart branched out into music, movies and electronics in 2010 shortly after getting a $1 million cheque from Accel Partners in its first funding from a venture capital firm.

As more investment poured in from the likes of Tiger Global among others, Flipkart capitalised on India's growing purchasing power and access to the internet to rapidly expand its online marketplace. By 2012, five years after its launch, Flipkart was valued at $1 billion.

Investment continued to pour in especially after US-based Amazon arrived on Indian shores in 2013 and pumped in billions of dollars in a bid to give Flipkart a run for its money. Meanwhile, other players like Snapdeal wilted amid intense competition.

Despite its stellar rise, Flipkart has encountered a few bumps along the way. Its bets on digital music and private label DigiFlip proved to be flops. Notably, its grocery delivery app was shut just five months after it launched. 

Even so, the Flipkart brand continues to get bigger. And with Walmart entering the fray, a new era is in the offing.

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