Paytm Mall Gains Unicorn Status: Raises $445 Mn Funding From SoftBank, Alibaba

The beginning of the new financial year could not have been better for Paytm. While the parent company Paytm has been busy revamping its app, it’s ecommerce subsidiary Paytm Mall has secured $445 Mn in a funding round by SoftBank and Alibaba.
 
As per a regulatory filing by Paytm Ecommerce, SoftBank has invested $400 Mn (INR 2600 Cr) while the remaining amount i.e. $45 Mn (INR 292.5 Cr) has been invested by Alibaba. The first tranche of INR 357.5 Cr has already come into Paytm Mall.
 
Earlier this month, Inc42 reported that Paytm Mall is in talks with SoftBank to raise $600 Mn at a valuation of $2 Bn.
 
Confirming the development, Amit Sinha, Chief Operating Officer at Paytm Mall in a media statement said, “This latest investment led by SoftBank and Alibaba reaffirms the strength of our business model, growth trajectory, execution capability and the potential of India’s massive O2O model in the retail space.”
He further added that the funds will be deployed for empowering the shopkeepers with superior technology, building superior logistics, strengthening the Paytm Mall brand and bringing an enriching experience to the customers.
According to two sources close to the matter, the deal values Paytm Mall somewhere between $1.6 Bn-$2 Bn.
 
Based on Chain’s TMall retail model, Paytm Mall started operating as an independent entity (from Paytm) and a consumer shopping app in February 2017. Later, in March 2017, Alibaba invested $200 Mn in the company. Later in December 2017, it was reported that Paytm was planning to invest around $2.5 Bn in its ecommerce arm within the next three to five years.
 
As far as numbers are concerned, at the time of its launch, the ecommerce platform had over 140K sellers. As per company’s website, it currently has over 10 Cr+ customers, 500+ categories and has reached 39K pin codes.
The platform is further looking at diversifying its revenue streams. The company was reported to be chalking out tighter integration with online grocery startup BigBasket and logistics startup XpressBees as they build out their ecosystem. It was also reported that Paytm Mall has put a target to achieve $10 Bn gross merchandise volume run rate by end of FY19.
 
In the past few months Paytm Mall has brought in several new initiatives to expand its reach and customers, just last month, the ecommerce company launched a new model of retail allowing customers to walk into brick and mortar stores, scan product QR codes, browse information and make purchases via the Paytm Mall app. Through the latest initiative, Paytm Mall aims to maximise partnered brands’ reach and increase the overall efficiency of the retail ecosystem by combining three places: stores, warehouse and fulfillment hub into one place.
 
Last year, the company was also planning to invest $35 Mn into its logistics network. The development came soon after it announced to invest about $5 Mn to bring offline sellers online, under its Retailer Inclusion Programme.
 
Post the Snapdeal-Flipkart merger fiasco, SoftBank has been investing aggressively into the Indian market. During the period: April-December 2017, SoftBank invested over $5 Bn (almost equivalent to Amazon’s five-year investment target in India) to acquire significant stakes in some of the torch bearers in the Indian consumer Internet segment. These include $1.4 Bn investment in One97 Communication Ltd. (Paytm), $2.5 Bn in Flipkart, $250 Mn In OYO and $1.1 Bn in Ola.
 
As far as the Paytm Mall’s parent company, Paytm is concerned, the digital payments giant achieved decacorn status ($10 Bn valuation). Paytm has been lately adding  different verticals including banking (Paytm Payments Bank), wealth management (Paytm Money), Paytm Gold amongst many other initiatives. Paytm Ecommerce is currently fighting a tough battle with Flipkart and Amazon to claim the top position. With this fund infusion, what edge it will bring is something to watch out for.
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