Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive of SoftBank, who met the Prime Minister recently promising $10 billion investment in India in the next few years, made the first revelation of putting in $627 million in e-retailer Snapdeal, followed by another deal to invest $210 million in Ola Cabs.
With a market cap of $92 billion, SoftBank is one of the largest players in the telecom and Internet investment space. It already has made investments in many Indian companies like InMobi and Hike.
Founded just four years ago in 2010, Snapdeal has emerged among the fastest-growing online marketplace in India and now claims more than 25 million registered users and over 50,000 business sellers.
The e-retailer said it also intended to open innovation centres across the country and that after the first one in the nation capital, it had already opened another in India’s tech capital Bangalore. Soon Hyderabad and Pune will follow.
The company said it will also double its technology team size to 1,000 people by the end of the current financial year and expand its supply chain efforts to 30 cities. It now has 40 fulfilment centres in 15 cities.
Kunal Bahl, co-founder and chief executive of Snapdeal, also announced that Nikesh Arora, vice chairman of SoftBank, will join his company’s board and that the group will also seek to address the needs of one million small businesses in India. Its existing investors include Tiger Global, Matrix Partners India and Steadview Capital.
Ola Cabs was founded in January 2011 by two alumni of Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, running car rentals from the fleet of its partners through its mobile platform, web site and call centres. Currently, it is present in 19 Indian cities, providing 33,000 cabs daily for customers.
“This fresh investment led by SoftBank will further propel Ola to be an integral part of India’s transportation ecosystem across newer cities by making available an efficient, reliable and convenient option for users and service providers,” the company said.