Snapdeal to invest $20 million in Freecharge, names Jason Kothari as CEO
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New Delhi: Snapdeal, run by Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd, has named Jason Kothari as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Freecharge, the e-commerce marketplace said on Monday. It has also committed to invest $20 million in the payments services arm.
Kothari, the former CEO of Housing.com, joined Snapdeal as its chief strategy and business officer in January, following the merger of SoftBank-backed Locon Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which runs Housing.com, with PropTiger (Elara Technologies Pte. Ltd).
Kothari will continue in his role at Snapdeal and will take up the additional charge at Freecharge, Snapdeal said. He is also accorded a seat in the board of directors of Freecharge.
Kothai’s appointment was anticipated after former Freecharge CEO Govind Rajan resigned last month. Kothari had stepped in to manage the operations at the wallets firm, as part of his larger responsibility to oversee operations at Snapdeal’s portfolio companies.
“We remain committed to the success and vision of Freecharge. Jason is a strong, strategic and versatile business leader and entrepreneur who has already been the CEO of two successful companies. We are delighted to announce his leadership role at Freecharge,” Snapdeal CEO Kunal Bahl said in a statement.
Kothari, who led Housing.com as CEO from August 2015 to January 2017, was earlier the CEO and vice-chairman of US-based entertainment company Valiant Entertainment. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
“The digital payments space in India is forecasted to be over $1 trillion by 2025. I’m excited to join the talented team at Freecharge at such a high-growth and dynamic time in the industry and expect Freecharge to continue to play a key role in this digital payments revolution,” Kothari said in a statement.
Freecharge, which was acquired by Snapdeal at a valuation of around $450 million, is one of leading wallet firms in the country alongside Paytm and Mobikwik. It was founded by Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tandon in 2010.
The announcement comes at a time when parent Snapdeal is pitching to investors for a fresh funding round.
Mint reported in January that Snapdeal, which posted Rs3,316 crore in losses on sales of Rs1,457 crore in the fiscal ending March 2016, was in talks with SoftBank Group Corp. to raise funds at a valuation of $3-4 billion, significantly lower than the $6.5 billion peak it touched in its previous round. It had also held talks with strategic and financial investors to part-sell Freecharge, but the deal did not go through over an expectation mismatch in valuations, Mint reported.