Bengaluru: The investment by the Alibaba Group in e-commerce firm Paytm, run by One97 Communication Ltd, surprised investors and analysts as the Chinese e-commerce firm recently picked up a small stake in rival Snapdeal.
Typically, large e-commerce companies tend not to share investors, especially a strategic one such as Alibaba, for obvious reasons.
In this case, Paytm and Snapdeal, which is owned by Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd, are competing directly in the online marketplace and the payments businesses. The presence of Alibaba in both sparked off talk of a potential merger between Snapdeal and Paytm, which was immediately dismissed by the companies and their investors.
While it is rare, there are other cases of Indian e-commerce firms having some investors in common, though not a strategic one such as Alibaba.
In the US, some start-ups share investors. For instance, at one point, well-known venture capitalist Kleiner Perkins held stakes in Google Inc., Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc.
In such scenarios, venture capital firms assign different partners to the competing firms and ensure there is no exchange of information on these businesses among them to avoid conflict of interest.
Here are some prominent instances of large e-commerce firms in India having common investors.
Snapdeal and Flipkart
Kalaari Capital—One of the early investors in Snapdeal became a small shareholder in Flipkart, which acquired another Kalaari portfolio company Myntra in May 2014.
Snapdeal and Shopclues (Clues Network Pvt. Ltd)
Nexus Venture Partners
Flipkart and Shopclues
Grocery delivery apps Grofers (Locodel Solutions Pvt. Ltd) and Peppertap (Nuvo Logistics Pvt. Ltd)
Food delivery apps TinyOwl Technology Pvt. Ltd and Faasos Food Services Pvt. Ltd
Doctor discovery platforms Practo Technologies Pvt. Ltd and 1MG Technologies Pvt. Ltd