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BENGALURU: Business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce platform Udaan will shift towards a formal chief executive officer (CEO)-led model and has appointed co-founder Vaibhav Gupta as CEO as the first step.

The move comes at a time when Udaan is in the early stages of exploring a public listing and plans to hit the exchanges in 18-24 months.

The company, which was co-founded by former Flipkart executives Gupta, Amod Malviya and Sujeet Kumar, did not have a CEO earlier, with the three founders managing different aspects of the business.

As a part of the new operation model, co-founders and board members Malviya and Kumar will actively work with Gupta to ensure that the organization effectively transitions to a CEO-led structure, the company said. The changes are effective immediately, it added.

“Founded with a vision to empower the small and medium businesses of Bharat, Udaan has come a long way in the last five years, creating not only the B2B e-commerce industry in India, but also a playbook that is being quickly emulated in other developing economies," Gupta said.

“As we embark on the next phase of our growth journey, it is important to lay the right foundations. It is with this objective that this structure has been created that will help in the evolution of the organization, enhance agility and efficiency, drive innovation, and bring us closer to the customer," he said.

Udaan has invested more than 4,000 crore over the past 18 months across different business pillars, including technology, supply chain, credit, people and compliance, to accelerate its growth.

“We are delighted that Vaibhav has agreed to be the captain of the ship and steer Udaan towards the future. The Indian market offers tremendous growth potential in the B2B e-commerce space, and having worked together for years, we know that Vaibhav, with his in-depth understanding of the business, is the best person to lead the organization," Malviya and Kumar said in a joint statement.

For the next few years, the company is expected to focus on strengthening governance, driving innovation, capabilities, systems and processes with a focus on building a talent pipeline, the co-founders added in the statement.

Udaan is focused on facilitating B2B trade for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and brings traders, wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers and brands onto one platform.

It operates across various categories of lifestyle, electronics, home and kitchen, staples, fruits and vegetables, fast-moving consumer goods and pharmaceuticals.

Udaan’s platform serves more than 3 million users, 1.7 million retailers and 30,000 sellers on the platform across 12,000 pincode areas of the country.

In January, the company had raised $280 million from Chinese technology behemoth Tencent, which valued the company at a little more than $3 billion. Udaan’s existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, DST Global, GGV Capital and Altimeter Capital also participated as a part of the round.

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