Snapdeal’s $100M Mobile Platform Investment

The Times of India reported Monday (Sept. 7) that eCommerce company Snapdeal will invest $100 million in Shopo in an effort to push users of the venture to a million-member mark.

Shopo, which debuted two months ago in July, is a mobile-centric platform that looks to take small and medium businesses, shut out from larger eCommerce portals, onto the Internet.

In an interview with the Times, Kunal Bahl, the cofounder and chief executive officer of Snapdeal, said that “we launched Shopo in mid-July, and we already have 20,000 shops on the platform. The response we have got, only from word of mouth, is overwhelming.” The executive further said his company remains confident that it will have 1 million shops on the platform within the next 12 months, The $100 million investment will take place over the next two years. “We are also working on a community of ‘Shopo angels’ to drive consumer engagement,” he said.

The Shopo model lets entrepreneurs list their products without having to submit documents, nor do they offer up any commission to Snapdeal for sales. The platform lets merchants list photos of their wares; they also can utilize a chat function to help communicate with buyers. Additionally, the company is looking to branch out into payments gateways.

Bahl pointed to Alibaba’s Taobao model — a consumer-to-consumer marketplace that relies on an online platform to facilitate transactions — stating that “we are just like them. We can look at options like advertising to make money. The idea of Shopo is to bring online as many sellers as possible.” Alibaba also is an investor in Snapdeal. In another partnership, Snapdeal partnered with India’s government to create a specialized, craft-focused marketplace in a format to push online transactions in that arena.

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