Flipkart eyes online insurance and global supply chain amid talks to raise $1 bn by January

Pankaj Mishra June 20, 2016 2 min

Flipkart is planning to tap into the lucrative online insurance market in the country and is also exploring ways to establish a global logistics network to sell in other markets. The company is also in talks to raise $1 bn in fresh funding by January next year, two people directly familiar with the talks said last week.

India’s largest ecommerce company is in talks with two potential partners–Coverfox and Yakit to partner in the areas of online insurance and global logistics. Meanwhile, recent talks to raise fresh funding have taken longer because some potential investors are questioning Flipkart’s last valuation of around $15 bn, a situation the company hopes to change over the next few months.

“The talks with investors including Alibaba are still on the table,” said the second person. “It’s kind of like who blinks first, but Flipkart doesn’t seem to be in any hurry.” 

When contacted, a Flipkart spokesperson said the information about the company being in talks with Alibaba “is completely false.”

A lot would depend on how Flipkart performs over the next few months. According to company insiders and those familiar with Flipkart’s strategy, potential alliances and deals with startups such as Yakit and Coverfox are going to be crucial in improving the prospects.

According to one of the people who spoke on condition of anonymity, the new CEO Binny Bansal has already identified online insurance among several revenue streams to be explored by Flipkart.

“Talks with Coverfox have already been held, a distribution alliance is currently on the table.”

Flipkart’s ambitions to build a global supply chain are bold and a possibility the company has not really articulated in the past. But the company is exploring ways to expand its logistics footprint in other markets quietly. Moreover, as Sachin Bansal, Flipkart’s executive chairman and co-founder told me in a fireside chat in May this year that there are opportunities to export “the Flipkart model” outside.

He said:

We believe similar environments exist in other emerging markets, and we hope what we are building here will become relevant in markets elsewhere. No plans as of now to go there, but someday we will assess.

Meanwhile, Flipkart is soon going to find itself in a tug-of-war between two of the most aggressive and biggest e-commerce companies in the world: Amazon and Alibaba. While the former is beginning to double down on the Indian market by investing billions of dollars, Alibaba is not too far behind. The outcome can be  Alibaba’s acquisition of Flipkart, as I wrote earlier this month, among several possibilities.

Both Amazon and Alibaba have a global supply chain, helping them ship to various international markets.

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