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Walmart buys Flipkart: Walmart- Flipkart deal may breed new gen of entrepreneurs

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BENGALURU: The Walmart-Flipkart deal will re-energise the startup ecosystem in India even as global investors will likely gain confidence after seeing the first such liquidity event take place locally. Investors who have ploughed billions of dollars in local startups — especially after 2014, but haven’t witnessed many exits — will now want to take new bets, said several people that TOI spoke to.

Read here: Walmart CEO says they couldn’t have built what Flipkart has

Tarun Davda, managing director at venture capital fund Matrix Partners India, said global smart money placing its bets on leading Indian startups is a vote of confidence for the Indian venture opportunity. “Over the last 12 months, Alibaba, Tencent, Naspers and now Walmart have taken meaningful positions in several Indian startups.

Also read: Is SoftBank reviewing decision to sell stake?

Though some naysayers believe Flipkart loses the ability to stay independent, the deal would spawn a renewed interest from global investors wanting to join the India startup bandwagon,” he said. Davda, an investor in Ola, Practo and Treebo Hotels, said it was time to celebrate Flipkart’s founders and the investors who backed the company.

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Flipkart investors like Tiger Global, Naspers, Accel Partners, and others made phenomenal returns on their investment. This is expected to not only instill renewed interest among global investors wanting to invest in the India startup story, but also foster a new wave of entrepreneurship. Zishaan Hayath, co-founder of ed-tech startup Toppr-.com , said this first mega exit will encourage a new breed of startup founders to set their sights on global ambitions and choose entrepreneurship as career choice. “Another big positive is how the investor sentiment will remain buoyant especially if Walmart plans to take Flipkart public in the next 2-4 years,” he said.

From bookseller to bestseller – the Flipkart story

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From bookseller to bestseller - the Flipkart story

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Walmart plans to publicly list Flipkart in a four-year period. This is why some of the investors like Tiger, Tencent and even Accel, which has only a small holding now, have stayed on in the company.

Read what Walmart will do next after buying in India, selling in UK

Rajiv Srivatsa, co-founder of the online furniture platform Urban Ladder, said the Walmart investment creates several opportunities for homegrown talent and companies, bringing about the best possible outcome for consumers. Online grocery platform BigBasket’s Hari Menon said it’s a big positive for India’s e-commerce segment. “Most consumer businesses need money upfront, so this would be a big boost,” he said.

However, he added, that this doesn’t necessarily mean that other founders can replicate the exit strategy that Flipkart followed. “That’s a factor of many things including an entrepreneur’s business blueprint and what investors expect out of them. This deal would be a precursor to others evaluating an exit option,” Menon said.

Updated: May 11, 2018 — 7:44 am

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