Paytm Mall, the online marketplace, has conducted initial discussions with SoftBank, the Japanese investment giant, for heading a financing round worth $500-600 Million. This data was confirmed by 2 sources well known with the agreement to the media in an interview. Soft-Bank is seen to be investing almost $300 Million into Paytm Mall, which distinguishes itself from its larger competitors Flipkart and Amazon as a marketplace that assists transport offline retailers online.
If the agreement goes well, it will be yet one more gamble that Masayoshi Son will be covering on fast-altering online retail market of India after he headed a funding of almost $2.5 Billion at Flipkart previously this year via the gigantic sized SoftBank Vision Fund. The Internet and telecom conglomerate is also the biggest stakeholder in Snapdeal, which the sponsors ineffectively attempted to amalgamate with Flipkart for a better part of 2017.
SoftBank already grabs almost 1/5th in One97 Communications, which operates the Paytm Mall as well as digital payments arm Paytm, both of which are separate bodies. Paytm Mall is also busy with the U.S. investors, which are well-known with business of Alibaba, for a possible contribution in the round, sources claimed to the media. They further added that the funding might come through by early 2018.
A source who is well aware of the deal discussions claimed, “The funding suggestion is yet to be talked with the firm panel. On the other hand, there are casual commitments from investors that have come through. They still require setting a valuation for the payment since the initial capital from SAIF and Alibaba was an inside round.”
Presently, the Jack Ma-controlled Alibaba group grabs more than 50% share in Paytm Mall that came to life post the Noida-located One97 Communications separated its payments and commerce businesses. The online marketplace got $200 Million from the venture fund SAIF Partners and Alibaba group to begin processes in 2017. SAIF Partners is also an investor in the parent One97. When made a contact, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the founder & CEO of One97 Communications, declined to comment on interest of SoftBank in giving financial support to Paytm Mall, while a representative for SoftBank claimed, “We cannot speak on rumors.”
SoftBank is investing fund in Paytm Mall is not shocking since the biggest technology sponsor all over the world is seeking to strengthen its place in some of the most famous user Internet segments, be it ride hailing or e-commerce.