Flipkart will close Smart Fulfillment; Offers return as restaurants recover

Flipkart is phasing out Smart Fulfillment, a service that allows sellers to stock goods in their (Flipkart-approved) warehouses for quick delivery. Soon, sellers will have to stock their wares in Flipkart’s warehouses or manage the logistics themselves. Flipkart said the move would cut costs for sellers, but some aren’t so sure.

So in this letter:
■ Financing, mergers and acquisitions return as the food industry returns to pre-Covid levels
■ Lightspeed, Moore invests in the sale of $ 75 million secondary stock of Razorpay
■ 9Unicorns can extend the inaugural fund to $ 120 million

Flipkart will shut down one of its vendor fulfillment services


Flipkart is closing one of its sales services, called Smart Fulfillment, we read in a note to the sellers who use the service.

With Smart Fulfillment, sellers would allocate a separate area for their products in their warehouse or place of business, which would be connected to Flipkart’s systems so that these products can be delivered more quickly. Vendors would maintain these warehouses to company standards and these products would be labeled “F-Assured” on Flipkart.

Why? The discontinuation of smart management means that sellers will have only two choices: stock their goods in Flipkart’s warehouses or manage the logistics themselves. Moving more inventory to Flipkart warehouses will enable faster deliveries and reduce costs, a source told us.

“We have found that Smart Fulfillment is leading to additional costs for sellers due to dedicated manpower, additional leased space, and third-party software to reduce operational challenges,” Flipkart said in the note.

Yes but: Three sellers ET spoke to said that while the move may help some sellers ship goods faster, they may have to pay more for this service.

“From now on I will end up paying Rs 4-5 extra per order for the rental of space in the Flipkart warehouse and other services,” said one of the vendors. “For sellers moving small volumes of shipping, this won’t be useful,” she added.

Flipkart’s rival Amazon also has a Smart-like service from Flipkart called Amazon Seller Flex, which is available to all of its sellers worldwide.

I am looking for more sellers: Flipkart said this last month it had made changes to its market policy and added features to attract new sellers.

The changes included reducing the payment settlement cycle from 15 days to 7-10 days, seller onboarding by 10 minutes, and guaranteed returns through sales from ads posted on Flipkart. It currently has over 4.2 lakh vendors on the market.

Financing and mergers and acquisitions return as the food industry returns to pre-Covid levels

food industry

Investor interest, fundraising and mergers and acquisitions are again in the fine dining, fast service and coffee sectors after a two-year downturn induced by the pandemic, executives said.

The Rs 4.2 lakh crore food service industry, which saw more than 25% of restaurants shut down during the pandemic, has returned to pre-Covid numbers, attracting investor interest, executives said.

What are you cooking? At least a dozen deals are in the works and interest has grown from private equity operators for the financing. Established chains are also looking to buy small businesses, startups, and cloud kitchens.

Ashish Kapur, promoter of premium bar chains Whiskey Samba and The Wine Company, said the group set aside Rs 150-200 crore to acquire a mix of top-tier regional and international brands.

Riyaaz Amlani, chief executive of Impresario Handmade Restaurants, which owns Social and Smoke House Deli, said that while there is still some degree of caution, investor interest has come back a lot. “We are in talks with several private equity players to raise funds and inorganic opportunities,” said Amlani.

Wow Momo Foods, backed by Tiger Global, is in advanced talks to close funding in the Rs 150-200 crore range over the next four to five weeks, QSR co-founder Sagar Daryani said.

Delivery-only platforms and cloud kitchen companies have also mobilized, as Foodtech FreshMenu platform said it would spend over Rs 20 crore for the expansionexpanding the sub-brands and introducing private labels.

Others like Tim Hortons, Canada-based coffee shop and chain QSR, which will debut its first store in India next month, have signed a major franchise agreement with AG Cafe, the joint venture between the retail group of fashion and lifestyle Apparel Group and Gateway Partners investment manager.

Lightspeed, Moore invests in the sale of $ 75 million secondary stock of Razorpay


Lightspeed Venture Partners and Moore Strategic Ventures have acquired a stake in digital payment firm Razorpay as part of a $ 75 million secondary stock salethe company said.

Us first reported on April 22 that venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners, which has backed startups like Udaan, Byju’s, Oyo, among many others, was in the final stages of talks to invest in the Bengaluru-based unicorn. We also signaled that other investors could join the funding round.

This secondary stock sale also saw Razorpay’s first angelic investors give up their stake in the company.

Assessment: Razorpay was valued at $ 7.5 billion in December 2021 after a $ 375 million funding round. Sources said the secondary transaction took place with a valuation of approximately $ 6.5 billion.

Secondary transactions typically occur at a discount to the most recent primary funding round. In a secondary stock sale, existing investors, employees with stock options sell their shares to new investors, and the money does not go to the company.

Razorpay said around 650 current and former employees have sold their stock options as part of this stock sale. According to the company, this is the fourth and largest stock option buyback since it began operating in 2014.

The shares suffer a setback, but Paytm, Nykaa grants new Esops, shares

The parent companies of Paytm and Nykaa have New stock options and shares granted to their own employees as their shares continue to decline.

Payment: One97 Communications has granted 3.97 million new stock options to its employees, according to a stock exchange filing of the company.

The strike price of these stock options is Rs 9 each, the company informed the exchanges.

The company also assigned no. 177,114 shares to employees who exercised their options.

Nykaa: FSN Ecommerce has awarded 1,00,150 shares to employees who have vested their options, as the documents showed.

Neither company has named the people who have been granted stock options in their deposits.

Battered stocks: Since listing in November last year, One97’s shares have been pummeled and have fallen roughly 75% from the IPO price of Rs 2,150 per share. It closed on Monday at Rs 556, down 2.11% from the day.

Nykaa’s stock closed at Rs 1,433 at close on Monday, up 21% from its IPO price of Rs 1,125 but down from its listing price of Rs 2,054.

9Unicorns can extend the inaugural fund to $ 120 million

Apoorv Ranjan Sharma

The 9Unicorns risk fund, which focuses on companies in the creation phase, it is expected to increase the size of its first fund to $ 120 million, according to a senior fund official. The fund has raised $ 100 million to date.

Quote: “We are looking at a 7% or higher stake in the startup we invest in,” founding partner of investment firm Apoorva Ranjan Sharma told us.

Wallet: Sharma said 9Unicorns has invested nearly $ 45-50 million in various startups, such as Vedantu, Shiprocket, Biddano, BluSmart, IGP.com, Faarms, Instoried, and GoQii.

Other offers made

■ Skillmatics, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand for educational products and games, has raised $ 16 million in a financing round led by Sofina Ventures, with the participation of existing investors Sequoia Capital India and Jalaj Dani Family Office.

■ The travel and hospitality technology platform Oyo said yes the acquisition of the European company “Direct Booker” with the transaction valuing the latter at around $ 5.5 million (Rs 40 crore). Direct Booker has more than 3,200 homes and has served 20 lakh customers so far, Oyo said.

■ Gemba Capital, a micro venture capital firm, said it did made an initial close of Rs 75 crore for its first fund. Gemba announced an inaugural corpus of $ 10 million (Rs 77.48 crore) in September last year. Up to 50% of the capital will be invested in fintech and SaaS startups, while the remainder will be distributed across a variety of industries, including web3, gaming, deep tech, healthcare and B2B commerce.


Other main stories from our reporters

arun parameswaran

Bullish Salesforce on India: Believes Salesforce, an American cloud-based software company India represents a “huge white space” that offers tremendous room for growth and has increased the number of employees to take advantage of this opportunity, Arun Parameswaran, senior vice president and chief executive officer of sales and distribution at Salesforce India, told ET.

Uber to cut costs, CEO tells staff: He wants Uber cut costs and focus on becoming a leaner company in response to a “seismic shift” in investor sentiment, according to an email to employees of chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi.

Global choices we are reading

■ India’s VPN crackdown demonstrates growing attention to mass surveillance (rest of the world)
■ ‘Cryptocurrency Reports’: London thieves target digital investors by taking phones (The Guardians)
■ Apple engineers in China continue to flow products as Covid excludes US personnel (WSJ)

Today’s ETtech Morning Dispatch was curated by Zaheer Merchant in Mumbai and Judy Franko in New Delhi. Graphics and illustrations by Rahul Awasthi.