Recently, Flipkart’s board of directors authorized mobile payments subsidiary PhonePe to become a separate entity. PhonePe is expected to be valued at up to $10 billion.
According to public records, PhonePe was founded in December 2015 by three Flipkart employees who left Flipkart shortly before Flipkart founders Binny and Sachin Bansal decided to buy PhonePe.
In May, Wal-Mart paid $16 billion for a 77 per cent stake in Flipkart Online Services, a local Indian retail e-commerce company, and six months later increased its stake from 77 per cent to 81.3 per cent.
The move signals wal-mart’s confidence in its bet on Flipkart, which can take advantage of Flipkart’s e-commerce expertise and emerging Indian middle class to compete, or even compete, with rivals such as Amazon in online retail.
In fact, India’s e-commerce market does have broad prospects. India’s e-commerce market is expected to quadruple to $200 billion in the next eight years, according to a government report. By 2034, India will overtake the United States as the world’s second-largest e-commerce market.
PhonePe has seen rapid growth over the past few years, benefiting from the huge dividends in the Indian mobile payment market, with 290m payments and $85bn in total in the year to June, according to the company’s data release.
In late may, media reports said PhonePe was looking for a $1 billion financing, on top of a $7 billion to $8 billion valuation, and was in talks to invest for strategic investors in several countries.
PhonePe will be an independent unit with a different investor base once the financing is completed, although walmart’s Flipkart will remain a shareholder. The deal could close in the next few months, the sources added, though talks have not been finalized and terms could change.