Flipkart hasn’t had the greatest start to 2016. We’re barely a quarter into 2016 and the e-commerce giant has constantly been in the news, and not for the best reasons.
At the beginning of the year, Flipkart announced that Sachin Bansal would be stepping down as the CEO and the other co-founder Binny Bansal would step into his role.
The management reshuffle wasn’t limited to the CEO switch. Many roles at the top were shuffled and reassigned.
In January OfficeChai reported that Chief Product Officer Punit Soni, who had been hired from Google barely a year ago, had put down his papers. While Flipkart denied these reports, and Punit Soni continued to play the “is he, is he not” game, it’s been finally confirmed, exactly 3 months after reports of his notice period, that Punit Soni has finally quit.
Barely a fortnight after the rejig, Myntra founder and Flipkart board member Mukesh Bansal quit Flipkart. In tow was Ankit Lagori, the Chief Business Officer at Flipkart who had joined Flipkart in its early days. Both Mukesh Bansal and Ankit Lagori are now in the process of setting up a sports related startup together.
A few days later, Flipkart had its valuation marked down by 27% by investor Morgan Stanley. The move saw the company’s value fall to $11 billion from the previous $15 billion, and raised murmurs about the health of India’s startup ecosystem.
Meanwhile, Flipkart’s VP of Seller Business & Ecosystem Manish Maheshwari also quit the company.
Sometime amidst all the news of the top level exits at the company, there were reports about talks of potential acquisition offer by Amazon. Even though the Flipkart founders hotly rubbished all the rumours, insiders believe that the Amazon-Flipkart talks have actually transpired. Amidst all this, founder Sachin Bansal had an uncharacteristic outburst on twitter, when he attacked Snapdeal and Paytm. Alibaba had announced its intention to enter the country, and Sachin thought that it was a sign that Alibaba’s Indian investments weren’t doing particularly well.
Alibaba deciding to start operations directly shows how badly their Indian investments have done so far
— Sachin Bansal (@_sachinbansal) March 25, 2016
Snapdeal founder wasn’t going to take it letting down, and he and Sachin had a brief but telling war of words on the micro blogging platform.
With a new CEO, and 5 of its top execs gone, amidst a snipped valuation and a funding slowdown, and still a sign of profits to come, Flipkart, at least on the face of it, looks to be on shaky ground. Whether these disparate events are just bad timing, or signs of trouble at India’s largest e-commerce firm, only time will tell.