Walmart-owned Flipkart, which had announced the launch of its startup accelerator Flipkart Leap in August 2020, is now ready to mentor and support the first batch of eight startups. These startups work across five areas viz., Design & Make for India; innovations in digital commerce; technologies to empower retail; supply chain management and logistics, and enabling deeptech applications. The eight startups are e-commerce enabler ANS Commerce, emotion intelligence SaaS company Entropik Tech, apparel manufacturing marketplace Fashinza, tech-enabled network of mid-size grocery stores Gully Network, personal finance hub for consumer Piggy, supply chain monitoring solution provider Tagbox Solutions, parcel sorting robotic system Unbox Robotics, and IoT platform for precision agriculture Wolkus Technology.
The first cohort will undergo a 16-week mentorship programme that will offer one-on-one business and technical mentorship, masterclasses, and networking sessions focused on venture development along with helping them explore partnership opportunities with relevant business units at Flipkart, the company said in a statement. The selected startups will also get an equity-free grant of $25,000 each. “With Flipkart Leap, we aim to nurture promising startups and help them create compelling solutions for customers and bring value to the industry,” said Naren Ravula, VP, Product Strategy and Deployment, Flipkart.
Flipkart’s accelerator programme is another startup engagement initiative by the company after it launched the venture fund for startups in March 2019. The company had invested in loyalty programme marketplace EasyRewardz in its series B funding as well through the fund. With a venture fund and accelerator programme, Flipkart has now been part of the growing tribe of top corporates in India such as Reliance, Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Amity, Intel, Oracle, Target, Yes Bank, etc. supporting startups with incubation and accelerator services. The trend of large businesses supporting startups, however, isn’t new at all in the global startup ecosystem and has been existing in the form of venture capital arms, family office, incubator/accelerator vertical, or investment on a standalone basis.
The development at Flipkart came days after the company had rejigged its board to have Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy along with HDFC’s Vice Chairman and CEO Keki Mistry, Walmart’s Global Chief Technology Officer Suresh Kumar, and Walmart International’s Executive Vice President of International Strategy and Development Leigh Hopkins to its board ahead of the planned IPO this year or early 2022.