Snapdeal in talks to buy online inventory and order tracking start-up Unicommerce

Indian online retailer Snapdeal is in talks to acquire online inventory and order tracking start-up Unicommerce eSolutions Pvt Ltd, for at least Rs63 crore.

SnapdealThe move comes less than two months after Japanese telecom and media group SoftBank agreed to invest $627 million in Snapdeal for a 30-per cent stake, making it the single-largest investment in an e-commerce company. (See: SoftBank invests $627 mn in Snapdeal)

Unicommerce returned an investment of $10 million (Rs62 crore) from New York-based investment fund Tiger Global to pursue a potential deal with Snapdeal, The Economic Times today reported, citing multiple people familiar with the development.

"Talks are in the late stage and this deal makes strategic sense for both parties," one of the sources told the ET.

Delhi-based Unicommerce was founded in 2012 by three IIT graduates Ankit Pruthi, Karun Singla and Vibhu Garg.

Its flagship software service product (SaaS) called Uniware, which is hosted on Amazon Web Services in Singapore, allows retailers and small merchants a single platform to track orders on a real time basis from the time the order is placed till they are delivered via more than 25 shipping services, as well as tracking inventories on multiple channels.

Unicommerce, whose clients include Snapdeal, Jabong, Myntra, Groupon and others, is in the process of adding payment reconciliation, which is currently undergoing beta testing.

Unicommerce processes over a million orders a month, representing 10-12 per cent of all e-commerce trade in India, excluding travel, and plans to target at least 15 per cent of the Indian market, before going global.

Delhi-based Snapdeal, was founded in 2010 by entrepreneurs Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, as a daily deals platform modeled after Groupon.com, and by September 2011 had expanded into an e-commerce company via a marketplace model like its larger rival Flipkart.

It claims over 25 million registered users and more than 50,000 business sellers.

Snapdeal.com has raised close to $1 billion this calendar year from global investors. The company's marquee investors include BlackRock, Temasek, eBay, Premji Invest, Intel Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Ratan Tata among others.

Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons, has also made a personal investment in the company (See: Ratan Tata invests in Snapdeal as Tata Value ties up online home sales)

Snapdeal had earlier said that it will invest the money in ramping up its efforts in technology and supply chain management. The company also plans to expand its fulfillment centres to 30 cities, from the present 15, and aims to expand its merchant base to 1 million in the next three years.

Snapdeal also hopes to make three - four strategic acquisitions in the coming few months specifically in the area of mobile technology.

With mobile commerce fast gaining pace in the country, within the next six months Snapdeal will also set up an incubation centre to hone and harness start-up businesses in the mobile technology space.