After revolutionising the IT industry in India, Infosys’ co-founder and former chairman N R Narayana Murthy is hoping to do the same to the already burgeoning e-commerce sector.
Murthy’s private investment firm Catamaran Ventures, a ₹600-crore fund launched in 2010, has formed a joint venture with global e-commerce giant Amazon’s Asia unit to create a new entity. This new entity will help small and medium businesses in India.
According to an Amazon spokesperson, the partnership was formalised in May and Catamaran has the majority shareholding in the newly floated entity.
The spokesperson, however, did not divulge the name of the new company, but added that it is operational across major cities and towns in India to train Small and Medium Business (SMB) sellers in online tools.
“The partnership will focus, accelerate and scale the inclusion of SMBs into the digital economy,” he added. Catamaran could not be contacted.
However, there is no clarity on the synergy that Amazon India will derive from the Catamaran-Amazon Asia partnership. Amazon India declined to comment.
The $3.2-billion e-commerce market in India is at its high growth stage with domestic players such as Flipkart, Myntra, Snapdeal and Jabong targeting gross merchandise volume or GMV (a term used in online retailing to indicate a total sales dollar value for merchandise sold through a particular marketplace over a certain time frame) this year.
Meanwhile, international players such as Amazon, Walmart, Rakuten, Alibaba and Ebay are also eyeing this growing segment. This, the experts feel, would be possible if they engage the small and medium enterprises in a more efficient manner.
Amazon Asia is understood to be providing the backend and logistics support.
Catamaran has already made investments in online fashion portal Yebhi.com, which is apparently in a struggling phase after two co-founders quit early this year.
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