On September 12, an Indian e-commerce company called Snapdeal changed its logo and announced that goods from its marketplace would be shipped in vermilion boxes. It likely was desperate move to gain attention of shoppers. The closely held start-up is said to be worth about $6.5 billion (US), a hefty figure. But Snapdeal is only India’s third-biggest seller of stuff over the Internet—and it is falling behind the leaders. That valuation probably is shrinking.
Why should a reader of Canadian Business care about a fading Indian unicorn? Because a large group of Canadians has a stake in Jasper Infotech, the company that runs Snapdeal. In February, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan bought shares in Jasper worth US$200 million. Teachers’ won’t comment on the investment, but it is fairly obvious what is was thinking. Goldman Sachs predicts India’s ecommerce market will be worth $300 billion (US) by 2030, by which time the country will have more than one billion Internet users, compared with about 462 million today. Money will be made and Teachers’ decided to take a chance: Fortune favours the bold, right?
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