Two more Top Ex­ecs Snap Ties with Snapdeal

The Economic Times - - Disruption: Startups & Tech - Payal.Gan­guly@ times­group.com

Ben­galuru: Snapdeal’s head of cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment Ab­hishek Ku­mar has re­signed, be­com­ing the sec­ond se­nior ex­ec­u­tive to leave the on­line mar­ket­place re­cently as it strug­gles to raise more money and re­duce spend­ing the cash it has in hand. Ab­hishek Ku­mar, em­ployed with Snapdeal for close to three years and who over­saw its $400-mil­lion ac­qui­si­tion of mo­bile wal­let com­pany FreeCharge in 2015, is serv­ing his no­tice pe­riod, a com­pany spokes­woman said. Ku­mar, along with founders Ku­nal Bahl and Ro­hit Bansal, was re­spon­si­ble for rais­ing fresh funds for Snapdeal, ac­cord­ing to com­pany ex­ec­u­tives aware of the de­vel­op­ments. The money hasn’t come through yet. For­mer Hous­ing.com CEO Ja­son Kothari, whom Snapdeal hired as chief strat­egy and in­vest­ment of­fi­cer last month, will take on Ku­mar’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

The other man­age­ment-level exit was of San­deep Ko­mar­avelly in Jan­uary. He was se­nior vice-pres­i­dent in charge of Snapdeal’s mo­bile cus­tomer-to-cus­tomer mar­ket­place Shopo and left to join a new ven­ture after the unit was merged with FreeCharge at the end of last year.

Ko­mar­avelly had joined Snapdeal when it ac­quired his group-buy­ing web­site Grab­bon in 2010. As head of mar­ket­ing from 2010 to 2015, he was re­spon­si­ble for bring­ing on­board ac­tor Aamir Khan as the brand am­bas­sador for com­pany’s Un­box Zindagi pro­mo­tional cam­paign. “Ab­hishek Ku­mar has de­cided to take for­ward his en­tre­pre­neur­ial in­ter­est, which takes him out­side Snapdeal,” said a com­pany spokes­woman. On Ko­mar­avelly, she said he had “moved on to pur­sue other op­por­tu­ni­ties in the en­tre­pre­neur­ial space”. Ku­mar and Ko­mar­avelly could not be reached for a com­ment.

Snapdeal has been in talks re­cently with ex­ist­ing in­vestor SoftBank to raise money at a val­u­a­tion of $3-4 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple aware of the ne­go­ti­a­tions. That’s down from the $6.5 bil­lion that Snapdeal was valued at when it se­cured $200 mil­lion from On­tario Teach­ers’ Pen­sion Plan and oth­ers in Fe­bru­ary last year. Also, sim­i­lar to Flip­kart, with fresh in­vest­ments not com­ing by, Snapdeal has been striv­ing to re­duce its cash burn. Even so, on Mon­day, the com­pany said it was on path to achiev­ing prof­itabil­ity over the next two years. Snapdeal had in 2015 in­di­cated a three-year run­way to prof­itabil­ity. In 2015-16, Snapdeal.com’s loss in­creased to ₹ 3,316 crore from a loss of ₹ 1,328 crore in the year prior, while rev­enue grew to ₹ 1,457 crore from ₹ 933 crore. The on­line mar­ket­place’s man­age­ment has been at the cen­tre of a churn with se­nior ex­ec­u­tives be­ing moved across Snapdeal, FreeCharge and the com­pany’s lo­gis­tics arm Vul­can. In Novem­ber, Vishal Chadha, who was over­see­ing Snapdeal’s seller net­work, was re-des­ig­nated as the head of busi­ness, cat­e­gories, brand al­liance and ser­vices. Com­pany vet­eran and Grab­bon co­founder Tony Navin was made se­nior vice pres­i­dent of part­ner­ships and strate­gic ini­tia­tives, and vice pres­i­dent Anub­hav Goyal was given charge of the price an­a­lyt­ics team. Snapdeal’s vice pres­i­dent of de­sign Har­ish Si­vara­makr­ish­nan quit the same month to join Google In­dia. Around that time, Shopo was merged with Snapdeal’s pay­ments busi­ness FreeCharge, a tran­si­tion that Ko­mar­avelly helmed, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany. Snapdeal ac­quired Shopo, a plat­form for small sell­ers, in 2013 and had planned to in­vest ₹ 665 crore in it by 2017. In­stead, it chose the merger. “The en­tire team of Shopo was merged with FreeCharge as they work with small mer­chants,” said a com­pany spokesman.

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