After stepping down from the Snapdeal board around two weeks ago, SoftBank’s Lydia Jett has now joined the board of homegrown ecommerce unicorn Flipkart. Jett currently serves as a consumer Internet and ecommerce investor of SoftBank Vision Fund, which infused $2 Bn-$2.5 Bn funding into Flipkart earlier this year.
In a related development, SoftBank’s Kabir Misra recently joined the board of Paytm’s parent company, One97 Communications.
Apart from that, Saurabh Jalan also joined the Snapdeal board as an Additional Director earlier this month. Lately, SoftBank has appointed new representatives for its portfolio companies in India, and Lydia Jett’s appointment seems to be the latest one.
SoftBank has been the key investor of Indian startups in 2017, owing to its $100 Bn Vision Fund. Its big ticket investments include the $2.5 Bn in ecommerce giant Flipkart, $1.4 Bn in fintech platform Paytm, a $1.1 Bn round in cab aggregator Ola and a $250 Mn round in hospitality startup OYO Rooms.
Jett stepped down from the Snapdeal board in October, following the breakdown of merger talks between Flipkart-Snapdeal merger after 3 months of negotiations.
She is currently based out of San Francisco and her other investments include Indonesian online marketplace Tokopedia, Silicon Valley-based robotics company Fetch Robotics and Florida-based sports ecommerce company Fanatics.
An MBA graduate from Stanford University, Lydia Jett previously worked as an Investment Banking Analyst at J.P. Morgan and Principal Investment Area Associate at Goldman Sachs.
What Happened In The Aftermath Of Flipkart-Snapdeal Merger Failure
Despite SoftBank’s unrelenting efforts to push the merger of the two ecommerce platforms, the merger fell through and after a few days, SoftBank cut legs of Snapdeal by infusing a mammoth amount of funding into Flipkart.
One cannot forget that Tiger Global Management, one of the early investors of Flipkart and Ola, also underwent similar changes last month, when its representative Lee Fixel stepped down from board of the home-bred cab aggregator. At present, it seems eager to offload a portion of its stakes in its leading portfolio companies even as SoftBank looks to grab those stakes.
Earlier in November, US-based venture capital firm Tiger Global was looking to sell worth $450 Mn of its shares in Flipkart, thereby indicating a partial exit. The Vision Fund offered it a little over $88 a share which gives Tiger Global a return of around $1 Bn on the $450 Mn purchase. The Vision Fund’s investment in Flipkart had been approved India’s anti-trust regulator. However, the deal has not been confirmed by the officials.
After Lee Fixel stepped down from Ola’s board of directors, it was reported that the US-based VC fund is looking to share its stake in cab aggregator Ola to SoftBank and the deal is waiting for regulatory approval.
With the two investment giants playing to their strengths in order to capture the Indian ecommerce market which worth $40 Bn, it will be interesting to see how the appointment of Lydia Jett on the Flipkart board affects the growth model of the commerce giant.
Update 1: 27 December, 10:40 PM
The earlier version had mentioned Tiger Global as a hedge fund, we have updated it to venture capital firm on request from the team.