Flipkart chief executive officer (CEO) Kalyan Krishnamurthy has invested an undisclosed sum in business-to-business (B2B) industrial goods marketplace Moglix, in what comes as the first solo investment by the top executive.
Krishnamurthy joins Moglix’s individual investors — a notable list that includes Tata Group chairman-emeritus Ratan Tata, Jeff Epstein, former chief financial officer at Oracle, and Vikrampati Singhania and Shailesh Rao, ex-vice presidents at Twitter and Google, respectively, among others.
It is not immediately clear whether Krishnamurthy will take an advisory role at Moglix or if the deal is a precursor to a potential business alliance between Moglix and Flipkart, India’s largest business-to-consumer e-commerce firm.
“I am happy to join the Moglix team as an investor in my personal capacity. Moglix, under Rahul’s leadership, has charted impressive growth in the B2B commerce space and is creating meaningful impact on the manufacturing industry through innovative use of technology. It is gratifying to be able to support this home-grown industrial B2B leader at this important juncture,” Krishnamurthy said in a statement.
Moglix was started by former Google executive Rahul Garg in 2015. Headquartered in Noida, the firm runs an eponymous e-commerce platform for the sale and purchase of manufacturing tools like pumps and motors, measurement equipment, power tools and electricals. According to its website, Moglix has over 450,000 stock keeping units (SKUs) and over 2,000 suppliers catering to a customer base of around 150,000.
The firm is backed by Accel Partners, Jungle Ventures, Venture Highway and International Finance Corporation (IFC), having raised about $40 million is external funding so far. In December last year, it raised a series C round of $23 million.
“It’s great to have Kalyan back us as an investor and join an illustrious list of global investors who have believed in Moglix’s potential. Kalyan has played an important role in shaping e-commerce in India and his experience in scaling businesses will serve as a guiding light for us as we execute on our vision to transform B2B commerce and the Indian manufacturing sector using technology and innovation,” Garg said in a statement.
While it is a first such investment Krishnamurthy, Flipkart co-founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal (not related) had reportedly made around 50 angel investments in start-ups during their time at the e-commerce firm. Some of these start-ups later partnered with or got acquired by Flipkart.
Flipkart, which was acquired by US retailer Walmart Inc in May last year, is fighting a busing battle for dominance with Amazon in the B2B space so its entry into a new business vertical seems unlikely at the moment, analysts said. “But look how Flipkart recently launched flight tickets… their strategy has always been to go broad and wide, and this could be an early bet in a future growth area,” an analyst who tracks e-commerce said, requesting anonymity.