Indian e-commerce company Shopclues has raised a Series E that the company claims boosts its valuation to $1.1 billion. The round was led by GIC, the Singaporean government’s sovereign wealth fund, with participation from returning investors Tiger Global and Nexus Venture Partners. Shopclues says that this is the last round of venture capital it will raise before holding an initial public offering next year.
Though the exact amount of the Series E was undisclosed, a source close to the company says it is in the range of the $150 million to $200 million that Shopclues was reportedly seeking this fall, according to a Times of India article published in November (the same person said that a more recent Times of India report that the company raised $100 million at a $800 million valuation is inaccurate).
Its new unicorn valuation puts Shopclues in the same league as competing Indian e-commerce companies Flipkart (another GIC and Tiger Global portfolio company) and Snapdeal, which are also valued at over a billion dollars each. All three of these companies, as well as Amazon India, offer a wide range of products, but Shopclues is carving out a niche by focusing on price-conscious consumers in smaller cities that are often overlooked by online sellers.
“We are targeting the kind of shoppers who are now coming online and who you will see more of this year and next,” co-founder and chief executive officer Sanjay Sethi told TechCrunch.
One of the ways Shopclues is able to offer low prices while keeping margins sustainable is by serving as a platform for merchants instead of carrying its own inventory. Part of its Series E round will be used to improve its cloud-based e-commerce tools and attract more small businesses. Shopclues currently provides services like capital loans and logistic and online payment tools.
The company claims that its gross merchandise volume (GMV, or total value of merchandise sold online) has grown over four times since January 2015 and that it currently ships over 3.5 million items on a monthly basis. It expects to hit profitability by the first half of 2017, which is also when Sethi says the company plans to list on the U.S. or Indian stock market.