Marquee investors including SoftBank and Sequoia India have advised their portfolio startups in India to join the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC).
The investment firms have been in contact with ONDC executives to understand the impact of the central government’s initiative on India’s ecommerce landscape. It is prudent to note here that India’s ecommerce opportunity will reach $400 Bn by 2030, according to an Inc42 report.
An ET report citing sources said that the senior executives of the investment firms have interacted with chief executive T Koshy and other executives at ONDC on multiple occasions over the past few weeks. According to the cited sources, investors such as SoftBank are supporting the network.
CEO T Koshy, while confirming the development, told ET, “We are in touch with multiple large investors including venture funds who have been keen to understand ONDC and how it will operate and influence and transform ecommerce in India.”
IVCA also held a meeting with the ONDC team to understand how startups and ONDC can collaborate.
The investors’ interest comes as the government is pushing to expand ONDC rapidly across the country. The government is looking to reach 100 cities by the end of the year and has launched a pilot programme in April this year.
In a recent conversation with Inc42, Srireesh Joshi, CBO of ONDC, said that ONDC is in talks with more than 200 companies. ONDC has already attracted a host of India’s largest ecommerce and related startups such as a host of Flipkart subsidiaries, Dunzo, Paytm and Meesho, among others.
Recently, ecommerce startup Snapdeal also announced that it will be joining the network by August and is in the final stages of doing so. According to media reports, 3PL unicorn Shiprocket is also in talks to join ONDC soon.
Addressing media reports and speculation that ONDC will compete with Flipkart and Amazon, Joshi added that the network is not here to compete with anyone.
“We are not here to challenge Flipkart, Amazon. We are essentially ecommerce enablers helping the small retailers leverage the digitisation of commerce through our network,” said Joshi.
The network, backed by several of India’s largest public and private banks, is looking to address the very small share that ecommerce has in India’s total retail business. At only 4-5% reach within retail, India’s ecommerce sector still is in its nascent stages. The network aims to increase this reach to match and surpass the global standards.
The network is not only looking to onboard ecommerce startups. Media reports from last month suggested that the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) held talks with ONDC executives to onboard restaurants to the network, while Swiggy and Zomato are planning to join the network as well, along with hospitality major OYO.
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Marquee investors including SoftBank and Sequoia India have advised their portfolio startups in India to join the Open Network for… NewsInc42 Media