On the heels of Walmart’s $16-billion investment in Flipkart, WalmartLabs, the technology arm of the US retail giant, has made its first ever Indian acquisition. The company has brought on-board the entire team of engineers from Bengaluru-based Appsfly, which built a system for micro apps to get hosted and streamed on any platform.
The six-member Appsfly team will join WalmartLabs’ team for delivering engaging and consistent shopping experiences to Walmart’s customers. WalmartLabs powers the retail firm’s e-commerce offering the world over in addition to technology acquired through JD.com.
Hari Vasudev, country head and vice-president for technology at Walmart Labs India, said: “As a key market of growth and expansion, this is an important step we have taken in India. At Walmart, innovation is our DNA and our teams are invested in creating a seamless experience to let customers shop anytime and anywhere.”
WalmartLabs, which has been on the lookout to acquire start-ups since 2015, has yet to make any acquisitions until now despite in talks with several of them. Walmart seems to be stepping on the pedal in India, after picking up a 77 per cent stake in the country’s largest e-commerce marketplace Flipkart.
Apart from Walmart, other global technology firms have dipped their feet into acquiring players in the Indian start-up space. Last year, Google acquired Bengaluru-based Halli Labs to supplement its ‘next billion user’ initiative, in what was seen as an acquihire. Facebook had acquired Little Eye Labs in 2014, followed by Twitter buying missed call marketing platform ZipDial in 2015.
This is a second coming of global tech firms acquiring Indian firms. In 2012, Amazon had acquired Junglee.com, which gave it an early foothold in India’s then emerging online shopping sector. eBay had made an earlier entry into the country with the acquisition of Baazee.com in 2005, making it the first US e-commerce major to step into India. India has emerged as a hub for technology talent, even in the retail technology space. Target and Tesco are among the other two large global retailers who have teams in India, despite not having a retail presence in the country.