INDIA – The ecommerce company, Flipkart has announced a new fund to support growth and development of early stage startups in India.

According to the firm, the fund targets companies working in areas related to e-commerce, financial technology, payments and complementary spaces to drive innovation in their spaces of operation.

With an aim to build the ecosystem with world-class founders and ideas, the internal fund will help the companies with the capital needed to expand their innovation.

“With this initiative, we’re delighted to support such innovative early-stage start-ups that are working on next-gen technology in and around our ecosystem,” said Flipkart group chief financial officer Emily McNeal.

“The aim is to seed innovation that is good for India and which promotes digital inclusion in a variety of spaces, by enabling start-ups to focus on bringing their ideas to life and scaling them.”

According to ET Retail, the fund is estimated at US$60-100 million and is expected to be invested from Flipkart’s balance sheet.

ET said Flipkart plans to put together an investment committee and bulk up its M&A team which will scout for these opportunities and cut the required checks.

According to the company, there are over 400 million internet users in the country and technology adoption in the country is at an inflection point, thus millions of people from tier-II and III cities and villages are expected to join the digital stream in the next few years.

The existence of barriers like trust, affordability, access etc., are some of the friction points that startups are trying to solve through innovations in the country, said the firm.

“We are proud of the fact that as a homegrown company, Flipkart’s innovations have helped create much of the ecosystem on which the Indian ecommerce industry has thrived over the past decade, be it in supply chain and logistics, after sales and support, or technology,” said Emily.

She added that ecommerce space in the country is witnessing growth of startups with technologies that will eventually contribute to the ‘Digital India’ programme.

The Walmart-owned online retailer is responding to a global trend where tech companies such as Google, Alibaba and Tencent have launched their venture arms to tap into early-stage technology and talent.

In 2017, Walmart launched a startup incubator called Store No.8 to support companies developing next-generation technologies for the future of retail.