Snapdeal, a leading e-commerce company in India, has appointed Jason Kothari as CEO of its digital payments services business FreeCharge. The Delhi-headquartered company will also invest an additional US$20 million in FreeCharge, which it acquired in April 2015 for US$400 million.

In addition to taking on the role of FreeCharge CEO, Kothari will continue his key leadership role as Chief Strategy & Investment Officer at Snapdeal. He will also join the Board of Directors of FreeCharge.

Kothari joined Snapdeal in January this year.

Kunal Bahl, Co-founder and CEO at Snapdeal, said, “As India moves towards a cashless and digital economy, we are certain that FreeCharge will play a pivotal role in the transition. We remain committed to the success and vision of FreeCharge. Jason is a strong, strategic and versatile business leader & entrepreneur who has already been the CEO of two successful companies.”

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Most recently, Kothari was CEO of SoftBank-backed online real estate company, where he led the successful turnaround of the company from a position of distress to a market leader in one and a half years using organic and inorganic growth. Under his stewardship, Housing changed its business strategy and plan, raised an additional round of funding from lead investor SoftBank, and achieved key operating results, such as increasing revenue by 400 per cent.

Jason Kothari

Jason Kothari

Prior to joining Housing, Kothari was CEO and Vice Chairman of character-based entertainment company Valiant Entertainment, where he led the successful acquisition out of bankruptcy and turnaround of the firm. Valiant raised US$140 million from leading strategic investors, including the former CEO of Marvel Entertainment and Chinese media conglomerate DMG Entertainment.

FreeCharge is mainly competing with Mediatak-backed Mobikwik and Alibaba-backed Paytm

FreeCharge is a digital payment services platform that enables consumers to make payments for their prepaid recharges, postpaid bills, DTH recharges, broadband recharges, utility bill payments such as electricity across nearly 25 distribution companies, gas and water. In addition, consumers can use their FreeCharge wallet to pay for their fuel purchases, travel and commute bookings, food delivery and dining, movie and event tickets, shopping needs across leading offline and online merchants.

Started in February 2010 by Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, Snapdeal is the third largest online marketplace in India, with a wide assortment of 65 million plus products across 1,000-plus categories from over 125,000 regional, national, and international brands and retailers. With millions of users and more than 300,000 sellers, Snapdeal delivers to 6,000-plus cities and towns in India.

In its journey till now, Snapdeal has partnered with several global marquee investors and individuals such as SoftBank, BlackRock, Temasek, Foxconn, Alibaba, eBay Inc., Premji Invest, Intel Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Ratan Tata, among others.

Recently, Snapdeal fired hundreds of employees and said it plans to lay off nearly 600-1,500 more across various divisions, including its logistics unit Vulcan and Freecharge over the next few days. 

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