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Walmart turns to Indian startups for entrepreneurial talent to boost growth

With the rising competition in the retail sphere forcing companies to innovate and advance, department store chain Walmart’s (NYSE: WMT) strategy seems to be acquiring as much entrepreneurial talent as possible. According to Financial Express, Walmart is in talks with close to a dozen Indian startups – mostly those in the nascent stages – with an aim to acquire people with entrepreneurial skill, especially in the fields of retail and technology.

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Citing unidentified sources, the report claims that the retail giant had approached 8 to 10 Indian startups in the past four months. The startups operate in varied areas such as retail technology, social networking, and platform as a service.

Though most of the talks are in the preliminary stages, Walmart is close is establishing a deal with a social media startup, the report adds.

According to the report, Walmart will use around $100,000 to $200,000 for these acquisitions. As most of the start-ups are pretty small in size, the deal values are not expected to be huge. The acquired talents would be used to create products and technologies for Walmart, in a bid to keep the Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) threat at bay.

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Walmart’s India focus comes a year after its acquisition of 77% stake in Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart. The acquisition was made in order to tap into the lucrative Indian e-commerce market, where Amazon was making a disruptive expansion.

Walmart’s latest SEC filings reveal that Flipkart burned over $1 billion last year to improve its distribution system and to offer better discounts to Indian customers. This is almost on par with Amazon, which has been shelling off similar amounts each of the past few years.   

Separately, Walmart is also likely to pump in another $1.2 billion of its cash lying outside the US to fund Flipkart operations. These international cash reserves cannot be transferred back into the US due to some regulatory issues.

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