Lydia Jett, a leading investor at SoftBank Group is the latest representative to join the board of Jasper Infotech, the parent company of Snapdeal and digital payments platform FreeCharge. The development came to light via company filings on March 30th, sourced from Tofler, a business research platform for Indian companies.
The board for Snapdeal has seen various modifications since the beginning of the year. About a couple of months ago, we witnessed the departure of SoftBank COO Jonathan Bullock on the grounds of personal reasons and other obligations. At the same time, the e-tailer announced that Bullock’s responsibilities will be transferred to other SBGI Managing Directors, namely Kabir Misra and David Thevenon, following which Misra joined the board on March 10th. The arrival of Jett hence marks the third major board arrangement for the year.
The development comes at a time when SoftBank, the largest investor (33%) for Snapdeal has abruptly cancelled its $150-200 million debt financing offer. SoftBank is squaring off against two of Snapdeal’s early backers—Kalaari Capital and Nexus Venture Partners in the boardroom. A person aware of the matter said that both Kalaari Capital and Nexus Venture Partners are livid at the developments, and have questioned SoftBank about its intention with regard to the online marketplace. This tussle between the two groups has been cited as the prominent reason for multiple failed funding rounds.
The newest board member, Ms. Jett has received her B.A. in Economics and Government from Smith College and is an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She has worked with investment firms such as Goldman Sachs & Co., J.P. Morgan Securities, Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer Inc. in Los Angeles and with Moxie Capital LLC in San Francisco. Her keen interest lies in domains such as media, education, telecom, and finance.
On Snapdeal’s board, SoftBank has two seats at the table, and Kalaari and Nexus, have one each. Jasper Infotech’s board also includes co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, and Bharti Enterprises vice-chairman Akhil Gupta as an independent director. Jett will act an additional director for the board.