Snapdeal appoints Jason Kothari as CEO of Freecharge, commits funds

E-commerce firm Snapdeal said it has appointed former CEO Jason Kothari as the Chief Executive Officer of its wallet service FreeCharge at a time when competition in the mobile payments space is at an all-time high.

Contrary to rumors of a cash crunch, Snapdeal said it will invest an additional $20 million in Freecharge.

Freecharge, India’s second largest mobile wallet service, is engaged in a do-or-die battle with market leader PayTM, which has grown extremely fast after demonetization of 500 and 1000 rupee notes in November provided a big boost to wallet and payment companies.

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

Snapdeal, one of the top three online retail companies in India along with Amazon and Flipkart, had raised hundreds of millions of dollars in the last few years as investors vied with each other to fund ecommerce startups in India.

However, with global giant Amazon upping the ante by committing billions of dollars and outspending local rivals, investor enthusiasm for online retail companies has taken a dive.

Kothari joined Snapdeal in January this year and was put in charge of managing Freecharge as part of Snapdeal’s investment portfolio. Last month, Freecharge’s CEO Govind Rajan put in his papers.

Prior to joining, Kothari was CEO & Vice Chairman of character-based entertainment company Valiant Entertainment.