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Amazon, Patni Group form joint venture to strengthen customer support

LiveMint logoLiveMint 25-09-2017 PTI

New Delhi: Amazon has formed a joint venture with the Ashok Patni Group — Frontizo Business Services — that will offer customer support services to the Indian consumers of the US-based e-tailing giant.

According to documents submitted to the corporate affairs ministry, Delhi-based Frontizo Business received Rs196.16 crore between June and August this year. Amazon Asia Pacific Holdings contributed Rs94.15 crore, while Zodiac Wealth Advisors (investment fund managed by Ashok Patni and family) pumped in over Rs100 crore into the entity.

US-based Zaffre Investments contributed the remaining amount, the documents showed. When contacted, an Amazon India spokesperson declined to comment, but a spokesperson for Frontizo Business Services confirmed the development.

“The JV has commenced its operations in Bangalore and offers multi-channel customer support services, including e-mail assistance, customer outreach and contact on the phone as well as chats... Amazon is one of the first customers of Frontizo,” the spokesperson said in an emailed response.

The spokesperson added that there is a tremendous and a unique opportunity for the JV as majority of new e-commerce customers will come from small towns and rural areas and have different needs like vernacular language support and alternate operating models to serve them.

Patni Group is the majority partner in the JV and Vinod Kumar is the CEO of the JV, the spokesperson said. Frontizo has been created out of another entity, Capricorn Business and Trade Services that was established in 2012.

According to regulatory filings, Zodiac Wealth Advisors holds 51% stake in the JV, while Amazon Asia Pacific Holdings and Zaffre hold 48% and 1% share, respectively. Frontizo has three representatives of Patni and two of Amazon on its board.

Amazon, which is locked in an intense battle for leadership in the Indian market with SoftBank-backed Flipkart has committed investments of $5 billion in the country. It has been aggressively investing in strengthening its logistics and delivery operations, as well as payment operations.

Last week, Amazon’s investment arm NV Investment Holdings bought 5% stake in Indian brick-and-mortar retail chain Shoppers Stop.

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