Quikr, a horizontal classifieds player, has raised $8 million in fourth round of funding â€“ led by new investor, Nokia Growth Partners (NGP), and returning investors, Norwest Venture Partners and eBay Inc. This takes the total monies raised by Quikr in private capital close to Rs 90 crore since inception, making it one of the heavily funded internet companies in India.
In April last year, the horizontal classifieds player raised $6 million (about Rs 27 crore) in the third round of funding, led by new investor, Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), and returning investors, Omidyar Network, Matrix Partners India and eBay Inc. Prior to this, it had raised around Rs 20 crore, led by Omidyar Network and with commitment from series-A investor Matrix Partners in July, 2009, as its second round of funding.
The company would use the monies raised for product development (for its online and mobile platforms), ramping up its marketing capabilities and other such operations, Pranay Chulet, CEO, Quikr India, told VCCircle. The classifieds player is not immediately looking at an international footprint, as it feels that there is so much of "untapped growth at home."
Quikr offers a web and mobile-based classifieds platform which addresses a variety of local needs in 40 cities across India. According to a Press statement, more than 10 million consumers visit Quikr every month to buy, sell, rent or find things â€“ ranging from laptops to mobile phones, cars, real estate, jobs and everything in between. Quikr claims to be a leader in horizontal classifieds in India. From being a pure online player, the company has also expanded itself across mobile media in the last 12 months.
"We are impressed by Quikr's growth and product leadership in online classifieds. We expect the rapid adoption of 3G and smartphones to create significant new opportunities for Quikr to deliver classifieds and other local commerce opportunities to mobile devices. We look forward to partnering with Quikr to support its growth in this high potential market," said Upal Basu, managing director, NGP Advisors India.
The company has three defined revenue streams â€“ advertising, premium listing and providing lead generation for small-scale businesses. Chulet declined to provide any revenue data regarding the company.
Private equity investors continue to be bullish on the classifieds space. Ver se Innovation Pvt Ltd, a mobile classifieds service firm, raised Rs 20 crore from Matrix Partners; Ask Laila, a local classifieds company, raised two rounds of venture capital funding from Matrix Partners India and Lightspeed Venture Partners; Helion Ventures invested in Delhi-based GETIT Infoservices, a producer of yellow pages and directories; SAIF Partners backed JustDial, a local information company, and Norwest Venture Partners backed Sulekha, a local classifieds site. Nexus Venture Partners also invested $5 million in New York-based classifieds firm OLX, which has a presence in markets like Portugal, Mexico, South America and China, besides India.
The local listing space has also attracted interest from corporate houses. Recently, Malaysia-based Astro All Asia Networks bought 50 per cent stake in New Delhi-based GETIT Infoservices for around Rs 100 crore, valuing GETIT at Rs 200 crore. In December, 2008, internet giant Yahoo! acquired 30 per cent stake in Chennai-based Network Management Co. Pvt Ltd, which owns the telephone-based directory search service Call Ezee. Another corporate active in this space is Television Eighteen India Ltd (TV18), which acquired Infomedia18 from ICICI Venture in 2007.
According to analysts, the next decade will bring massive growth in the internet sector in India, supported by highly favourable demographics, growing Internet-broadband penetration, launch of one of the world's best 3G networks, growing middle class income levels, noticeable pick-up in tech gadgets and mobile culture and surge in homegrown internet start-ups.