A2zbaby.com site is closed; end of the road for the e-com player?

19 Nov, 2012

Yet another player seems to have joined the list of e-commerce startups shutting shop. This time, it is babycare products e-tailer A2zbaby.com, a brand owned and operated by Mumbai-based Claymould Interactive Pvt Ltd.

The site is not operational at present and during the weekend, a message posted on the site read: The site has been temporarily shut down for maintenance.

According to sources, the company's business was dwindling for some time and it was looking for funds and even approached would-be acquirers in its vertical earlier this year, but did not find buyers. We tried contacting the founders via e-mail regarding the site closure but it failed to elicit any response till the time of posting this article.

Additionally, Kapil Chawla, one of the co-founders, has changed his work profile on LinkedIn and it clearly indicates that his stint at A2zbaby is now over (Jan 2011-Aug 2012).

The company was co-founded by Premanshu Singh and Chawla in 2011. An IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus, Singh had earlier worked with companies like SMS GupShup, Johnson & Johnson and ITC Ltd. Chawla holds a PGDBM from the Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, and worked with HFCL (India), GTL Ltd, Infosys Technologies, Webaroo Inc., Endemol and SMS GupShup, before starting A2zbaby.

Other players in the baby/kids' products space include Firstcry.com, launched in November 2010 by Pune-based BrainBees Solutions Pvt Ltd; Babyoye.com, set up in May 2010 by Mumbai-based Nest Childcare Services Pvt Ltd; HushBabies.com, started in May 2010 by Lapis Marketing Services Pvt Ltd and Hoopos.com, started in January 2011 by Purple E-Retail India Pvt Ltd.

The first casualty in the Indian e-commerce space was Taggle.com, a generic e-com site run by Bangalore-based Taggle Internet Ventures, which shut shop last December. It was set up as a group buying site, but later changed its business model to generic e-commerce. The company had also raised funds from Battery Ventures and Greylock Partners in June 2010. At the time of shutting shop, it had attributed the decision as a direct result of the unsustainable price war.

Within a week of that, Vamoose Vacations Pvt Ltd (Vamoose.in), launched by TravelMart India Pvt Ltd, also shut shop. Consequently, the site Vamoose.in was merged with the parent company TravelMart, one of the early travel services providers in the country.

In April this year, Hyderabad-based group buying site Dealivore, a deep discount deal provider promoted by ICUMI Technology Pvt Ltd, also shut down. At that time, the company claimed that it was outrun by a vastly funded company that executed well (probably hinting at Snapdeal which was a daily deals site earlier). But the company was not the only deals site shutting shop.

Chennai-based deals site Masthideals, (part of Sri Jagdamba Pearls Group), which provided deals for restaurants, spas, resorts and theme parks, had ceased its operations too. Other shutdowns included Bangalore-based group buying site Scoopstr and Snatchdeal, and then there was 30Sunday.

Only last month, Mumbai-based Shopveg.in, an e-tailer of vegetables, fruit and grocery, pulled its shutters down due to lack of capital. "From the business perspective, this business is damn good and we were also doing good. But this is not typical e-commerce since it needs capital to expand. Unfortunately, we ran out of it. We exhausted all our capital and now, despite several efforts, we are unable to raise external funds," said Shopveg co-founder Saurabh Dhapodkar at that time.

But according to industry experts, this is just the beginning and going forward, you will see a lot more consolidation in the e-commerce space. Do you think it is a case of trying to do too much, too fast, or has the e-commerce space become too crowded and therefore, too competitive for businesses to flourish? Share your comments below. Also, keep track of this space as we try and get an official confirmation from the company and bring you further insight.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)