Startups People

Launching five businesses, will enable direct transactions & facilitate logistics too: Pranay Chulet, CEO, Quikr

10 Apr, 2015

Online classifieds venture Quikr has just closed a fresh funding round raising $150 million from existing investors Tiger Global and Sweden's Kinnevik besides a new investor Steadview Capital Management. It is now planning to launch micro-sites for five sectors in which its users already post ads—real estate, automobile, jobs, services and goods. caught up with Quikr co-founder and CEO Pranay Chulet to understand the firm's strategy and more.

Quikr is launching new micro-sites under separate domain names like QuikrHomes, QuikrAuto, etc. What is the idea behind it?

We will be going deeper in five areas. The right way to look into this is what we have built in the last six-seven years is a big mother-ship brand and now we plan to launch big boats from this ship such as real estate, cars, jobs, goods and services. Services would consist of things like maids, cooks, drivers to plumbers. The idea is to leverage the trust we have built all these years. The good thing is that we don't have to build everything from the scratch. We are already present in these verticals. Each of these categories gets us equal revenue (paid ads).

Wouldn't this increase your marketing costs, as you are trying to sell more sites to the user?

It will go up a little bit. We have been investing in these areas. It is going into one Quikr. Now there may be $10-20 expenditure above the $100 we spend on a standalone site.

Would you transfer the existing listings on Quikr category wise to such sites to begin with? By when would the company launch these micro-sites?

The (same) listings will be visible on Quikr's main site as well. The plan is to take our existing platform and go deeper into separate verticals.

The launch would happen from six weeks to four months from now.

Online property search space is already crowded. What is the differentiation that you plan to bring with QuikrHomes?

We bring a somewhat different scale. If you look at size of Quikr's business, we are larger than many of the industry players in their respective spaces, whether in terms of number of users, listings and transactions. Now I don't know the transaction numbers of my competitors but Quikr reports 2 lakh transactions per month only in the real estate category. The value of this transaction is Rs 20,000 crore every month. It is a big space and given our healthy numbers, I will be surprised if we are not at the top end of the chart.

How do you track actual P2P sales if they happen at all? Most of them would be dormant listings....

The way we track it is that people come to delete their ads. At that time we ask them if they were able to sell their product. We report 15 lakh transactions every month across categories and the value of the transaction is $5 billion.

How many users do you have? How do you figure out what percentage comprise dormant one-post ad cases?

Quikr has 30 million unique users. They come to us every month. There are enough technical tools to verify active user base. So 60 per cent of our total user base are active, 30-40 per cent include people who have visited the site a few times before and then there are people who visit us for the first time.

How about enabling transactions through Quikr and even facilitating logistics?

Yes we are working on it. Logistics is a huge pain point for consumers. We plan to have an escrow account and take care of logistics between two parties. We are running a pilot for the same in Bangalore and Mumbai.

How many employees will the company add?

Currently Quikr has 1,200-1,300 people. We may double employee count in two years.

In consumer internet we are seeing larger firms snapping smaller ventures, even those which are not directly related to the core business. Would you actively look at such deals?

We are open to it. In a company of our scale, talks are always going on; it is an ongoing process. It is not like a one-time event. We do get approached by companies. In general, we try to make sure that our decisions are based on logical thinking.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)