Portfolio getting back on track with gradual unlocking: Info Edge

Portfolio getting back on track with gradual unlocking: Info Edge
Sanjeev Bikhchandani
24 Sep, 2020

The Covid-19 induced nationwide lockdown in March affected operations of several companies, with online food delivery being among the worst-hit sectors. Food tech unicorn Zomato, which is an Info Edge investment, also initially faced poor sales but is now on a recovery path, the company said on Wednesday. 

“The food delivery industry continues to show strong signs of recovery. It is steadily growing to pre-Covid levels, with the overall sector clocking over 85% gross merchandise value (GMVs), up from close to 75% last month,” Zomato chief executive Deepinder Goyal wrote in a blog post. 

Earlier this month, Info Edge announced that its shareholding in Zomato has come down to 22.2%, on a fully converted and diluted basis after the food delivery platform raised an equity round led by Tiger Global Management. 

Other investments of Info Edge such as business-to-business ecommerce company Shopkirana, grooming products startup Ustraa, retail print chain Printo, agritech startup Gramophone and others are also getting back to its top-line while curtailing costs, the company said in its annual report of FY19-20. 

“For companies like Zomato, the dislocation was temporary in nature and the businesses are now showing recoveries,” it said. 

While several companies suffered due to the lockdown, others saw an increase in business. Insurance aggregator Policybazaar, for example, was able to leverage the increased internet penetration during lockdown and saw significant improvements in its operations. 

“PolicyBazaar continues to benefit from growing digital penetration, which has helped it to improve the overall profitability of the business. However, PaisaBazaar has been impacted by moratorium extensions. It has substantially reduced headcount to preserve cash; and is exploring opportunities of expanding the business into non-lending categories,” Info Edge said. 

According to the report, job portal Naukri is back to 95 % of its pre-Covid levels.

Real estate platform 99acres has seen buyer and owner traffic bouncing back to 90% of pre-Covid levels. For both matchmaking website Jeevansathi and education portal Shiksha,  traffic is now higher than the same time last year. 

“The pandemic has thrown new opportunities with more adoption of digital technology by individuals and companies. We are optimistic about the future especially given the fact that the pandemic has shifted many operations to online rather than ‘in person.’ This will expand the addressable market opportunity for us and go a long way to increase the demand for digital services of the type we provide today or can potentially provide in the future,” Hitesh Oberoi, managing director and chief executive officer of Info Edge said.

In January, Info Edge announced the launch of its Alternate Investment Fund (AIF), called the Info Edge Venture Fund. With the fund, it has made seven investments – Qyuki, Dotpe, Fanclash, Truemeds, Ruskmedia, Bulbul and Firsthive. The company also did some follow-on rounds in its earlier investee companies like Univariety, Policybazaar, Shoekonnect, Shopkirana and others.