As investors scramble to plow money into India’s on-fire e-commerce sector, Asia’s top and one of theworld’s fastest growing, another Indian e-commerce player is set to enter the billion dollar club. Online classifieds startup Quikr is now valued at $1 billion with a fresh round of fund infusion of $150 million from existing investors like Tiger Global and eBay as well as new investor, Steadview Capital, reports say.
Quikr currently enables 1.5 million monthly transactions amounting to $5 billion of commerce, a four-and-a-half times increase in the past year. The latest round is yet to be officially announced, but its founder Pranay Chulet is quoted as saying the Bangalore-headquartered Quikr will grow to ten times its size in the next three years. Such growth projections at Quikr and other leading Indian e-commerce startupsare whipping up an investment fury.
Quikr had raised $60 million from Tiger Global and others in Sept 2014 at a reported valuation of $400 million. Quikr’s main rival OLX is backed by South Africa’s internet group, Naspers .
Quikr is a rendering of the popular American classifieds platform Craigslist, but with an Indian twist. Its main verticals include cars, real estate, jobs, household electronics and services. It also has newer categories like entertainment catering to movie-crazy India where film makers, technicians and actors list their services. Its recent innovation Quikr NXT is an instant messenger-type experience, where buyers and sellers can chat and exchange photos but without having to reveal phone numbers.
“We are initiating the Indian masses into transacting online,” Quikr’s founder and CEO Pranay Chulet said in a recent conversation with Forbes. Many Indians in the hinterland are selling farm produce, such as “desi ghee (Indian clarified butter), mithai (Indian sweets) and even buffaloes,” on the platform, he said. Users have so far sold over 1,000 buffaloes on Quikr, he said. In the jobs category, blue-collar workers like maids, cooks, chauffeurs and nannies are responding to and placing employment ads.
Chulet said India’s growing affluence and changing social mindsets explain the growth of the used goods section of his platform. “Indians no longer buy products for life, that explains the supply. At the same time, there is huge demand from a bigger India which aspires to own but cannot afford expensive goods.” Also, Chulet said, startups like his are removing the taboo associated with buying used goods. “Younger Indians are buying everything from cellphones to treadmills on our platform and realize it is a smarter way to acquire.”
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