BUSINESS

Defying Layoff Trends, E-Retailer IndiaMart To Invest ₹50 Crores In Up To 40 New Offices

A niche pays off

07/09/2016 7:07 PM IST | Updated 08/09/2016 1:06 PM IST
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Dinesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO of IndiaMart.com

At a time when Indian e-retailers are cutting staff amid financial pressures, business-to-business (B2B) online marketplace IndiaMart is on an expansion drive, with plans to open 35 to 40 new offices, and hire 500 people this quarter alone, Dinesh Agarwal, IndiaMart's Founder and CEO told HuffPost India.

Noida-based IndiaMart plans to invest ₹40 to ₹50 crores into the new offices, said Agarwal, adding each branch would receive about ₹1 crore. IndiaMart currently employs 3,500 staff in India across its 65 offices.

IndiaMart primarily serves the domestic wholesale small-to-medium B2B market and its platform currently connects over 30 million buyers to over 2.5 million suppliers that trade a variety of products ranging from hard-to-find industrial tools, fasteners, automobile parts, electrical equipment to karaoke machines and DJ systems.

The company is also investing heavily into its tech platform that underpins its online marketplace model. Just this week, it brought on Amarinder S Dhaliwal, formerly chief operating officer of Micromax YU, as its chief product officer, who will be responsible for leading product innovation and strengthening its consumer brand.

IndiaMart is targeting 20 new Indian cities for its expansion including both tier-one and tier-two cities such as Lucknow, Varanasi, Panipat and Yamunanagar where the retailer is seeking to boost its footprint, Agarwal said, adding a large chunk of the new offices will comprise sales staff.

Over the past few years, IndiaMart has grown rapidly, clocking ₹300 crores in sales last year alone, a jump of 45 per cent over the previous year, said Agarwal, adding the company has been "cash-flow positive" and profitable for some time. Its gross merchandise value (GMV) grew about 50 per cent to₹30,000 crores last year. It hopes to make ₹2,000 crore in revenue by 2020.

One strong driver behind the company's strong growth has been its target niche of small and medium-scale enterprises and providing them customer leads and enterprise tools. For example, it provides a number of online tools to small enterprises that help with managing sales leads, and manage customer relationships.

Unlike large enterprises like hotels that collect e-mail IDs, which help them engage in sophisticated marketing, small enterprises don't have the resources to manage sales and marketing, he said.

"We give them mobile [customer relationship management], online diary tools and a proper follow-up systems," he said.

So far, IndiaMart has raised a total of $33 million in funding, with a $20 million series round it raised in January. Its investors include Intel Capital, Amadeus Capital, Westbridge Capital, Quona Capital, and Benett Coleman & Co. Agarwal owns the majority of the business, with the private equity investors owning about 30 per cent, and 10 per cent of the company owned by its employees.

IndiaMart also has plans to file for an initial pubic offering (IPO) in India in the next 12 to 18 months, said Agarwal.

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