Indiamart sets expansion plans

Silicon India,

Siliconindia Bangalore Bureau,

BANGALORE –, a leading Indian B2B marketplace, is set to launch its transaction-enabled B2B platform as it seeks its first round of funding.

The company has formed alliances with (Texas) and SGS (Geneva) for its online B2B transaction platform and is now talking to venture capitalists. The company hopes to raise $3-$5 million, which it will invest in new technology and payment solutions, and in online marketing.

“We have religiously been doing our homework for five years to build a successful self-sustaining online B2B marketplace,” said Dinish Agarwal, CEO of IndiaMART InterMESH Ltd.

“It is now, after we are ready with our B2B online transaction platform with an established base of international buyers and sellers, that we have decided in favor of external funding in order to accelerate our growth plans in the coming months,” Agarwal added.

Agarwal, a software engineer, started IndiaMART in 1996 with a small personal investment. He had just returned to India after stints with AT&T and Novell in the US.

The company employs more than 145 professionals and operates through its headquarters in Delhi and branch offices in Mumbai and Bangalore, supported by a nationwide network of marketing and service franchisees.

Incorporated as one of the first online business directories in India in association with Assocham, has India’s largest B2B database with more than 60,000 business entries and more than 1,000 B2B catalogues under 450 product/service categories.

More than 500,000 international buyers visit the portal every month, accounting for a million page views, one the highest in the world in B2B. generates more than 100,000 trade queries every month through which member businesses are estimated to have conducted business worth $133.33 million (Rs 600 crore) in the last financial year.

The marketplace has a strong client base in the Indian SME segment engaged in international trade.

The new B2B transaction platform will offer facilities like B2B reverse auctioning, ETOs (Electronic Trade Offers), RFQ/RFP (Request for Quote/Request for Proposal) along with business support services like business finance, logistics, insurance etc. to facilitate online trade.

“Our new online platform offering B2B catalogues, auctions, trade offers and other online business support services will bring online the ‘action’ that was so far being initiated at, but being finalized offline in the form of an offline B2B transaction. This will make the entire process more efficient and beneficial for participating businesses, whereby sellers will get the highest price for their inventory and buyers will be able to interact with multiple sellers at the same time for their business requirements,” Agarwal added.

Strategic alliances,

Under the strategic alliance with US counterpart, the latter will post purchase requirements of its member importers exclusively on IndiaMART’s co-branded online platform. Indian suppliers will thus be able to participate in the reverse bidding process.

The platform will also offer buyer verification and sampling services online to participating members through a tie-up with global verification giant SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance, Geneva) to help build trust in online trade. IndiaMART is talking to ICICI and Citibank for provision of online payment gateway services for B2B transactions through the portal.

A conservative estimate by the company reveals B2B transactions worth $266.66 million (Rs 1,200 crore) through the portal in the current year, resulting from estimated 3000 online auction deals.

In addition, IndiaMART is confident of having 2,500 online catalogues of member businesses on the portal by the end of the year, making it the largest Indian B2B portal.

“The mission of the company remains to create maximum value for B2B clients for their business promotion, process support and transaction accomplishment needs through innovative use of web-based technologies and strategic service partnerships,” said Agarwal.