In conversation with Brijesh Agrawal, Founder of Tolexo – IndiaMART-backed platform for B2B commerce

The Indian B2B e-commerce space may not be so hot but it is hugely lucrative. Even though the market size of B2B is nearly six times higher than B2C, the Indian e-commerce landscape has been dominated by B2C companies until now. That means there is untapped potential in the B2B market; the value of each transaction is 2.5 times more than B2C. Considering 100 per cent FDI is allowed in B2B e-commerce in India, the opportunity to grow the current $300 billion worth market is enormous. India’s B2B e-commerce is expected to expand to $700 billion by 2020, as per a Walmart report. This is the market that Tolexo want to address. For example, the market for consumables and supplies or standardized products, which include hand tools, drill machines, screw drivers and office supplies, is estimated to be about $100 billion in India alone, which is fragmented offline.

In converstaion with Brijesh Agrawal, Founder of Tolexo – IndiaMart-backed platform for B2B commerce
In conversation with Brijesh Agrawal, Founder of Tolexo – IndiaMART-backed platform for B2B commerce

Indian SMEs have been actively using digital platforms like Justdial and more channelised platforms like IndiaMART to meet their business demands. IndiaMART alone has 1.5 million registered sellers which indicates the huge potential that the B2B eCommerce space can offer. Tolexo is an IndiaMART backed platform that aims to capture B2B e-commerce in India.

Brijesh Agrawal, founder and CEO, tells YourStory, “At Tolexo, we aim to take the buyer-seller collaboration to the next level where we can facilitate end to end transactions for office and industry goods. Such a platform will help SMEs build their brand when users buy their products and post reviews. From the consumer perspective, Tolexo eases out the cumbersome selection process via price comparison, reviews and easy delivery.” As the B2B consumer is more focused on convenience rather than pricing, that’s exactly what we aim to deliver by trying to offer the best prices through topical sales and discount Tolexo has 50,000 stock keeping units (SKUs) in seven categories like industrial safety and engineering tools. The company also has around 140 brands listed on its platform.

Tolexo team

Brijesh Agrawal says, “Other than me, the other two founding members are Navneet Rai and Harsh Kundra. While Navneet was earlier a co-founder at Inkfruit, Harsh has joined us after his stint with Jabong as a CTO. Navneet and I met at a food festival in Gurgaon and discussed our business interests for almost five long hours which later took the form of this partnership. Harsh was an old acquaintance and it was the quest for capturing B2B eCommerce that made us launch Tolexo.” Brijesh Agrawal is a co-founder and director of IndiaMART.

The evolution of startup hiring

yourstory_Brijesh_Agrawal_InsideArticleThe hiring scenario has changed drastically over the years. Brijesh Agrawal says, “When we started hiring for IndiaMART in 1996, our major focus used to be on hiring operational level workforce. However, with the paucity of time to grow in an ever competitive market, focus has now shifted on hiring the right talent at the senior management level first.” The initial six months have been spent in hiring for the top six positions to ensure a strong base for all growth aspects. He adds, “We also aim to tap young talent and thus focus strongly on campus recruitment. In the last three months, we have hired fresh talent from institutes like IIT, IIM, FMS, NITs, BITS etc.”

Platforms like Tolexo empower SMEs to do business more efficiently by giving them better choices for anything they want to buy from other businesses. Internationally, players like Grainger and AmazonSupply have proved that this business has huge potential. Let’s see if Tolexo can do what AmazonSupply did for B2B and as Flipkart and Snapdeal did for B2C. Kobster, the office supplies e-commerce platform, has already proved that Indian e-commerceis not restricted to buying shoes, mobile phones, clothes and bags.