Dinesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO, IndiaMART InterMESH Ltd | Indiainfoline


Today, organically we have been able to get 107 million registered buyers, Dinesh Agarwal said

Dinesh Agarwal is the founder and CEO of IndiaMART.com, India’s largest online B2B marketplace for small and medium enterprises. Dinesh founded the company in 1996 and since then has steered it to become the world’s second-largest B2B marketplace today.

Prior to taking a plunge into entrepreneurship, he is Computer Engineer from HBTI, Kanpur worked with industry leaders such as HCL Technologies (America), Center for Development of Telematics (C-Dot) and CMC Limited before returning to India. His rich experience spans over 20 years in the field of Internet, Networking & Systems Development and Consulting.

In an interaction with Mamta Maity, indiainfoline.com, Dinesh Agarwal, founder and CEO of IndiaMART.com said, “our beta is 73 crores for the quarter as compared to 37 crores last year, same quarter. This shows 100% yoy growth but it is primarily because the current quarter was under severe lockdown, so we had a lot of cost savings, one-time temporary cost savings.”

Tell us about the company’s performance in Q1FY21 and share some insights with regard of your financial performance

We posted a total revenue from operations about Rs153cr in this quarter and it is about 4% yoy growth despite the fact that there has been a clear impact on the economy and MSMEs in general during the quarter due to the pandemic and lockdown. Our beta is 73 crores for the quarter as compared to 37 crores last year, same quarter. This shows 100% yoy growth but it is primarily because the current quarter was under severe lockdown, so we had a lot of cost savings, one-time temporary cost savings.

So, two kinds of cost savings are possible one which is permanent automation and lead cost-saving and another, which were temporary like some rental waiver we received some salary waivers we received from employees. So that is why the data has jumped almost double.

We have about fixed 6 million suppliers who are listed on our platform with the 68 million products and services spreading across 100,000 product categories and we have a paying customer base of 1,33,000 now on an average revenue per customer of about 45,000 rupees. We get about over 60 million visits on our platform every month by the buyers by traffic and 82% of them are coming on our mobile website and mobile apps. And a hundred percent of this traffic is organic traffic. We do not spend any money on advertising or anything else. Today, organically we have been able to get 107 million registered buyers. Every month we do more than 40 million barrels’ supplier matchmaking. From last many years our growth rates have been in the range of 25 to 30%.

What would you say is your key challenge for business currently? What kind of challenges does the business face right now?

So, I think current challenges from last one year if you see the economy was already growing through pain of first there was a demand slowdown because of the last two-three years of an economic slowdown.  For example, last year in September, October, they have reduced the corporate tax from 33% to now 25%. And for the new manufacturing companies, the taxes reduced to even 20% or lower. So, I think the government is trying it’s big with the GST now nationwide shipment of goods has become easier.

So, I think the current challenge remains that economies under lockdown. And most of the company’s sales and service used to happen. Now two-thirds of our sales and service used to happen through by way of Field Sales operations and since our customers are under lockdown as well as we cannot send our people because of the fear of the corona and we do not want them to spread out into the market. So, I think that is what is the current challenge.

The benefits side, we are sitting on a strong balance sheet. We are still a profitable company. We do not have debt and we have a very good brand advantage that we have gained over the last many years and it has only strengthened in the last couple of months. So, I think there are challenges and opportunities that are there which will help us grow the business and help the nation in a better manner.

Who are the major clients and what is the company’s presence in India as well as globally?

So, I think most of our businesses in India are not India 80% of our customers and 80% of our buyers are in India. So, in terms of the named customers, you can name some of them. Like for example, we have as I told you, Tata Steel is our customer Tata Motors is our customer, Airtel, customer Bosch has been around estimated canon has been our customer. curcuminoids have been our customer. ABB is our customer. Siemens is our customer; Philips healthcare is our customer. So, we have customers in different industries.

So, what would be your expected turnover in next quarter and any initiatives to help your employees and partners during COVID-19?

We believe that the worst is behind us and I think we will start to at least stabilize our business operations this quarter. Ever since the last one has happened from June. The business has started to do better. Yes, of course, the uncertainties continue as the coven. No fear looms. But we believe that you know, Delhi, Mumbai kind of cities, maybe the worst is behind us. So, I think next quarter should be better than the previous quarter for sure.

In terms of initiatives for the employees, I think we have taken multiple employees for multiple initiative first, we as a company never had a work from home systems and operations set up. So, I think in one, we did not lay off any person in different tires. We have about 5000 people 4700 people; we did not know lay off any single person.

And for the partners, which are basically mostly our customer partners. I think we have been able to operate, first of all, work from home to be able to answer their queries to be able to serve them properly. Number two, anybody who came back to us and said that our business is under lockdown, and we cannot pay you renewal. We have given them an extension so that when their business opens up again, they can start to pay. So, we have given the moratorium to our customers and partners. So I think many of our low level low, low salary staff which used to work in our offices, like, no sanitation staff or canteen staff or security staff, we have continued to give them you know, as part of our CSR initiative, we have continued to help them from there.

So I think multiple areas that we have worked upon to help our employees not only help our employees help our company brand also, secondly, during the last three, four months, I think IndiaMart has played a very important role in making sure that the health and sanitization and safety and food products are available to Indians at large because nobody knew where could you get a PP kit from, or nobody knew where could you get a face mask from or nobody knew. Where could you get a face shield or a ventilator or oxygen cylinder. India might be the probably all leap source which had access to these suppliers, and we worked innovatively, we call each and every supplier to say can you make for facemask Can you make news clipper Can you make elastic for facemask Can you provide us you know if you are a helmet maker Can you provide make face shield So, we have and we have quickly turned prime minister also said that from almost zero p peak manufacturing in India now we are a surplus PP gate manufacturer in India suddenly you know we are becoming an exporter of that similarly many medicines and food supplies we were the only supplier if you needed disinfectant.

You must have seen disinfectant sprays happening by multiple governments and multiple municipalities, corporations, these disinfectant chemicals were made available on India Mart site I think we have done a great service. Great help in making sure that our health workers our medical needing people and our food needing people do not at least get to in the lockdown a time at least get to know who is supplying what. So that has that is that has been our key agenda over the last two, three months.