IndiaMART looks to add credit-facilitation offering on its platform to help small businesses

Online B2B marketplace IndiaMART InterMESH has said the company is exploring new technologies to offer loan facilitation services and expand offerings for the sellers and buyers on its platform. IndiaMART claims it has 60 percent market share of the B2B advertising space with over 70 lakh suppliers, mainly micro, small, and medium enterprises, using its various services to connect with potential customers as well negotiate bulk deals.

According to the company’s founder and CEO Dinesh Agarwal, SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) need credit at the time of purchasing or at the time of selling and that too “in small amount with no time”.

“For them, interest rates do not matter as much as time matters, and the amounts matter,” Agarwal told PTI.

He said, “we will definitely like to play a role in credit enablement for MSMEs” and the company has been discussing with financial institutions to start the service on the platform.

“We have been doing multiple experiments. However, these are in very very early stages… it will take some time,” he said.

Agarwal said his company has already tied up with GST invoicing software provider Vyapar and is betting big on the innovative Open Credit Enablement Network (OCEN) which will ensure easier loan processing for SMEs by digitizing various manual steps involved in loan disbursal.

“Under OCEN, there will be standardization of loan forms and machines will be able to read those documents. it will reduce the cost of lending and, thereby making banks to lend (in) smaller quantities,” he said and expressed hope that the process will start in next two-three years.

“We are at the mercy of the lenders to adopt that. It’s not that the problem is from our side. For us, it will be just putting a few more links on our platform to say that now you can also get loan, see eligibility and apply for the same… I think, in the next two-three years it would happen,” he explained.

The company is also looking to scale up the pace of customer acquisition and add around 8,000 new users each quarter.

Agarwal said the Covid pandemic has forced more people to use the internet and this has led to manifold jump in the number of visitors on his platform.

The company which was usually adding 20,000 customers in a year, is now adding 8,000 customers in each quarter.

The number of employees at the company has also increased from 3,000 to 5,000 in the past one year, Agarwal said, adding that he plans to hire 100-200 people every quarter to cater to the increasing number of users.

“As we are growing handsomely at upwards of 25 per cent and as the number of customers will grow, we typically need more people for every 100 customers that we add. So we have almost increased our technology team by 50 per cent, we have doubled our servicing team and we will continue to add 100-200 people per quarter,” he added.

According to its latest financial statement for October-December 2022, IndiaMART registered a 60 per cent rise in net profit at Rs 112.8 crore as against Rs 70.2 crore in the year-ago period.

The company’s revenue also increased 33.6 percent to Rs 251.4 crore during the period.

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