IndiaMART

Redox Industries Limited: Marketing across nation through IndiaMART

Introduction: A leading manufacturer of wide range of Plant Growth Promoter, Plant Growth Regulator, flowering stimulant, Plant Nutrients, Organic Fungicides, Organic Pesticides/ Insecticides, Virus controller and supplier for Raw materials of Agrochemicals

Association with IndiaMART:
Coming from a farmer’s family, with very less financial support, Janak Dhameliya didn’t lose hope & wanted to make it big. While talking to IndiaMART he quoted, “I cycled for more than 4 lakh kilometers to do marketing for my business, visited each and every village in Gujarat for Promotions & Marketing. Today with dedication, good quality products, & the right support from IndiaMART portal, there is no looking back for us.”

Sapphire Interior Solutions: Acheived new heights by choosing right platform

Introduction: Sapphire Interior Solutions Pvt Ltd. is manufacturer of wooden wardrobe & other products since 2007 in Manesar Village, Haryana.

Association with IndiaMART:
“I was awarded as the top salesman of the year. That was the turning point in my life & I decided to start my own business. After a few years of establishing my business I started looking for digital options. Among all the options which I tried, IndiaMART gave me the best results as 90% of my online business was only coming through IndiaMART portal. IndiaMART has helped us in running our business even during difficult situations”, says the owner of Sapphire Interior Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

IndiaMART InterMESH Limited First Quarter ending June 30, 2022

Noida, India, July 21, 2022: IndiaMART InterMESH Limited (referred to as “IndiaMART” or the “Company”), today announced its financial results for the first quarter ending June 30, 2022.

Financial Highlights (Q1 FY2023):

IndiaMART reported consolidated Total Revenue from Operations of Rs. 225 Crore in Q1 FY23, a growth of 24% YoY primarily driven by 23% increase in number of paying subscription suppliers and addition of Rs. 10.53 Crore revenue from accounting software services. Consolidated Deferred Revenue increased by 34% YoY to Rs. 961 Crore as on June 30, 2022. 

The Company continued making growth investments in manpower, product and technology, sales and servicing resulting into growth in revenue and paying subscription suppliers. As a result, consolidated EBITDA was Rs. 64 Crore for Q1 FY23 representing EBITDA margin of 29%. Expenses for the quarter also included one-time cost of Rs. 4.07 Crore related to the acquisition of Busy Infotech Private Limited and Finlite Technologies Private Limited, which have been consummated during the quarter. Net Profit for this quarter was Rs. 47 Crore representing margin of 21%.  

Consolidated Cash Flow from Operations for the quarter was at Rs. 75 Crore.  Cash and Investments balance stood at Rs. 1,882 Crore as on June 30, 2022.

Operational Highlights (Q1 FY2023):

IndiaMART registered traffic of 257 million and Total business enquiries of 115 million during Q1 FY23. Supplier Storefronts grew to 7.2 million, an increase of 10% YoY and paying subscription suppliers grew by 23% YoY to 179,260 with a net addition of 9,936 paying subscription suppliers during the quarter.

Commenting on the performance, Mr. Dinesh Agarwal, Chief Executive Officer, said: 


“We are starting the fiscal year on a positive note as the quarter registered modest all-round profitable growth and improvement in overall demand environment. We continue to make investments in strengthening our value proposition as well as building the organization to further accelerate digital transformation of businesses.  We look forward to capitalizing the emerging opportunities arising from the increasing adoption of the internet on the back of investments made in the recent quarters as well as a strong balance sheet.”

***

About IndiaMART:

IndiaMART is India’s largest online B2B marketplace for business products and services. IndiaMART makes it easier to do business by connecting buyers and sellers across product categories and geographies in India through business enablement solutions. IndiaMART provides ease and convenience to the buyers by offering a wide assortment of products and a responsive seller base while offering lead generation, lead management and payment solutions to its sellers.

IndiaMART InterMESH Ltd.
CIN :L74899DL1999PLC101534
Corporate Office
Tower 2, Assotech Business Cresterra, 
Floor No.6, Plot No.22, Sec 135, 
Noida-201305, U.P.Registered Office
1st Floor, 29-Daryaganj, Netaji Subash Marg, Delhi – 110002.For any queries, please contact: investors@indiamart.com 

Weekly payments — for a more secure financial future

“Weekly pay has helped me maintain constant money flow, higher interest earnings, and greater cash liquidity to address my ongoing expenses. If you know how to supervise expenditure, there are only benefits of systematic, frequent and routine income.” – Paras Lehana, Lead Engineer, IndiaMART

The regular flow of money is essential to everyone’s well-being. We all know that paying employees on time is probably more critical than all of the other HR activities put together. This is particularly important in case of the new age employees, the millennials and Genz, many of whom live away from home, once-a-month paychecks hinder their experiences and are hampered by their payrolls’ lack of flexibility. More than ever before, employees value experiences, financial independence, a flexible work culture, and a work-life balance over a basic collection of belongings.

Taking into account the benefits of employees, IndiaMART initiated disbursing salaries weekly instead of monthly, another first by the organization catering to the changing expectations and dynamics of new-age employees. Employees who are paid weekly are better able to satisfy their immediate financial obligations. Not to mention how the weekly incentive quadruples the excitement of payday, making employees more fulfilled, as a result, more devoted to the organization’s goal.  

The Weekly Payout System goes a long way towards supporting employees in overcoming financial issues and reclaiming control of their lives, positioning them for success in all aspects of their lives.  Amid the fast-expanding Flexi work culture, instant satisfaction is what every employee wants, and IndiaMART’s decision to introduce weekly compensation is first-of-its-kind for any firm in the country. The company began moving in this manner many years ago when it switched to weekly incentive payouts for several roles across the firm.

After the announcements, questions poured in from employees, especially regarding the most recurring payments like various Bills that are by and large monthly payouts. So, IndiaMART has collated the best practices on how a person can plan their monthly finances that highlighted the Dos and Don’ts to be followed. With this, the company also conducted open houses along with business heads for employees to educate them on the best practices and take any questions or queries that they had.

Shivi Malhotra who is a Relationship Manager at IndiaMART was one of those employees who had their doubts about this decision initially, she said, “When initially the weekly payout module was explained to us I was a little skeptical that how are we going to manage the daily and fixed expenses. Even though it was a little confusing at the initial stage but when an unexpected expense came up in the 3rd week of March, I checked my bank statement and actually found the amount that I needed and that was the moment of relief.” 

In contrast to the previous procedure of a one-time monthly payment, with weekly payouts, fixed components of remuneration, such as earnings and deductions, are separated into four portions and distributed to employees at the conclusion of each week.

All about employee satisfaction

In a time when consumerism is increasingly influenced by digital platforms, social influencers, and increased brand awareness which is leading to more fast-buying methods, it seems unfair for the employees to wait a whole month for their pay. A regular flow of money is hence essential to the well-being, financial wellness, and employee motivation of any individual. Payment on a weekly basis makes it easier for them to meet their real-time fiscal obligations. In developed countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, and the United States, weekly payouts are already commonplace. 

The weekly payout system is a part of the larger efforts of IndiaMART, to work towards the betterment of the employees. Like, during the pandemic, the company introduced many initiatives to aid employees in a seamless transition from work office to work from home. Programmes like iLeaps, iBuds, and Own your Desktop by the company enabled the employees to work efficiently from home by extending to them the resources to own their office laptops and providing discounted rates on online courses to broaden their horizons.

Beyond their own workforce, IndiaMART has taken several steps in the last two years to reach out to underserved segments of the workforce through their Online Associate programme, onboarding over 3500 freelancers, including people with disabilities, and women returning to the workforce after a break, and aspirants from remote locations. Their latest action is simply another step in the same direction.  Keeping a healthy balance is extremely difficult in an always-on-the-go world. Employees need both the opportunities as well as the resources to decompress and rebalance. IndiaMART’s announcement for the Weekly Payout System, hence, goes a big way in helping employees alleviate their financial hardships and regain control of their lives – positioning them for success in every aspect. 

What’s next for India’s MSMEs

Hello Reader,

While Zomato‘s $636-million deal to acquire Blink Commerce (which operates Blinkit) has generated excitement in India’s quick-commerce industry, some smaller players are feeling the heat.

Ola has decided to shut its quick commerce business, Ola Dash. The announcement comes just months after the company had announced expansion plans. The shared mobility major has decided to prioritise Ola Electric, and will also be reorienting Ola Cars, its used-cars retailing division.

But electric vehicles aren’t easy to tame. 

After a video of a Tata Nexon EV catching fire went viral recently, Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal tweeted that any car could catch fire, but EVs were much safer than internal combustion engines.


Deep dive into the MSME sector

The fourth edition of the week-long India MSME Summit 2022 has seen some insightful conversations from small business entrepreneurs and industry stakeholders.

During a fireside chat, Dinesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO of IndiaMart, discussed how Indian MSMEs can overcome their existing challenges and more after COVID-19.

SMBStory also spoke to industry stakeholders to find solutions to the working capital problem MSMEs face, and the way forward.

The best is kept for the last, as YourStory gears up to host the Grand Finale on June 27, which will host speakers from different industries, policymakers and influential leaders, to discuss what’s next for the sector.

Why attend the Grand Finale?

  • To gain insights into the sector and engage in various discussions.
  • To learn about innovations that will shape the MSME sector.
  • To connect with experts, investors, and industry professionals.

Watch the event live on YourStory TV, Facebook, and LinkedIn. To receive the premiere link, register here.

India MSME Summit 2022: After COVID-19, how can MSMEs overcome their existing challenges?

During a fireside chat at the India MSME Summit 2022, Dinesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO of IndiaMart, discussed how Indian MSMEs can overcome their existing challenges and more after COVID-19.

In this “new normal”, after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses across the board have had to re-strategise their short and long-term goals to cope with the new realities.

Especially MSMEs had to respond to the challenges at hand, ensure productivity, stay connected and engaged with their workforce, and create value as an organisation. 

During a fireside chat on day 5 of the India MSME Summit 2022, Dinesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO of IndiaMart, discussed how Indian MSMEs can overcome their existing challenges and how better implementation of policies can help small businesses. 

The fourth edition of the India MSME Summit 2022 is a week-long celebration, between June 21 and 27, with a grand finale on India MSME Day. 

Key takeaways: 

Simpler and wider adoption: In the last few years, the government introduced policies like the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, but the MSMEs saw mixed results from the scheme amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He also highlighted that the government should simplify the Goods and Services Tax (regimes), which will enable its wider and quicker adoption. 

Going digital: Digital adoption is rapidly ongoing among Indian MSMEs as it significantly lowers the cost for any business. 

According to Dinesh, around 90 million users visit IndiaMart’s website every month. The company has also developed an artificial intelligence (AI) based system that would understand different languages. 

Change in mindset: MSMEs are inherently traditional. However, their mindset seems to be changing as more and more small business owners are ready to part with equity to grow their businesses. 

The last few years saw several MSMEs getting listed on NSE and BSE’s SME exchange platforms, and more small business owners are considering stock market listing in the future. 

Hybrid working: One of the biggest lessons the COVID-19 pandemic taught us is to have a hybrid work culture and communicate more because meeting in person may not always be possible. 

Building strong supply chains: The pandemic helped everyone understand the importance of supply chain and trade management. At a time when the world was on a lockdown, supply chains helped procure medical supplies and other necessities, which calls for building resilient and future-proof supply chains.

YourStory

Indiamart plugin is now available on the ZOHO CRM at no extra cost

IndiaMART CRM users can now get their leads on their ZOHO CRM through this plugin without paying any extra charges

IndiaMART has launched its Official plugin at the ZOHO Marketplace for integrating IndiaMART’s Lead Manager with ZOHO CRM. The plugin integrates the data of all accessible leads on IndiaMART’s Lead Manager using IndiaMART’s CRM API v2. This Plugin along with the Lead Manager CRM API has been developed only to facilitate the Power Sellers who wish to follow up the IndiaMART Leads to convert into deals in their own way.

Now, the sellers of IndiaMART who use ZOHO CRM, and IndiaMART Lead Manager can get their IndiaMART leads on their ZOHO CRM through this plugin without paying any extra charges.

More than 5.5% of IndiaMART CRM-API active users use ZOHO CRM, and this free plugin will be helpful to all of them to have all their leads in one place. Talking about the USP, the company said, “Sellers need to pay a subscription amount for other plugins of CRM platforms that are on ZOHO Marketplace. IndiaMART provides the same without any cost.”

The plugin automatically updates new IndiaMART leads every two hours and provides the ability to manually fetch old leads up to the last 365 days, in chunks of 7 days) into your ZOHO CRM. It assists in the classification of IndiaMART leads into Buyleads, PNS calls, and direct inquiries, as well as the avoidance of duplicate records

“There are a few vendors who provide similar IndiaMART plugins on the ZOHO marketplace at an average cost of $3 per month which is being used by many businesses. The total installs across all those plugins are more than 1200. Therefore, to make business doing easy for our customers we developed our own official IndiaMART plugin at no extra cost. This will be useful to our power sellers who use Zoho CRM to consolidate all communications between salespeople and customers in one location, allowing them to make the most of interactions at any time. Also, IndiaMART’s official plugin will be the only one that also allows its users to retrieve old leads which were not available to date,” says Amarinder Singh Dhaliwal, Chief Product Officer, IndiaMART.

Some of the features of the IndiaMART plugin include are auto-updating leads from IndiaMART to Zoho CRM’s Leads module, updating all important fields from IndiaMART to Zoho CRM, allowing manual fetching of old leads helping in segregating IndiaMART leads and different enquiry types into buy leads, PNS calls, and direct enquiries, and prevents duplicate record creation.

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IndiaMART CFO looks to add 35,000 new customers in FY23, plans to hire 1,000 more people | ET CFO

ET CFO

Another top priority in FY23 will be to continue working with investee companies in which IndiaMart had acquired stakes in, says Prateek Chandra.

B2B E-commerce firm IndiaMART CFO Prateek Chandra is eying an increase of 35,000 new customers in FY23 and has plans to hire 200-300 people every quarter, betting on robust business activity even as concerns over high inflation linger on. 

“FY23 will be a year of investments. We will be significantly investing in strengthening channel partners’ network and in hiring talent across service, sales, product and tech functions. Overall, we are looking at about 35,000 new paying customers… We have plans to hire 200-300 people every quarter. We hope for faster business activity compared to last year” IndiaMART CFO Prateek Chandra told ETCFO.

IndiaMART ended FY22 with 169,000 paying customers; the company added 17,000 new customers, a growth rate of 13% compared to the year-ago mark of 152,000 customers, the CFO shared. A 35,000 addition, on the current base of 169,000, if achieved as targeted, would take the company’s total customer base over the 200,000 mark.

IndiaMart added about 1,000 employees in FY22 taking the total headcount to roughly 3,700. Its employee count had declined in the pandemic-hit FY21 to about 2,700 from 3,150 mark in the preceding year, the CFO shared. 

The IndiaMART CFO said his top goal in FY23 is to acquire new customers and does not expect any major challenge in it. But small to mid-sized businesses have been facing frequent economic law changes or other disruptions over the past five years or so, alluding to demonetization, goods and services tax reform, liquidity crisis emanating from IL&FS default, and the most recent pandemic, he said. And in this backdrop, he emphasised, their business environment needs to be continuously monitored.

“These set of changes can impact customer addition growth, but we are seeing buoyancy in economic activity. This is reflected in the latest April record GST collections too. We hope the business momentum continues,” the CFO said. Also, the CFO expressed enthusiasm on collections from the customers and the deferred revenue, sharing that the company had grown 31% and 25%,year-on-year respectively on these two counts. He reflected a similar sentiment for the current financial year FY23.

Another top priority in FY23 will be to continue working with investee companies in which IndiaMart had acquired stakes in, he said. In April, IndiaMart acquired 100% equity ownership in Busy Infotech Private Limited for Rs 500 crore.

Inflation

Prateek Chandra said high inflation, too, could hamper growth in customer addition, but he hoped the Russia-Ukraine war, which is seen to be driving this high inflation in the first place, comes to an end sooner rather than later. 

The CFO was clear that his focus will be on customer addition growth and that margins improvement won’t be much of a priority. Though he added that he does not see the margins getting further hit from here on and that he can sustain them. IndiaMart’s margins plunged to 28% in Q4 FY22 compared to 48% in Q4FY21 as peoples’ costs shot up. People costs constituted about 60% of the total revenue or 75% of the total costs during the period, the CFO shared.

“I see inflation as a done deal. The industry is expecting it to range around 6-7% levels, and the RBI as well as the government are taking steps to contain it. It is unlikely it will come down unless the world has a solution to the Russia-Ukraine war. Hopefully, things won’t escalate from here,” Prateek Chandra said.

The CFO said he does not intend to pass on the higher input costs to its customers at least for the entry-level packages. “We are cautious of the price increases. We will not increase our pricing for entry level packages, and even for high level or platinum ones, only small increases may be there,” the CFO said. 

IndiaMART is a B2B e-commerce company; it clocked Rs 750 crores revenue in FY22, a growth of 13% year-on-year. About 95% of the company’s revenues come from subscriptions.

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST: GET IT FROM INDIAMART | Mint

Mint

The company is bracing for a turf war. Investments in tech and acquisitions are helping it pivot.

Kalyan Karmakar, a 50-year old entrepreneur from Delhi, trades in industrial adhesives. He took his marketing online during the covid-19 lockdown of March 2020. That was the best business move he ever made, he feels.

“I went to IndiaMart because traditional marketing routes, including cold calls, were not an option. I was apprehensive especially about giving out my price points but the ₹1 lakh I spent (on the platform) in the first year generated 400 inquiries and 30 deals. That was a good return on investment,” he says.

Karmakar tried out online marketing solutions from other companies as well— some of which he found to be complicated.

With industrial demand picking up this year, he is planning to increase his advertisement spending on IndiaMart.

Unknown to Karmakar, he, and other small businesses, are the cynosure of many eyes. For, in India’s business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce ecosystem, there is a turf war raging. Not just IndiaMart, this is a battleground where both established multinationals and very young startups are all eyeing a piece of the action. The pie, according to some estimates, is pegged at over $1 trillion by 2024.

Nevertheless, the market maker here is an old warrior—Dinesh Agrawal, the founder and CEO of IndiaMart InterMesh Ltd. Founded in 1999, it is one of India’s largest and oldest online B2B marketplace that lists 72 million products from across 97,000 categories. Everything from industrial machinery and building material to laboratory instruments and kitchen containers. The company claims 90 million monthly visits (on the desktop web- site, mobile website and mobile app). That is about 10% of India’s internet audience. The pandemic has now turbo charged the traffic. It took the firm 25 years to gain 60 million visitors per month. In just the last two years, it added another 30 million.

Moreover, in a country where generating revenue from the internet through paid subscriptions has been difficult, IndiaMart is almost unique in that 95% of its revenues come from subscriptions paid upfront. Even as the Indian economy faced many headwinds, the company grew 22% (CAGR) since 2015-16 to generate revenues of ₹670 crore in 2020-21. Last year, its net profit grew by over 90%. In the nine months ended December 2021, net profits climbed 7% to ₹240 crore from the year-ago period.

While the going seems good, investors appear to be pondering over a crucial question: can IndiaMart stave off growing competition? After all, many of the start- ups it is up against are well-funded. According to Tracxn, a data site tracking deals, Indian B2B firms saw $2 billion in venture funding in 2021 alone.

“B2B e-commerce has done exceptionally well over the last couple of years owing to the pandemic. Nevertheless, e-commerce occupies only a fraction of the overall B2B market. We expect a multi-year hyper-growth in high double-digit percentage in the sector over the next five years,” says Amit Sharma, general partner at Cactus Venture Partners, a venture capital firm.

We will come to IndiaMart’s strategy in a bit. First, let’s take a peek at the company’s main rivals.

TWO-FRONT WAR

IndiaMart’s business model faces a two-front war. There are the large horizontal players on one side and smaller vertical companies on the other.

The horizontal thrust comes from Flip- kart and Amazon who are sharpening the B2B play with investments focused on inventory management and delivery logistics. Udaan, a Bengaluru-based startup that started in 2016, today caters to categories that include a broad swathe—lifestyle, electronics, home & kitchen, staples, fruits and vegetables, FMCG, pharma, toys and general merchandise. It is also one of the best funded, with $1.4 billion in its kitty.

Zetwerk, which started in 2018, offers manufacturing and supply-chain services. It has raised $650 million thus far and is an indirect competition. Outsourced manufacturers are some of the biggest buyers on IndiaMart. Both Zetwerk and Udaan are unicorns, or companies with a valuation of over a billion dollars. So is Moglix, company that focusses primarily on industrial supplies. In January, the firm raised $250 million at a valuation of $2.6 billion.

IndiaMart also faces formidable competition from other vertical players such as Infra.Market, a company in the supplies of construction material, Elasticrun, a B2B platform for rural India, and Medikaba- zaar that caters to medical and healthcare products.

All this interest and funding in vertical B2B e-commerce doesn’t impress Dinesh Agarwal one bit. Why is that?

“Vertical B2B e-commerce play is a fantasy,” he says. “We were around during the dot-com boom. We, too, were tempted by the craze for verticals and started a bunch of them like IndiaMart Cars and IndiaMart Handicrafts. But we quickly realized that achieving a certain threshold of monthly visitors is next to impossible. We failed at it and speedily exited,” he adds. “Without a minimum threshold, which is a number where you do not have to spend more money to get the next customer, the marketplace becomes a ghost town,” he reiterates.

The B2B ecommerce market is estimated to total $1 trillion by 2024; Indian B2B firms mopped up $2 billion in venture funding in 2021 alone.

THE AI PLAY
Yash Anand, 48, is a senior advocate at the Supreme Court. He went online to look for garden furniture. After scrolling through Amazon and Urban Ladder (an online furniture store), he ended up at IndiaMart’s site.

“The detailing impressed me. And the option of small orders was a real surprise. I paid ₹27,000 for six chairs and a table, including delivery by the third party. And this was ₹5,000 cheaper than the B2C options,” he says.

Individuals were never IndiaMart’s customers, and suppliers at the site mostly cater to bulk orders. The company’s artificial intelligence (AI) engine, however, has been stealthily working to shake up things a bit. They can perhaps identify and nudge even people looking for small orders to make a transaction, and at a price that is competitive. Investments in cutting edge technology like AI is one leg of IndiaMart’s survival strategy. And while every new-age company uses exponential technologies, IndiaMart has one advantage—over 20 years of customer data.

“Our machine learning and artificial intelligence engines tell us how many of the 90 million monthly visitors our marketing teams should call back. We are able to predict this given our two decades of data. Through correlation, we can say which visitor has a realistic chance of making money,” Dinesh Agarwal says.

The company’s analytics engine also helps the sales team identify potential customers who can gain from subscriptions or premium yearly memberships. Product information and recommendations are being chiseled, much like in a B2C e-commerce site. Search solar panels and you get wattage information; look for an electric pump and you are informed whether it’s single or double phase one; type printing press and you get information around maximum printing length.

“Keeping up to date with digital capabilities is pivotal to helping B2B businesses grow and retain existing customers,” says Anand Ramanathan, partner at Deloitte, a management consultancy. “We will see the focus move towards personalization through data analytics and AI,” he adds.

FINTECH MANOEUVRE

A second leg in the company’s strategy is a string of acquisitions. Agarwal invests in companies that complements IndiaMart but moves the needle even beyond its marketplace model. You can think of this as a pivot of sorts.

He has spent millions on acquisitions that will provide a useful service to medium and small enterprises: accounting. IndiaMart has acquired five digital accounting platforms over the last two years.

“We know how to sell subscriptions. We are profitable because people trust our services, make money from them, and are thus comfortable paying for them. Our research tells us that apart from selling and purchase transactions, the entrepreneur has one important need, which is accounting,” Agarwal explains.

In January this year, IndiaMart entered into an agreement to buy 100% stake in accounting software company Busy Infotech for ₹500 crore. This is IndiaMart’s

biggest acquisition, thus far. “The company aims to simplify the accounting ecosystem for the customer. Today, the ecosystem is fragmented for book keeping, GST, contingent liabilities, accounts payable and receivable or revenue per customer. For almost any accounting need, there is no unified solution. We believe that we can create a digital on demand marketplace in accounting fintech, going forward,” Agarwal says on his big-ticket purchase.

The idea, he further explains, is to offer software as a service (SaaS) package for accounting needs to his existing and potential clients. Here, Agarwal seems to have done his homework quietly. In 2019, he acquired a 27% stake in accounting software firm Vyapar. Back then, the company had 10,000 paying subscribers. Today, it has 100,000. The penetration of goods and services tax (GST) created a massive demand for proper book keeping.

Amit Sharma of Cactus Venture Partners thinks this strategy may work. “Selling add-on services, especially in the SaaS domain has sizeable demand. We will likely see innovation where these solutions will be taken to tier 2 and tier 3 cities, which could be a game-changer. The amount of customization and engagement models required for such penetration is likely to be different for the ones currently on offer,” he says.

IndiaMart, meanwhile, has also partnered with companies in other fintech domains, such as payments. Its partnership with Tazapay, for instance, will help the firm launch international payments and take on the big daddy of the field—PayPal. “With Tazapay, we are now launching an international payment service complete with an escrow facility. We will charge only 2% for international payments. These will be immediate payments and the customer will not have to worry about the payment reflecting two days later in their accounts,” Agarwal says. “Overseas payments have been far too costly and the rollover of cash takes far too long,” he adds.

MORE TO DO

There is one area where nimble start-ups and larger horizontal players beat IndiaMART – customer care.

When orders get stuck, the process is redressed far better at Flipkart and Amazon, industry watchers said. To avoid hic-cups, particularly when orders costing millions are involved, IndiaMart needs to massively upgrade its call centre, and back-end systems. The company says it is refining its background checks on both suppliers and sellers while aggressively hiring, for both marketing and back-end customer service.

Some analysts remain bullish about the company’s prospects. While IndiaMart’s stock is currently way off from its 52-week high of ₹9,710.70—it closed at ₹4,867 on the NSE on Wednesday—they see an upward momentum. Kunj Bansal, share analyst and chief investment officer (CIO) of Investment Illiteracy, a personal finance advisory company, says: “IndiaMart has the advantage of having already onboarded a critical mass of customers. Their AI play will help fine tune its sales; the fintech acquisitions will open a new line of subscription business.”

The company, he adds, has moved beyond the small and medium scale businesses and is now signing up bigger companies, broadening its product range. All this could make IndiaMart an exciting company to watch over the next three years. Agarwal appears excited, too. He says he is ready for the turf battle, which will only get more intense over the next few years.

70 investors rejected an idea. It has become a unicorn and helped create another

It is no secret that in the last couple of years, it has become easier to do transactions and the supply chain ow has become smoother in the B2B marketplace. Dinesh Agarwal, the founder, and CEO of IndiaMART, says this is because of an increase in the internet footprint.

Agarwal started Indiamart, a B2B platform for SMEs, way back in 1996. “There was very low penetration of computers and the internet in India. Information ow was not that easy. If you’re sitting in the US or Australia and trying to nd something, some products or services from India or China, the most information you’d get was in the print directories or at the export promotion councils. Information exchange and trade would happen through embassies and trade fairs, which was expensive, and not many people used to do that,” he says.

Then in 2002, the BPO industry boomed in India. Slowly internet usage spread, computers became cheaper and information ow over email and other digital modes became common. Then came the widespread adoption of smartphones and cheaper internet services. “Once 3G and smartphones were launched, internet penetration grew tenfold. Smaller businesses from the hinterlands could nd out prices or suppliers in Delhi, Mumbai, and other places. The entire ecosystem changed dramatically,” he says.

This change got a further push with demonetization, GST adoption, and other things like the use of the Unified Payments Interface.

Economic Times