IndiaMART

The Exponential Rise Of Indian Startup Ecosystem

Dinesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO, IndiaMart, believes that digitisation and significant capital investments in the last two decades have contributed towards the exponential rise of the Indian startup ecosystem

The Economic Survey 2021-22, released last month, showed that India had become the world’s third largest-startup ecosystem after the US and China. It notes that the government in that past year recognised over 14,000 new startups compared to 733 in 2016-17. Moreover, India saw a record 44 startups turning unicorns in 2021 and just two months into the new year, India has already registered ten unicorns. What explains this exponential growth of India’s startup ecosystem?

Dinesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO, India Mart, says that digitisation and significant capital investments in the last two decades have resulted in this dramatic growth of the Indian startup ecosystem.

“Twenty years ago, the whole venture capital or private equity capital or risk capital which doesn’t come with a debt mindset was not available. The whole concept of valuation and exits was probably not there. So, people were building the slow growth model of cash flow-based business approval. Secondly, the number of internet users jumped significantly due to the IT penetration, and in accordance with that, the number of mobile users went up. This gave a lot of opportunities to write software and start businesses. These two, I believe, have propelled the whole startup ecosystem in India to a great extent,” says Aggarwal.

Watch the complete video here to listen to Aggarwal elaborating on the digitisation aspect, what it means to be an entrepreneur, why people aspire to become an entrepreneur and whether founders should have a ‘Plan B?’

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Re-envisioning financial freedom: IndiaMART’s Weekly Pay Policy

In order to build a flexible and supportive working environment for its employees, IndiaMART becomes the first Indian organization to move to a weekly salary pay disbursement regime. In line with the evolving flexi work culture & the changing motivational needs of the employees, the organization has taken this revolutionary step to enrich them with stability, purpose, and growth. 

Weekly payouts – towards enabled financial wellbeing

The consistent flow of money is essential to the well-being of any individual. We all know that employees receiving their salaries on time is probably more important than the rest of the HR initiatives combined. This is especially relevant in light of the current pandemic where millennia workers, who in many instances, live on their own away from home, struggle financially with their once-a-month pay-checks and are deeply impacted by the profound lack of flexibility in their payrolls. Now more than ever before, employees value experiences, financial freedom, a flexible work culture, and a work-life balance more than a simple collection of assets.

Weekly Payouts are, therefore, a big step in the direction of promoting employee wellness. Weekly payouts are already common in mature economies like New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and the U.S. Their benefits have been tested out and proven over many years. Taking into account the benefits to the employees, their preferences as well as the changing dynamics of the global economy, IndiaMart has taken another first initiative to disburse the salaries on weekly basis rather than monthly. 

Paying employees on weekly basis makes it easier for them to meet their real-time fiscal obligations. Not to mention how the excitement of the payday increases fourfold with the weekly payout, making employees more satisfied, happier, and, consequently, more motivated towards their purpose in the organization. Weekly Payout System, goes a big way in helping employees alleviate their financial hardships and regain control of their lives – positioning them for success in every aspect. 

Speaking of his decision to introduce weekly payout, a first for any organization in the country, Dinesh Gulati, COO of IndiaMart has said, “Amidst the rapidly evolving Flexi work culture, instant gratification is what every employee expects. We believe weekly payouts will be appreciated by one and all across the organization. We had started taking steps in this direction many years back when we migrated to weekly incentive payouts for many roles across the organizations.” 

The Year of Opportunities & Growth

IndiaMART has always been at the forefront of enhancing employee satisfaction. With the advent of the pandemic, IndiaMART was one of the first organizations to implement complete work from home and integrate relevant processes for the smooth operation of the business ensuring the safety of both employees and customers.

The company also noticed the limitations on opportunities available and the skill gap that was deepening because of the pandemic. So, for upskilling and providing financial assistance programs to their workforce throughout the pandemic, the company introduced programs like iLeaps, iBuds, and Own your Desktop that enabled IndiaMART employees to work efficiently from their homes by extending to them the resources to own their office laptops and providing discounted rates on online courses to expand their horizons.

Beyond their own workforce too, over the past two years, IndiaMART has taken several steps to reach the underserved segments of the workforce through their Online Associate program, onboarding over 3500 freelancers including persons with disabilities, women who were trying to return after career breaks and aspirants from remote locations.

Their new step is just another move in the same direction.

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Inside IndiaMART’s $100 mn bet on nine startups in FY22 | Mint

“After we got listed in July 2019, we thought of expanding the ecosystem of IndiaMART”, Dinesh Agarwal, co-founder and chief executive officer

MUMBAINEW DELHI : IndiaMART InterMESH Ltd, one of India’s oldest internet firms, has been actively investing in startups since its listing in 2019. In this fiscal year 2021-22 alone, the business-to-business (B2B) marketplace has invested over $100 million across nine companies. One of the deals included a 100% acquisition of accounting software company Busy Infotech Pvt. Ltd for  ₹500 crore in its biggest deal so far.

Noida-based IndiaMART, a beneficiary of venture capital and private equity investors like Amadeus Capital and WestBridge Capital before it went public, has made 11 investments worth over  ₹950 crore since its listing.

“After we got listed in July 2019, we thought of expanding the ecosystem of IndiaMART,” Dinesh Agarwal, co-founder and chief executive officer, IndiaMART told VCCircle in a virtual interaction.

A closer look at the company’s 11 investments shows that it is looking to expand horizontally at a time when competition in the online B2B e-commerce space is heating up from new-age technology companies such as Udaan, Zetwerk, and Moglix among others, which have pocketed significant venture funding over the last three years and are fast expanding in the country.

However, Agarwal noted that IndiaMART is different from the new-age companies and is making investments in startups, not because of competition from them. “I’m not diversifying because I am facing competition there. I’m simply saying that because I generate a good amount of cash, capital allocation is one important aspect that one should always be looking at,” he added.

Agarwal said IndiaMART’s investments have primarily been in companies catering to three sectors accounting and finance, marketing, and logistics that provide business enablement solutions. As of now, the accounting space has cornered the biggest share of IndiaMART’s investments at over  ₹600 crore across three firms.

In September 2019, the company picked up a 26% stake in Simply Vyapar Pvt. Ltd, marking its first bet in the accounting space. Vyapar offers a GST (goods and services tax) billing, accounting, and inventory management product for small businesses allowing them to digitize their business operations and claims to have over 100,000 paying customers for its product. In January this year, IndiaMART made a follow-on investment in the company. It currently holds a 27% stake in Vyapar and has so far invested  ₹92.75 crore in it.

“Ever since I know computers, the first and foremost use of it has been accounting for businesses. So that’s the first need of every business. In 2015-16 when the change happened from the desktop computer to the mobile computer or mobile smartphones, that’s when I was looking for a company that is more mobile-friendly on accounting and that’s why I invested in Vyapar,” said Agarwal.

IndiaMART made its second accounting bet on EasyeEcomm, a platform that offers ready integrations with major e-commerce platforms such as Flipkart and Amazon, web storefront providers such as Shopify, Zepo, and StoreHippo, and logistics providers such as Delhivery and Bluedart. IndiaMART invested ₹13.35 crore for a 26% stake in EasyEcomm. The company made its biggest bet in the accounting space in January this year by acquiring a 100% stake in Busy Infotech Pvt. Ltd for  ₹500 crore. Busy, founded in 1997, offers an accounting software platform.

“This (the acquisitions) expands our ecosystem. Not everybody today wants an online marketing lead chain like IndiaMART, but everybody wants some kind of accounting solution, and that expands our base,” Agarwal added. Agarwal further said he was confident of these investments helping IndiaMART acquire more customers going forward.

Other than accounting, IndiaMART has invested heavily in logistics companies, by making investments worth  ₹154.85 crore in as many as five companies to date.

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IndiaMART Acquires 26% Stake In IB Monotaro; To Focus Beyond Made-To-Order B2B Ecommerce | Inc42

After the announcement, shares of IndiaMART InterMESH (the parent company) rose by 2.24% hitting an intraday high of INR 4,930 on NSE

Apart from IB Monotaro, IndiaMART’s recent deals include Busy Infotech, Vyapar, EasyEcom, Mynd Solution, among others

Started 25 years ago by Dinesh Agarwal and Brijesh Agarwal, IndiaMART has a market cap of INR 15,100 Cr on the stock exchanges

B2B marketplace IndiaMART has acquired a 26% stake in Japan-based IB Monotaro, buying the 810K shares from Emtex Engineering for a total consideration of INR 104.2 Cr. The venture aims to serve B2B businesses by offering an end-to-end commerce experience enablement.

Pursuant to this transaction, Monotaro (the parent company of IB Monotaro) will hold a 51.6% stake, IndiaMART’s parent company will hold a 26% stake and Emtex Engineering which represents the promoter group and early investors will hold a 22.4% stake in IB Monotaro.

After the announcement, shares of IndiaMART InterMESH (the parent company) rose by 2.24% hitting an intraday high of INR 4,930 on NSE.

IB Monotaro under its brand name ‘Industry Buying’ is engaged in the e-commerce business for industrial and business supplies in India. According to IndiaMART founder and CEO Dinesh Agarwal, the venture will enable IndiaMART to expand category experience of Monotaro combined with IndiaMART’s leverage over buyers and suppliers in the domestic market.

In a press briefing, he mentioned that while IndiaMART is a horizontal marketplace and caters to 50 industries with 97,000 different product and service categories such as raw materials, made to order and customised goods, it is mainly a discovery-to-negotiation-to-conversational commerce platform.It is a large discovery to conversational commerce platform with links to payment facilitation and business enablement.

“However, IB Monotaro is specifically going to focus upon MRO products (maintenance, repair, and operating supplies), industrial goods and consumables and that too, on a pure online order and immediate shipping basis,” Aggarwal answered to the query raised by Inc42.

On IndiaMART, an industry buyer can connect with manufacturers for custom needs, raw material, perform negotiations, have a conversation platform, a CRM platform; whereas IB Monotaro will be a B2B ecommerce platform.

IndiaMART’s Growth Trajectory

Started 25 years ago by Dinesh Agarwal and Brijesh Agarwal, IndiaMART has a market cap of INR 15,100 Cr on the stock exchanges. It recorded INR 2,523 Cr under cash and investment in Q3 of FY22, a 121% year-on-year rise from INR 1,143 Cr in Q3 of FY21. 

In Q2 of FY22, it posted INR 2,466 Cr under cash and investment. The company posted a profit after tax worth INR 70 Cr in Q3 of FY22, a 12% drop from INR 80 Cr it clocked in Q3 of FY21 and a 14% drop from INR 82 Cr it posted in Q2 of FY22. 

The company competes against new age tech companies including Meesho, IPO-bound Udaan, DealShare, among others and with the addition of IB Monotaro, it now also locks horns with US-based Amazon and Walmart-backed Flipkart. 

Apart from IB Monotaro, IndiaMART’s recent deals include 100% acquisition of accounting software Busy Infotech for INR 500 Cr; pumping INR 217.5 Cr in SMB focussed billing platform Vyapar; investing INR 13.35 Cr EasyEcom for 26.01% stake; investing INR 32.4 Cr to acquire a stake in Mynd Solutionfor its TReDs platform M1xchange, among others.

INC42

IndiaMART acquires 26% stake in IB Monotaro

Partners with Japan based firm to build India’s largest B2B e-commerce platform in MRO category

IndiaMart, the largest B2B marketplace of India, has acquired 26% (on fully diluted basis) share capital of IB Monotaro Private Limited (“Industry Buying”). The company acquired 8.1 lakh shares from Emtex Engineering Private Limited for a total consideration of INR 104.2 Cr.

Pursuant to this transaction, MonotaRO Co. Ltd. (Japan) will hold 51.6% stake, IndiaMart will hold 26% stake and Emtex Engineering Pvt Ltd (representing the promoter group and early investors) will hold 22.4% stake in Industry Buying.

Along with the core capabilities of discovery and conversation, this investment is aligned to the strategic vision of IndiaMART to enable commerce for the MSMEs. MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Operations Supplies) is a USD 50Bn market in India and is growing at a CAGR of 12% YoY. With the increased adoption of internet and GST shifting the market to online platforms, this tie-up possesses an opportunity for both IndiaMART and MonotaRO.

Speaking about the investment, Mr. Dinesh Agarwal, founder and MD of IndiaMART said “This transaction is a part of strategic initiative of moving towards commerce enablement. Category experience of MonotaRO combined with the IndiaMart leverage over buyers and suppliers in the domestic market will help in the future growth and expansion of this company.”

Masaya Suzuki, CEO, MonotaRO Japan commented “This capital participation by IndiaMart will further accelerate IB Monotaro’s growth in India, leveraging the B2B MRO e-commerce expertise MonotaRO has built up in Japan. We aim to become the leading B2B e-commerce platform in India”

Swati Gupta, CEO IMPL commented “IndiaMart is the largest online B2B marketplace in India. MonotaRO possess expertise in the industrial B2B ecommerce and IndiaMart has deep understanding about the Indian markets. We are very excited to partner with both of them and take industrybuying.com to new heights in the coming years”

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IndiaMART leads the Series B funding round of Logistics SaaS Platform Fleetx

IndiaMART, the largest B2B marketplace of India, has announced an investment of Rs 91.4 Crores in Fleetx Technologies Private Limited (‘Fleetx.io’).  As part of the transaction, IndiaMART has agreed to acquire shares via a mix of primary and secondary share purchases, and its final holding post the round shall stand at 16.5%. Fleetx.io has raised a total of Rs.145 Crores in this round, led by IndiaMART along with participation from existing investors IndiaQuotient and BEENEXT.

Fleetx.io is a freight and fleet management software that helps both fleet operators and businesses to digitize their operations and helps them improve the safety, efficiency and sustainability of their vehicles and operations. By harnessing IoT and machine learning, Fleetx is enabling the digital transformation of the logistics industry and helping all stakeholders get actionable insights and improve their operations. Some key use cases of the fleetx.io platform include Real-time Visibility, Improved Asset Utilization, Theft Prevention, Fuel Savings and Improved Vendor Performance.

Speaking about the investment, Mr. Dinesh Agarwal, founder and MD of IndiaMART said “Supply Chain Visibility is a critical yet underserved problem faced by Indian businesses and Fleet Owners. FleetX has been able to validate and scale an innovative IoT and SaaS-based solution to this problem. Moreover, they have been able to successfully develop and cross-sell solutions for various other pain points felt by businesses across their supply chain, such as theft prevention and asset utilization. Vineet and the rest of the Fleetx team are experienced professionals with rich experience in working together to deploy technology at scale, and we are excited to partner with them for their next phase of growth. ”

Commenting on the fundraise, Vineet Sharma, CEO and Co-founder of Fleetx.io said, “We are thrilled to onboard IndiaMART in our mission to increase safety, efficiency, and digitization in the logistics and transportation industry. We also want to thank our existing investors for their continuous belief and support in our mission. Customer is the center of our mission and this investment will enable us to keep innovating on behalf of our customers, taking our product leadership further ahead and taking it to global markets. We will be utilizing the investment primarily for talent acquisition, enhancing product and technology and scaling GTM capabilities

Logistics & Transportation is a backbone for any economy across the globe and has been running on manual processes, with siloed systems and spreadsheets with no real-time visibility. The digital transformation in the logistics industry is just getting started with penetration level is still less than 10% in developing countries. Covid has exposed the fragileness in the supply chain industry and created an urgency for freight digitization, prompting Gartner to predict that 50% of leading global enterprises will have invested in real-time transportation visibility solutions by 2023. We are building an end-to-end platform to solve the opaque operations and siloed systems through technology and helping customers to visualize their physical logistics operations in real-time, on one integrated platform”.

“Fleetx was one of India Quotient’s first few SaaS investments when we realized that Indian businesses will begin to adopt softwares. From sales to fleet owners (transport sector) in the beginning, they have scaled the product to fit many industries such as FMCG, Automotive, Cement, Iron & Steel, and E-com, etc. Today 70% of their revenue comes from mid to large customers. Logistics & Supply Chain SaaS is a massive market globally and Fleetx, growing more than 100% YoY, will soon enter other SEA countries” Said Mr. Gagan Goyal, Partner at IndiaQuotient.

Economic Times

Budget Reaction: MSME Sector

While welcoming the Union Budget 2022, Mr Dinesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, IndiaMART InterMESH Limited stated, “With respect to the MSME sector, we congratulate the Union Budget 2022 for the vision. MSMEs will be supported through an extension of the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) through March 2023, which will increase the guarantee cover by Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 5 lakh crore. The ‘Effective Capital Expenditure’ which is estimated at INR 10.68 lakh crore will be about 4.1 percent of GDP implies that Government is focused on strengthening domestic industry which will aid economic growth and job creation.

Dinesh Agarwal, IndiaMART InterMESH, Founder & MD

This year’s Budget also emphasized on the startup ecosystem. Furthermore, the focus on digitization will strengthen online marketplaces to reach a wider audience, thereby creating a path for strong growth. The tone of the Budget was clearly pointing toward the priority areas defined as engines of growth for becoming a 5 trillion economy. It was a genuine effort to meet the GDP target as envisaged in the Economic Survey; we wish to see the year as the ‘year of growth’.

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IndiaMART to acquire Busy Infotech for Rs 500 Crores

Also announced participation in Series B Funding Round of Vyapar

Leading B2B marketplace, IndiaMART on Tuesday said it is acquiring the accounting software company Busy Infotech Pvt Ltd for a cash consideration of ₹500 crores. The B2B marketplace also said that it has participated in the Series B funding round of Simply Vyapar Apps Ltd.

In a regulatory filing, the company said, “IndiaMART InterMESH Limited has entered into an agreement to acquire 100% paid-up capital of Busy Infotech Private Ltd (BUSY). Subsequent to the said acquisition, BUSY shall become the wholly-owned subsidiary of the company.”

“The cost of the acquisition is up to ₹500 crore for acquiring 100 percent paid-up capital in BUSY i.e. 45,000 equity shares (having a face value of ₹10) at a premium of ₹1,11,101 per equity share from the existing shareholders,” the regulatory filing added.

Incorporated in 1997, Busy Infotech is one the largest accounting software companies in the country with a pan-India presence. It had revenue of Rs 42.4 crore and a profit after tax of Rs 11 crore in the fiscal ended March 31, 2021.

“Busy has been an established brand in the Indian accounting landscape for the last 25 years. Their value proposition fits well with Indiamart’s long-term objective of making doing business easy for Indian businesses,” said Dinesh Agarwal, founder and managing director of Indiamart, said in a statement. “This acquisition augments Indiamart’s value proposition, and given our large customer base as well as market understanding, we are confident of taking Busy to the next level.”

Meanwhile, the B2B marketplace also said that it has participated in the Series B investment round of Simply Vyapar Apps Pvt Ltd of ₹217.5 crores. The round has been led by Westbridge Capital, with the participation of existing investor India Quotient.

“As part of the transaction, IndiaMART has acquired shares for an aggregate investment of ₹61.55 crores, via a mix of primary and secondary share purchases. Post this round, IndiaMART shall hold 27 percent in Vyapar on a fully diluted basis,” the company added.

Vyapar offers a comprehensive GST Billing, accounting, and inventory management product for small businesses allowing them to digitize their business operations. It has over one lakh paying customers for its product. IndiaMART had previously led Vyapar’s Series A Investment Round in September 2019, by investing ₹31.2 crores for a 26 percent stake in the company.

Vyapar offers a comprehensive GST Billing, accounting, and inventory management product for small businesses allowing them to digitize their business operations. It has over one lakh paying customers for its product. IndiaMART had previously led Vyapar’s Series A Investment Round in September 2019, by investing ₹31.2 crores for a 26 percent stake in the company.

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IndiaMART InterMESH Limited Third Quarter ending December 31, 2021 – Results

Noida, India, January 24, 2022: IndiaMART InterMESH Limited (referred to as “IndiaMART” or the “Company”), today announced its financial results for the third quarter ending December 31, 2021.

Financial Highlights (Q3 FY2022)

IndiaMART reported consolidated Total Revenue from Operations of Rs. 188 Crore in Q3 FY22, a growth of 8% YoY driven by improvement in realization from existing customers and increase in number of paying subscription suppliers. Consolidated Deferred Revenue grew by 25% YoY to Rs. 790 Crore as of 31 December 2021.

Consolidated EBITDA was Rs. 79 Crore. EBITDA margin for Q3 FY22 stood at 42%. Consolidated EBIT for the period was Rs. 75 Crore with EBIT margin of 40% in Q3 FY22.

Profit before Tax was at Rs. 93 Crore and Net Profit was Rs. 70 Crores, representing margins of 44% and 33% respectively.

Consolidated Cash Flow from Operations for the quarter was at Rs. 84 Crore, a year-on-year growth of 9%. Cash and Investments balance stood at Rs. 2,523 Crore as on December 31, 2021.

Operational Highlights (Q3 FY2022)

IndiaMART registered traffic of 259 million and unique business enquiries of 23 million during Q3 FY22. Supplier Storefronts grew to 7 million, an increase of 10% YoY and with a net addition of 5,833 subscribers during Q3 FY22, paying subscription suppliers grew to 156 thousand.

Further, during the quarter, IndiaMART has acquired:

  • 7.7% stake in ‘Mynd Solutions Private Limited’ which operates receivables exchange under thebrand name of ‘M1xchange’. Mynd Solutions Private Limited is one of the RBI licensed entities to set up TReDS platform to facilitate invoice discounting for MSMEs.
  • 26% stake in ‘Edgewise Technologies Private Limited” offers AI driven omnichannel inventory and warehouse management solutions to merchants under the brand name of ‘EasyEcom”. It allows merchants to allocate, track and reconcile inventory across online and offline sales channels.

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

“We are pleased to report a good financial performance in this quarter with growth in customers and deferred revenue with healthy margins and cash flows. Growing internet adoption strengthens our value proposition of helping businesses transform themselves to do business online. On the back of a strong balance sheet and cash flow from operations, we will continue to invest in our employees and product offerings for our customers that create long-term value for our shareholders.”

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

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I had never planned to be a CIO, it just happened, says Vivek Agrawal, CIO of IndiaMART

CIOs in any organization is more important now than they have ever been

Digital transformation is the key and this will become the single most important factor for the measurement of success for the CIOs

This is an exclusive story conducted by Santosh Vaswani, Content Writer & Editor at CIO News with Vivek Agrawal, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of IndiaMART InterMesh Limited on his professional journey.

When asked about his plans in his career path to be a successful CIO, Vivek Agrawal, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of IndiaMART InterMesh Limited, in an exclusive interview with CIO News said, “Honestly speaking, I never planned to be a CIO, it just happened. I joined IndiaMART as an Assistant Product Manager in December 2010 and worked over multiple products in my 7.5 years of Product Management role until April 2018. I always went deep and built good control over both product and technology for all the products I owned. This, coupled with a good business understanding made me a strong contender for the CIO role in April 2018.

When asked about IndiaMART InterMesh Limited and his key business priorities, he said, IndiaMART is India’s largest online B2B marketplace, connecting buyers with suppliers. With a 60 per cent market share of the online B2B Classified space in India, the channel focuses on providing a platform to Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Large Enterprises as well as individuals.

The key business priorities of IndiaMART include:

  • Bringing intelligence to the customer service executives for better customer service and customer satisfaction
  • Automation of the various operational processes to bring efficiency to the system
  • Increase customer revenue by giving high-quality prospect recommendations
  • Information security 

When asked about digital technologies he plans to implement in an e-commerce company, he said, some of the important digital technologies an e-commerce company must implement are:

  • Seamless UX on Mobile platform (Website and App)
  • Cloud-based server/tech stack
  • Voice Assistants based platform usage
  • Image Search
  • Artificial Intelligence-based personalization and recommendation
  • Efficient checkout and payment process
  • Automated shipping tracking
  • Chatbots based 24/7 customer assistance

When asked about the future an e-commerce industry can expect after the implementation of digital technologies, he said:

Seamless UX on Mobile platform (Website and App)

  • Today, more than 550 million Indians use the internet and 80 percent of them use the internet on their mobile/smartphones.
  • A seamless and easy-to-use mobile site and app are essential to the success of any e-commerce platform today.

Cloud-based server/tech stack

Shifting the tech stack/servers to the cloud gives the immediate following impact:

  • Helps in quick deployments as it does not require physical machines to be installed
  • Helps in meeting business demand quickly as it is easily scalable
  • Reduces cost as there is almost no maintenance of cloud deployments and payment is as per usage

Voice Assistants based platform usage:

With the new internet user-base coming from Tier 2 & 3 towns, the e-commerce platform must be very easy to use for this user base. Enabling Voice-based typing and searches does this perfectly.

Today there are ready-made tools available which one can integrate with the website and enable the voice assistants.

Image Search:

This has always been the need of all e-commerce platforms as most of the time it is very difficult to explain the buyer’s requirement in keywords.

However, image recognition was not very successful until some years ago. Now that good readymade algorithms and tools are available in the market, image search has become a must for all e-commerce platforms.

Artificial Intelligence-based personalization and recommendation:

User personalization on an e-commerce platform is very important for better user engagement and conversion. Artificial Intelligence-based algorithms help provide strong personalized recommendations leading to improved user satisfaction.

Efficient checkout and payment process:

Checking out along with the payment process on any e-commerce platform should be the easiest process without any friction. Single-click checkout and a single-click payment system enable e-commerce platforms to achieve the best conversions.

For easing the payment process, there are good white label solutions available in the market which must be explored.

Automated shipping tracking:

Once the order is placed, every customer wants to track the status of his order and shipment. Single-click order and shipping status visibility is the most desired feature at this stage.

Seamless API integration with the shipment providers or an aggregator helps here. This is a must for e-commerce platforms. This results in customer gratification increasing customer loyalty. A loyal customer uses the platform repeatedly reducing the incremental cost of customer acquisition.

Chatbots based 24/7 customer assistance:

Customer support/assistance plays a vital role in customer satisfaction. Chatbots have taken customer support to the next level by making it available round the clock adding to the customer gratification.

Chatbots also bring in more control over customer communication and reduce errors and repeated executive training.

When asked about the challenges faced by a CIO today in the e-commerce industry while implementing digital technologies and how can CIOs overcome the challenges, he said, I feel the following 2 are the biggest challenges for CIOs today:

Data Security & Data Protection:

Data security has always been difficult for CIOs. The advent of AI and movement to SAAS & Cloud-based platforms have only added to the security threats.

To overcome this, CIOs need to be extra vigilant towards the detection of such threats and training their systems against them. AI-based protection systems shall help in strengthening their systems.

Digital Transformation:

Changing the existing business ERP user flows becomes very difficult when the entire organization is already used to the old flow and measures productivity on the same. Being able to share innovative solutions and getting agreement from all stakeholders can sometimes become nightmares as there will always be a lot of resistance to change.

CIOs need to be more proactive and more involved in the entire Digital Transformation process. They should lead from the front to bring in all the confidence and help in executing the digital transformation initiatives.

Digital Transformation is an important responsibility of all the stakeholders and not only the CIO. This will ensure that everyone takes full responsibility for the successful digital transformation.

When asked about best practices, industry trends, and advice he would like to suggest to fellow CIOs for their successful professional journey, he said:

  • Define KPIs, create measures and keep a daily tab on them. Once you start measuring daily, identify the roadblocks to improvement, you should find innovative ways to solve them.
  • Liaison well with the business stakeholders and lead the digital transformation initiatives.
  • Hire industry experts with relevant experiences for the next layer of management. They will bring in best practices.

He said CIOs in every organization are more important now than they have been ever. This has led to 100s of CIO vacancies in the market today. It is now important for the new CIOs to learn faster and stay relevant. Digital transformation is the key and this will become the single most important factor for the measurement of success of the CIOs.

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