Exploring new markets vital for SMEs’ growth: IndiaMART Emerging Business Forum


Mumbai, November 25, 2016: The Mumbai Chapter of the 6th IndiaMART Emerging Business Forum 2016, held here on Nov 25, highlighted the possibility of growth of Indian SMEs in new markets by means of innovative technology and increasing visibility in online marketplaces. The event included talks on the imperatives of exploring new markets and how it is vital for growth of SMEs in India.

In addition, the Mumbai Chapter also highlighted some important factors like introduction of better trade policies, economic reforms, and effective implementation of the same to ensure better growth of small-scale units across the nation.

According to Parag Agarawal – Sr. Vice President, IndiaMART, “SMEs operate within a limited network and market. For entrepreneurs who are new in the market, gaining visibility has become a major challenge. However, technology and the advent of online marketplaces have equipped SMEs with easy and affordable access to new markets both nationally and globally. We have also witnessed that SMEs who have access to technology and ecommerce have a higher growth rate and profit margins.”

Moreover, the advent of E-commerce offers all SMEs with an opportunity to expand their business online, giving them access to new buyers, suppliers, and the latest in business technology. By gaining virtual presence, SMEs are now able to explore latest trends in the market, acquire more buyers & suppliers, and are finally making everyone realize their importance in the corporate landscape.

The Mumbai edition of IndiaMART’s on-going Emerging Business Forum ended on a promising note, with most participants coming to a mutual conclusion that technology upgradation and E-commerce play a key role in promoting the growth of SMEs in new market segments.

Other speakers included Ganesh Kumar Gupta, VP, FIEO; KV Srinivasan, CEO, Reliance Commercial Finance; Rajiv Chawla, Chairman, IamSMEofIndia.

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The B2B baron


DINESH Agarwal founded IndiaMART as the country’s “first online B2B directory” in 1996. Within a year, it had registered 100 clients on its platform. Today, the number stands at more than 26 lakh suppliers. “Things have changed dramatically for us in the past two decades,” says Agarwal, who started out as a trader in fertilisers before jumping onto the website business in 1996.

But back then, there was no such term as ‘e-commerce’ in India. So the 47-year-old Noida-based founder and CEO started a website—an online directory of small and medium businesses—that connected buyers with suppliers, provided product and pricing information, and helped generate business leads. “In more ways than one, we were disruptors, not just because we brought in newness within the SME space, but also because we set the tone for an alignment not thought about earlier,” he adds.

Today, this business is a R300-crore profitable entity and has set the pace to generate 10 million buying enquiries every month, with transactions worth over R30,000 crore. And Agarwal did it by focusing on connecting and serving people who are often not championed—small and medium enterprises (SMEs). “Not only did the website enhance an SME’s presence beyond geographical barriers, it was also a slick, smart and ‘now’ proposition. It made them look up-to-date and efficient. Although Internet and computer penetration were low, businesses could look to access buyers in the international markets. The fact that we broke even in the first year of operations bore testimony to this,” says Agarwal.

But soon came the dotcom bust in 2000; several businesses that had reached market capitalisation in hundreds of millions of dollars became worthless within a matter of months. But for Agarwal, the period brought opportunity to have a re-look at his business, tighten the processes, improve cost-consciousness and cast the net wider to acquire new customers. By 2001, IndiaMART had around 1,000 paying customers. “We had charted an ambitious 10x growth target in five years to reach 10,000 customers and expand to 5,000 product categories by 2006”, says Agarwal.

Talking about IndiaMART’s “continuing existence”, Agarwal says, “As I said, we were disruptors many times over. The ingredients and the scope were all there—a buoyant SME-driven market; the willingness to look at new avenues and platforms—in our case, the Web; a full stack of fresh services; and the premium, value-added proposition.”
As a B2B platform, IndiaMART has direct competition from Chinese e-commerce major Alibaba, but Agarwal feels more competition means more market development. “If you see, the market size is very large. It’s a trillion-dollar trade opportunity. By the entry of Alibaba, the supplier base will be more educated,” he says.

IndiaMART only maintains an online database of B2B players, but in order to take on the likes of and Alibaba (which has stakes in Snapdeal and Paytm) in the lucrative B2B e-commerce space, it launched a full-fledge e-commerce site for SMEs,, in 2014. In March this year, IndiaMART raised an undisclosed amount (largely to be used for Tolexo) in Series C funding led by Amadeus Capital, and in which Westbridge, UK-based Quona Capital and existing investor Intel Capital also participated.

IndiaMART records 9000 pct rise in demand for card-swipe machines

Business Standard

India’s largest online marketplace IndiaMART has witnessed a phenomenal rise in enquiries on technological instruments that enable cashless transactions.

The machines facilitate acceptance of payment from customers by swiping of debit/credit/pre-paid cards.

“Following demonetisation and resultant cash shortage in the market, the surge in the enquiries for point-of-sale and card-swipe machines on IndiaMART indicate that more organisations especially SMEs, entrepreneurs and emerging businesses are looking for alternative payment solutions to avoid hindrances in business. In fact, the upswing for the demand of such machines has gone up to as much as 9000 percent from the day the 500 and 1000-rupee note recall was announced,” said Vice President Marketing, IndiaMART, Sumit Bedi.

The platform has witnessed major growth in enquiries from cities like Ahmedabad, Jaipur, New Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai.

Post demonetization, there has been a whopping 10,000 percent rise in the demand for card swipe machines in Ahmedabad, 7800 percent in Jaipur, 6800 percent in New Delhi, 4200 percent in Pune, 4000 percent in Bengaluru and around 3500 percent in Hyderabad and Chennai. SMEs from cities like Lucknow, Surat, Patna and Indore have also shown huge interest in card-swipe machines.

After demonetization, the platform has seen more than 11,000 percent growth in the demand for POS Systems in New Delhi, 9500 percent growth in Bengaluru, 7900 percent in Jaipur. There have been enquiries from other cities like Chandigarh, Mumbai, Hyderabad also.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the government move to demonetize 500 and 1000-rupee notes late evening on November 8th 2016.

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How IndiaMART uses analytics to deliver business inquiries


Dinesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, IndiaMART, comes from a software technology background and believes that IT is a part of his DNA. In an interview with Salvi Mittal, Dinesh Aggarwal explains about how he is leveraging analytics at IndiaMART.

Q. Please describe the IT roadmap of IndiaMART?
80% of our infrastructure is on open source technology. We chose open source because it does not require any proprietary tie-up, is cost effective and supports modifications. Earlier we had in-house built ERP system, HR and E-mail systems but now we have been migrating our in-house systems on SaaS- based providers. Currently, we are using SaaS- based provider for HR System and are planning to migrate to a bigger SaaS platform. We are looking for an integrated HR platform as there are very little HR platforms available in SaaS model.

For marketing, we are already consuming Oracle responses and are also looking at other marketing solutions.

For server infrastructure, we are slowly augmenting form rational data base like Oracle Mysql, Cassandra because it has to be further more scalable. Tons of data has been stored in rational database which is now becoming difficult to manage. Rational data bases are good when it comes to optimizing the hard-disk space or storage space, thought the storage space is getting cheap nowadays. Today the essential part is to get the access of data in fractions of seconds.

We had web-based ERPs for sales and are also building mobile ERPs for sales-force automation, customer self on-boarding, and location detection. The mobile ERPs will mark the salesforce location while they are out to visit the customer and further use that to localize the searches. Presently IndiaMART has 25 lakh SMEs listed on its platform and will streamline entire IndiaMart’s ecosystem if we could map them down.

We are also using location based picture searches.

Q. How are you leveraging analytics?
On the IndiaMART platform, the buyer does not need to search, sort and select. We have RFQ system, where buyers can put in an RFQ on IndiaMart and suppliers can contact the buyers. And we run analytics on the data we receive to understand the location preference.

Every month a million plus RFQs are getting consumed by some 60,000-70,000 suppliers only. And these buyers and suppliers leave a lot of footprints; hence here we use data analytics very effectively.

We have data from 30 million+ buyers and 2 million+ supplier’s and deliver over 10 million business inquiries. So if we take last 5 years data we will have around 500 million business inquiries that IndiaMART has delivered. And now we are trying to sniff through that data to find out the trends and make it more analytics driven.

We are also looking at supplier’s self on-boarding. For example- 80% of suppliers that signs up are on IndiaMART’s mobile application and they could receive enquiries and RFQ alerts as they happens and can chat with the buyers. We are also working on mobile CRM for suppliers.

Q. How are SMAC technologies influencing the seamless customer experience?
We are more excited about mobile as the technology because we get location, access to the user’s address book and photo gallery. So our strategy is that all the three sets of users will remain there, desktop user will remain on desktop, there are occasional users who come on mobile website and there are the power users who use the application. All these users have different requirements and has to completely co-exist.

Public Procurement Policy to ensure SME role in nation building:  IndiaMART Emerging Business Forum

Pune, October 16, 2016: India’s Public Procurement Policy is in need of efficiency, equitability, social intent implemented as a flawless framework with adequate checks and balances, and involvement of experts outside of the government. Stressing on such salience, the 5th chapter of the 6th IndiaMART Emerging Business Forum 2016, held in Pune on October 21, emphasised upon the importance of the Policy driven by technology to ensure participation of even the marginal SMEs in the process.

Under the Policy regulations, every central ministry, department and PSU must procure minimum 20% goods and services annually from micro and small enterprises. The Pune Emerging Business Forum analysed the Policy’s impact on such enterprises, both constructive and challenging; it also served as a platform to deliberate upon the available opportunities that can be best explored by the enterprises.

According to Mudit Khosla, Sr. Vice President – Brand Solutions, IndiaMART, “Perhaps the most effective and laudable process relevant to the current startup environment for the SMEs to participate in nation building, the Public Procurement Policy must be tuned to address trade financial inadequacies too. As we saw at the Pune Emerging Business Forum, the enterprises expect built-in transparencies and easy, technology-supported access to information within the bidding process. Online marketplaces can serve as platforms for transparent and easier procurement of goods and services.”

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Apart from the needs within the procurement policy, the Emerging Business Forum highlighted its multi-level advantages, given the social-welfare imperatives of the country and its apparent intent to become a SME-led economy.  The government is focusing on a well-designed and well-implemented public procurement policy that would ultimately lead to financial savings from annual procurement costs; generate avenues for private investments; provide added adeptness in channelising national expenditure in growth-centric areas such as infrastructure; and make institutional procurement stringent, regular and rule based.

The other speakers included Sanjay Athalle, CFO, Reliance Commercial Finance and Nitin Bankar, Director, Pimpri-Chichwad Industry Association.

The IndiaMART Emerging Business Forum in Pune continued the series of successful chapters in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Jaipur. The next such forum will be held in Mumbai next

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Technology to galvanize Indian women entrepreneurs: IndiaMART Emerging Business Forum

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Jaipur, October 10, 2016: IndiaMART, India’s largest online marketplace that connects buyers and suppliers, stressed on the importance of propelling the growth of women entrepreneurs in India at the 4th leg of the 6th season of IndiaMART Emerging Business Forum held in Jaipur on 14th October, 2016. The highly immersive conference effectively navigated and edified the SME community across the length and breadth of the country. Rajasthan is home to around 2.5 Lakh women run establishments and counting. They have immensely contributed in creating new job roles for themselves, as well as others. Furthermore, they have introduced innovative and effective solutions to counter various corporate issues, be it in the realm of management or other important business operations. In a growth-infused market such as India, the sudden growth of women entrepreneurs is a welcoming step towards achieving gender parity across sectors.
According to Madhup Agrawal, IndiaMART, “In spite of the fact that many women now hold leadership roles, they still have to break through gender-based barriers to be taken seriously. Challenges such as cultural practices, expectations of raising a family, lack of financial independence, limited access to information etc. have always hindered a woman’s growth and kept her from realizing her maximum potential. Technology and online marketplaces offer a level playing field to women entrepreneurs allowing them to efficiently multi-task between work and personal life.”
Other speakers at the event included Neeta Boochra, Founder Chairperson of FICCI FLO; Anisha Motwani, Corporate Leader; Usha Dutta, National Credit Manager at Reliance Capital and Divya Jain – CEO of Safeducate.
Usha Dutta talked about the financial issues for women entrepreneurs and called them as ‘Risk Covers’. Neeta Boochra encouraged women to come forward as entrepreneurs and asked them to ‘Dream big, act fast, be decisive and have a goal’. Anisha Motwani spoke on how SMEs can be the leaders of tomorrow.
The Jaipur chapter of the 6th edition of IndiaMART Emerging Business Forum comes following the success of its preceding chapters in Ahmedabad, Delhi, and Hyderabad.
Growth enablers such as the Emerging Business Forum have come forward to bolster women in realizing their goals and ambitions without societal limitations. As an organization that promotes entrepreneurship, IndiaMART has been mentoring and empowering women from all walks of life reach their full potential, and fuel their dreams of becoming successful entrepreneurs in future.


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