Bengaluru: Online classifieds platform Quikr India Pvt. Ltd has acquired Stepni, a Bengaluru-based start-up that connects vehicle owners with service providers, for an undisclosed amount, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
Quikr has been driving a verticalization exercise, under which the company is focusing on five key business segments—automobiles, real estate, jobs, services and customer-to-customer sales—that it has identified as new sources of revenue to fend off competition from other venture capital-backed firms that have emerged in each of these categories.
The acquisition of Stepni (FO Auto Technologies Pvt. Ltd) is expected to help Quikr strengthen car-related services under the QuikrCars vertical, as well as boost its services business, QuikrServices.
Stepni, founded by Vinay Singh and Nikhil Nair in October 2015, claims to have a network of more than 125 service centres across Bengaluru.
The Stepni team, including the founders, will join QuikrCars, the statement said. Quikr aims to expand the vehicle maintenance service to other cities in the next three months.
“At QuikrCars, we believe there is an acute need and a large opportunity for someone to innovate in the auto buying/selling space in India. In new cars, we are working closely with OEMs (original equipment makers) to address their marketing needs, and in used cars we are by far the number one destination for inspected, consumer-owned cars. Stepni’s business model will now allow us to develop a longer-term relationship with car owners as opposed to only at the point of buying-selling,” said Atul Tewari, head of QuikrCars and chief operating officer at Quikr.
As a classifieds portal, Quikr has just one rival, OLX, which is backed by Naspers Ltd, a South African mass media company. However, the verticals the firm plans to focus on have seen the emergence of a number of well-funded start-ups.
For instance, in the cars segment, Quikr competes with the likes of Warburg Pincus-backed CarTrade, which has so far raised at least $185 million from investors, and CarDekho, which has raised at least $90 million from Sequoia Capital and Google Capital, among others.
The real estate segment has businesses such as Housing, Magicbricks and PropTiger, among others. Similarly, the hyperlocal services segment has deep-pocketed start-ups such as Housejoy and UrbanClap; while in the jobs category, the likes of Babajob and AasaanJobs compete with Quikr.
Quikr is growing beyond a listing platform to a one-stop shop for used goods by enabling payments on its platform, as well as facilitating logistics, a move likely to throw open additional revenue channels at a time when a slowdown in external funding is prompting start-ups to reduce cash burn and focus on profitability.
The company has been investing aggressively to build the five verticals by both acquiring companies and making strategic investments.
For instance, Quikr acquired real estate portal Commonfloor (maxHeap Technologies Pvt. Ltd) for $120 million in January. This apart, it has acquired Indian Realty Exchange (123 Startup Ventures Pvt. Ltd), a real estate agent aggregator, and RealtyCompass, a real estate analytics start-up, besides making a strategic investment in A.N. Virtual World Tech Ltd, a company which provides 360-degree street views.
In May, Quikr acquired Gurgaon-based home beauty services provider Salosa for an undisclosed amount and Zapluk in August to bolster its home services business. The company also bought online recruitment platform Hiree in July.