Mumbai: Internet and mobile-based classifieds company Quikr Mauritius Holding Pvt Ltd, the parent company of Quikr India Pvt. Ltd, has raised $32 million in its fifth and largest round of fund raising.
Global private equity firm Warburg Pincus Llc led the round, with existing investors Matrix Partners India, Norwest Venture Partners and eBay Inc. pooling in.
Quikr has raised $50 million from investors till date, which makes it one of the most funded consumer Internet companies in the country.
The company has 17 million unique individuals and small businesses using it across 83 cities every month. These individuals and businesses access Quikr to sell, buy, rent or find products and services in a variety of categories such as electronics, cars, bikes, real estate, services, jobs, education and entertainment.
Other existing investors in the company include Nokia Growth Partners and Omidyar Network.
“The current round, which is our largest to date, will enable us to diversify our offerings across both online and mobile platforms, intensify our product development efforts and further strengthen our marketing capabilities,” said Pranay Chulet, co-founder and chief executive, Quikr.
Chulet said the corpus raised will also be utilized for product development and aggressive marketing measures including print and electronic media. “We are open to inorganic possibilities and will acquire, if it makes sense.”
Quikr has a team of less than 100 employees.
With Indian consumers becoming comfortable with online searching and ordering and Internet adoption expected to rise sharply, investors’ interest in such companies will continue for the next one to two years, said Sunil Jain, founder partner at Sprout Capital Advisors LLP, an investment bank.
The next decade is poised to present tremendous growth opportunities in the Internet sector in India, supported by a growing number of Internet users, increasing income levels and a young population. According to Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) Internet, users in the country have crossed the 100-million mark. IAMAI estimates that the number of Internet users in India will triple by 2014-15.
When it comes to exits, while both strategic sale and public offerings are a possibility, mergers and acquisitions are expected to dominate the exit route for financial investors. “There are many global majors in the consumer Internet space who are keen on entering emerging markets. Logically, it has to be an mergers and acquisitions strategy for them,” said Mohit Agarwal, senior associate, Equirus Capital (Pvt) Ltd, an investment bank.
The consumer Internet space, however, is not without its share of difficulties. High valuations and unpredictability of a business over a period of time are of huge concern for investors, said Sunil Goyal, managing director and chief executive, Ladderup Corporate Advisory Pvt. Ltd, an investment-bank. “These are risky businesses as one cannot predict how they will shape up after five years.”