Chennai: Online services firm Consim Info Pvt. Ltd that runs the Bharatmatrimony.com matchmaking service has postponed its plans to sell shares to the public through an initial public offering (IPO) by up to two years and has also scaled back by 75% its expansion plans for brick-and-mortar matrimony centres across the country.
Cutting cost: Consim founder and CEO Murugavel Janakiraman says he wants the company’s initial public offering latest by 2011.
Consim’s chief executive and founder Murugavel Janakiraman had earlier considered a share sale in 2009 but, given the lacklustre economic environment, that date has now been pushed to either 2010 or early 2011.
“I certainly want to do an IPO no later than 2011,” says Janakiraman, who launched his Internet-based matrimonial services Bharatmatrimony.com at least a decade ago.
He added that the company’s revenue would increase 50% this year and profit margins move up to 20% from 10%. Janakiraman did not disclose the actual revenue or profits of the firm.
“Among the dotcoms, Consim is on a relatively stronger wicket because they weathered the dotcom storm and were quite a bootstrapped organization until they raised venture funding,” said Arun Natarajan, chief executive of Chennai-based venture funding research firm Venture Intelligence.
The company has also taken up some cost-cutting measures by closing down unprofitable Bharatmatrimony centres, or offline marriage bureaus where people could walk in to pay, register and would be helped by a counsellor to find a match. Consim planned to open 300 such centres by 2008. The number now stands at one-fourth that forecast at 75, with at least 20 centres being closed down in the last one year.
“Some of them were not as profitable as we expected,” Janakiraman says.
In 2008, Consim received a second round of funding worth $11.75 million (Rs56.5 crore now) from Internet company Yahoo Inc. and venture capital funds Mayfield Fund and Canaan Partners.
The Chennai-based company that also runs an online job portal (Clickjobs.com) and a property website (Indiaproperty.com) raised an initial funding of $8.65 million in 2006 from Yahoo and Canaan Partners.
After the second round of capital infusion, Consim has explored several niches in its matrimonial business, including religion-based websites (Muslimmatrimony.com and Christianmatrimony.com) and an online service for rich individuals looking for a life partner (Elitematrimony.com.)
“While the potential for online businesses is high, the biggest negative is the slow pace of broadband Internet penetration in India,” said Harit Shah, a research analyst with Angel Broking Ltd. India had merely 6.4 million broadband subscribers at the end of May, slightly higher than the 6.28 million at the end of April, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India data shows.