Home / Companies / Start-ups /  Quikr looks to raise up to $150 million

Bengaluru: Quikr India Pvt Ltd, which runs an online classifieds and services portal, is in talks to raise between $100 million and $150 million by keeping its record valuation of $1 billion, said three people familiar with the matter.

Quikr plans to raise the fresh funds from both existing and new investors, said the people mentioned above, requesting anonymity. Mint could not immediately identify the potential new investors.

“Quikr is trying to raise the round at the $1 billion valuation. Till one year ago, they were in bad shape and burning a lot. But they’ve worked a lot towards becoming unit economics positive (an indicator of a start-up’s ability to generate profits in future) and now they’re confident that the business is in good enough shape to maintain the valuation," said one of the three people mentioned above.

“At the moment we are very focused on growth and doubling in size again this year. We don’t need additional capital to reach this goal or to get to cross-company profitability, and hence are not looking to raise additional funds at this point," said a Quikr spokesperson in an e-mail.

Quikr’s faith in its fund-raising strategy stems from a wider boom in funding in the Indian start-up ecosystem. Of late, several mid- to late-stage start-ups have been raising multiple rounds of capital in rapid succession at increasingly higher valuations. Mint reported on 6 August that investors have already struck nearly two dozen deals of $100 million or more this year, compared with 22 last year, while at least a dozen more such deals, including mega funding rounds at Oyo, Byju’s, Swiggy and Zomato, ShareChat, BigBasket and others, are in the works.

If Quikr manages to raise funds sustaining its $1-billion valuation, it would mark a turning point for the company, which at one stage sought to become India’s Craigslist, a popular online classifieds site in the US.

However, the company faced tough competition from Olx, owned by South Africa’s media and e-commerce company Naspers. Quikr sought to grow by buying companies and creating a diverse range of businesses. It spent hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire more than a dozen firms, the largest of which was real estate portal CommonFloor for an estimated $120 million in January 2016.

In an interview last year, founder and chief executive Pranay Chulet said Quikr generates half of its revenue from the companies it has acquired.

However, the acquisition spree has not worked out as well as Quikr expected.

Like many other online businesses, the company has struggled to translate traffic on its platform into revenue and, in the past year, Quikr focused on cutting costs and on expanding those businesses that are losing less money.

Its plans received a helping hand from one of its key investors, AB Kinnevik of Sweden, which holds a 17% stake in Quikr. The investor has disclosed that the fair value of its holding is marked at about $178 million for the period ending 30 June 2018, according to its latest interim report—implying that Quikr’s current valuation stands at about $1.03 billion. That valuation also indicates that Kinnevik has marked up its holding in Quikr by as much as 16% since December 2017, after the Swedish firm slashed Quikr’s valuation by 12% last year, valuing it at $935 million at the time.

Quikr has so far raised more than $400 million from investors such as Matrix Partners India, Warburg Pincus, Tiger Global, Norwest Venture Partners and Omidyar Networks. It last raised $150 million in a Series H round in April 2015 from Kinnevik, Tiger Global and Steadview Capital, in a round that valued the firm at nearly $1 billion.

According to the latest available regulatory filings, Quikr posted total revenue of Rs63.8 crore in FY17, a 55% jump from the previous year.

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