Aditya Birla assembles top team for B2B e-commerce

Aditya Birla assembles top team for B2B e-commerce
Aditya Birla assembles top team for B2B e-commerce


The platform will utilise Grasim's large B2B ecosystem to address challenges in the existing supply chain, and will offer procurement, delivery, quality assurance and competitive pricing for products. Sandeep Komaravelly will be CEO, while Abhilash Pillai will be COO.

MUMBAI : The Aditya Birla Group has engaged a team of senior executives to spearhead its digital platform venture for building material. The business-to business (B2B) venture will be overseen by the conglomerate’s flagship company, Grasim Industries.

The firm aims to launch the B2B e-commerce platform in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh in the second quarter of 2024. People in the know revealed that the team was meticulously recruited over the past few quarters, with a significant number of high-level appointments consisting of experienced individuals from e-commerce startups.

Sandeep Komaravelly will assume the position of chief executive officer to spearhead the B2B platform, while Abhilash Pillai has been appointed as the chief operating officer of the industrial products and service marketplace.

Beyond these pivotal roles, the Aditya Birla Group secured the services of many other professionals. Vivek Gupta, formerly with instant delivery startup Blinkit, joined as the chief technology officer. Shathanand Rao, a former PharmEasy executive, assumed the role of chief product officer. Shatrughan Singh, previously from Tata Realty and Infrastructure, will be the new chief commercial officer.

Komaravelly moved to the new venture after stepping down as executive vice president, head of revenue and growth at Disney+ Hotstar. He also served as the head for growth for international markets at Shopify. Komaravelly joined the team in February. Abhilash Pillai’s prior engagement was with L&T SuFin.

“The top level hirings are in line with the group’s focus on business on digital platforms. The team will expand and more recruitments will take place from startups and other digital platforms," an industry executive aware of the development said, seeking anonymity.

Gupta’s social media profile showed that he joined last November and prior to ABG, worked as senior vice president, head engineering and product, supply chain tech at Blinkit. Rao was earlier the VP product management for PharmEasy and prior to that the product leader for payments at PhonePe. Chief commercial officer Singh joined ABG this April and in his previous stint, was vice president, head of contracts at Tata Realty.

By leveraging the data and network of its large B2B ecosystem, Grasim will address challenges within the existing supply chain. By utilizing Grasim’s B2B platform, the Aditya Birla Group will be able to add new high-growth businesses with clear adjacencies to its core businesses, subsidiaries, and associate companies. The group led by chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla has interests in cement, aluminium, chemicals, viscose fibre and fashion retailing.

The platform seeks to integrate procurement (cement to credit solutions), on-time and guaranteed delivery, quality assurance on products, and competitive pricing. Products include cement, steel, door, window, kitchen appliances, electricals, paints, sanitaryware, plumbing and tiles.

In July 2022, Grasim had announced investment of 2,000 crore over five years in B2B e-commerce. This included a dedicated B2B e-commerce platform focused on building materials. It aims to cater to the needs of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and become an online marketplace for other products such as paints.

Grasim had earlier said that the overall building materials procurement segment in India has clocked a compound annual growth rate of 14% in the last three years, and is estimated at $100 billion with just 2% digital penetration. “The building materials segment presents a huge scalable business opportunity with a proven path to profitability. With this foray, Grasim will be able to leverage the large B2B ecosystem within Aditya Birla Group," Birla had said in a statement.

Aditya Birla Group has worked on a multi-pronged plan to launch a host of digital platforms such as TMRW which will host fashion and lifestyle brands. The building material B2B venture may strengthen revenues for Grasim, the key revenue generator for the business house.

Industry insiders said paints will be an integral offering and will put Grasim in direct competition with established firms including Asian Paints, Kensai Nerolac Paints, JSW Paints, Berger Paints, and Akzo Nobel.

Analysts have noted that the new business is part of Grasim’s increasing capex. “While investors are focused on the paints and B2B spending, we would highlight that Grasim has also a large spending program for its volume growth story and chemicals businesses," said brokerage firm JP Morgan in a report in March. Grasim estimates to spend 10,000 crore by FY25 on their projects, instead of the earlier guidance of 5,000 crore by FY24 to fuel the expansion plans.

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