Mumbai, March 12: Quikr, a Mumbaibased online and mobile classifieds player, has raised $90 million (Rs 548 crore) from a clutch of marquee investors led by a Swedish private equity fund, Kinnevik. The development signals the robust growth in India’s consumer internet businesses which have seen a steady flow of investor funds on the back of a fast growing internet population. The other big investors which have pumped in funds in Quikr are PE major Warburg Pincus, Norwest Venture Partners, Ebay and Nokia Growth Partners.
Last month, Ebay Inc led a $134 million investment in online marketplace Snapdeal, even as collectively domestic online retailers such as Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong raised more than $600 million in the past nine months.
The five-year old company, founded by Pranay Chulet, an IIT-Delhi and IIM-Calcutta alumnus has till date raised $150 million in funds, and competes with the likes of OLX, which is backed by the South African internet and media giant Naspers.
Quikr boasts of 30 million unique monthly users across 1,000 cities and towns with as many as 12 million listings through its mobile and online platforms and is being valued at about $250 million. Based on the concept of the American classifieds giant Craigslist, Quikr registers listings for categories like jobs, automobiles, used goods, services and electronics.
Chulet, told TOI that the investment will be used to continue to build the business. “We should be able to cross 100 million unique users in about three to four years,” said Chulet, who grew up in a small mining town in Rajasthan before going to IIT-Delhi and IIM-Calcutta. He later worked in New York for ten years as a consultant before coming back to India in 2008 to start Quikr a year later.
Quikr which provides a platform to consumers to help them buy, sell, rent various products and services has other investors including Matrix Partners India and Omidyar Network. Quikr was formerly known as Kijiji-.in an Ebay-owned platform .
This $90 million round which is by far the biggest for Quikr has got on board a new investor in Kinnevik, a $10 billion Stockholm-based fund, which has ploughed in more than a billion dollars in Rocket Internet, the world famous German incubator of internet companies including Jabong and FabFurnish in India. However, Quikr will be the publicly listed fund’s first direct investment here. The PE firm specialises in online investments mainly focused around e-commerce and marketplaces. Warburg Pincus, the New York-based PE biggie, which is also a part of this round of funding, first invested first in Quikr in 2012.
“We are excited about Kinnevik joining us in our journey as we build the business from here on. We liked their experience in the classifieds space,” Chulet said. A decade long economic buoyancy and changing lifestyles of a large demography makes India one of the last potentially big frontiers for global investors both financial and strategic ones like Ebay. Mumbai-based investment bank Avendus Capital was the lead advisor to Quikr on the deal along with Investec.