The Economic Times of India reported today that family-run Swedish investment firm Kinnevik (valued at $10.6 billion) is leading a group of investors funding Quikr, India’s largest Web and mobile classifieds service.
Quikr has raised nearly $150 million in seven rounds, making it one of India’s most-funded consumer Internet companies. Last week’s funding round values Quikr at over $250 million.
“The investment by Kinnevik is the latest transaction in the country’s booming consumer Internet space as investors — strategic and private equity — back Indian e-commerce ventures that are combining strong top line growth with profitability and exit strategies.”
Quikr’s co-founders Pranay Chulet and Jiby Thomas left eBay in 2008 to form Quikr, which was previously an eBay subsidiary called Kijiji India. Quikr has 32 million unique visitors every month, according to Chulet, with an online presence in almost 1,000 cities across the country and listings in 50 sub-sectors such as real estate, cars, jobs, household goods and education.
The company’s three revenue streams — premium listings, lead generation and advertising — contribute to an estimated revenue run-rate of $50 million. Chulet said the company’s focus over the past two years has been on monetization.
Along with their growing economies, the tech industries of China and India are expected to grow 7.7 percent each in 2014, with projected growth in the US at 6.3 percent. Telstra Global says some of the reasons for the rise in India’s tech industry include the following:
- The technology sector in India has a major impact on the Indian economy. The industry has grown from $4 billion in 1998 to more than $80 billion in 2011, employing directly and indirectly more than 10 million people. Riding the wave of services outsourcing, domestic and international companies have leveraged India’s value proposition to enhance their competitiveness in the global market.
- Key government initiatives such as setting up of tax free zones, Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) and Special Economic Zones (SEZ), have given strong impetus to the export of IT services.
- The technology sector in India received $6.197 billion through FDI in 2011, an increase of 46 percent from the previous year. The investment has created 153 projects with an estimated 41,607 jobs in the industry.
- Five principle sectors in the IT industry, namely online businesses, IT services, IT-enabled services and software and hardware merchandise received most of the investments. Compelling cost advantage coupled with a skilled workforce has driven this spectacular growth.
Quikr investors also participating in the funding include eBay, Omidyar Network, venture capital firms Matrix Partners India, Nokia Growth Partners and Norwest Venture Partners.