Chaudhary, Shravan Bhat, Debojyoti Ghosh, Sohini Mitter, Forbes
17 March 2015
Funds raised: Rs 300 crore
What does it do: BookMyShow is Indias biggest online
movies and events ticketing company and occupies 85 to 90 percent
of the online entertainment-ticketing market; 70 percent of its
sales comes from movie tickets and the remaining from sports,
plays and live events. At present, sports accounts for almost
20 percent of its revenues and is seen as a future growth area.
BookMyShow reaches about 800 to 900 cinemas in 200 cities and
towns. About 60 percent of its transactions take place via its
mobile app which, say experts, is the most successful mobile ecommerce
app in the country.
Its USP: Discovery of entertainment events-based information,
curation and smooth fulfilment makes BookMyShow different from
others [like Kyazoonga, Ticketgenie]. Its focus on customer experience,
ability to offer a consistently good booking experience, and its
knowledge of changing consumption patterns hold the key to its
dominance, says Prashanth Prakash, partner, Accel Partners,
an investor in the company.
How niche BookMyShows focus has always been ticket bookings,
but it now intends to go deeper into content around movies and
events. It has started offering reviews and consumers are lapping
it up. It will soon integrate social interactions on events in
its services. We have expanded to tier II and tier III cities
too and want to go even more local. Payments continue to be a
problem and we would like to focus on that. It is the next thing
to solve, says Ashish Hemrajani, founder-CEO, BookMyShow.
Why it will survive: One of the key realisations for BookMyShow
is the role that content can play. It is therefore working at
beefing up its content offerings. The recent acquisition
of Bangalore-based social media analytics firm Eventifier is a
step in that direction. BookMyShow is well-poised to becoming
a billion-dollar company. I dont see too many roadblocks,
Funds raised $575 million (committed)
What does it do: Paytm is a unique web-cum-mobile platform.
It has taken a big leap towards mobile commerce, trying to cash
in on the wide mobile handset penetration, and is today Indias
largest mobile commerce company. It started by offering mobile
recharge and utility bill payments, and now offers a full marketplace
to consumers on its mobile apps. It has over 20 million registered
users and has in a short span of time scaled to more than 15 million
orders per month.
Its USP: It is a mobile marketplace in the makingone that
can compete with ecommerce sites such as Flipkart, Amazon and
Snapdeal. It has got commitments from deep-pocketed investors,
including Alibaba (Chinas ecommerce giant) and SAIF Partners,
among others. The funds will be used to expand Paytm services
with a view to dominating the online payment business that is
expected to grow rapidly in the next few years in India.
How niche Paytm is already a leading firm in the electronic payment
space. The long-term goal of Paytm is to be a financial services
company for Indias unbanked population (41 percent of the
total). The company intends to be the first gateway for paying
bills and transferring money.
Why it will survive: A unique, well-accepted model and deep pockets
will certainly help Paytm grow into a larger firm. Payments
are natural monopoly... The world has three large credit card
companies; there would not be more than two large firms out of
India in this space, says Mukul Gulati, India head, Zephyr
Peacock, an India-focussed private equity firm.
Funds raised: Rs 164 crore
What does it do: Pepperfry is Indias largest online
furniture, home and living marketplace with over a million customers.
It offers more than 45,000 products across categories like furniture,
home décor, lamps and lighting, bath and body, kitchen,
home appliances, housekeeping and pet supplies. Started in 2012,
its managed marketplace model allows small and medium businesses
to sell their merchandise to millions beyond their geographical
reach. It has over 250,000 registered customers and has grown
350 percent year-on-year.
Its USP: Reach and range. It delivers to customers doorsteps
in 150 cities. It plans to have 380 trucks by year-end, becoming
one of the largest logistics companies. Its overall catalogue
size is 80,000 listings (of which 10 percent are furniture), which
is eight times the size of the next player, claims Ashish Shah,
COO and co-founder of Pepperfry.
How niche It will remain loyal to its niche of furniture and
furnishings, though it plans to go deeper into these segments
by increasing product categories. About 55 percent of its business
comes from repeat customers.
Why it will survive: Pepperfrys current USP is reach, says
Srikanth Iyer, founder and chief executive, Homelane. They
are in more locations than any competitor. They are far quicker
than others in terms of delivery to remote locations. Pepperfry
also stands out because it is the only one that is trying a mix
of marketing: Not only online but also brick-and-mortar in airports
etc. They are trying to build a brand which has the touch-and-feel
Funds raised: Rs 200 crore
What does it do: Indias largest online optical store,
Lenskart, makes, prescribes, delivers and services eyewear to
over 1,000 customers per day. Nearly half of its customers live
in tier III and IV towns, such as Coimbatore, Puri, Mangalore
and Agartala. Though Lenskart sells high-end products like Ray-Ban,
most of its revenues come from mass-focussed in-house brands like
Vincent Chase and John Jacobs. It has also rolled out 60 physical
stores, mostly in tier III towns, to conduct free eye check-ups.
Lenskart does about 500 home check-ups every day.
Its USP: Over a third of Indians need corrective eyewear, and
only a quarter of them have access to it. Thats the problem
Lenskart is seeking to solve. Also, it has a first-mover advantage
and is being backed by deep-pocketed investors. Physical stores
will also add to its customer base and visibility.
How niche Lenskart has decided to focus on eyesight solutions
in India. It will not start selling shoes, says founder
Peyush Bansal. It already sells contact lenses, and ships products
to countries like Australia, the UK and the US.
Why it will survive: Lenskart is trying to bring variety, says
Pragya Singh, associate vice president, retail, consumer products
and e-tailing at Technopak. They have identified a space
dominated by large regional chains with few national players.
Its about value and convenience. Eyewear needs a high service
element. Its a working model. What drives traction is multiple
pairsit becomes a fashion accessory. Its easy to sell
sunglasses but prescription eyewear has many other elements. They
have a first-mover advantage too, she says.
Funds raised: $44 million, one more undisclosed round
What does it do: CarTrade is Indias leading auto classifieds
platform with a focus on used cars. It offers vehicle listings,
price information and car certification. For those interested
in buying new cars, there are reviews, on-road prices, comparisons
with other models and latest news from the industry. It also operates
a B2B auction portal called CarTradeExchange, which is used by
banks and other institutions to sell cars in bulk. We have
about 1.45 lakh listings on the site, four times that of any competition,
says promoter-CEO Vinay Sanghi.
Its USP: It is the first company to offer consumer certification
and repair estimates. There are 110 engineers in CarTrade who
are responsible for a 125-point check about the car. They also
produce the certification report. We were the first ones
to enable inter-city buying of cars. We got down to collating
and bringing dealers from across the country on the platform,
How niche CarTrade will remain focussed on cars. Its main objective
is to help consumers buy and sell cars using the internet. Its
B2B exchange became the largest car auctioning site in the country.
Why it will survive: The automobile classifieds segment is being
identified as the next billion-dollar opportunity, says Alok Mittal,
ex-MD at Canaan Partners, who led the investments in CarTrade.
If you take any geography in the world which has more internet
users than India, for instance the UK, the US and China, there
are multimillion dollar companies in the used car space,
Funds raised: Over Rs 1,300 crore
What does it do: Olacabs.com is a marketplace for all kinds
of cabs and cars which can be booked on its online platform as
well as through mobile apps. The Bangalore-based company has a
fleet of over 1 lakh vehicles (an aggregated model as opposed
to ownership) operating across 67 cities. Ola says that it is
Indias largest aggregator of cabs, taxis and autos.
Its USP: It commands a market share of over 60 percent in the
fleet cab-services industry in India. Along with the mobile
app, the cashless payment options [through Ola Money] and mobile
technology for driver-partners, we have also localised offerings
through a 24x7 call centre, cash payments and dedicated driver
support systems, says Bhavish Aggarwal, founder, Ola.
How niche At present, Ola plans to operate in the transportation
space and expand its services across multiple categories (mini,
sedan, prime and pink for women) within the cabs. Our vision
is to revolutionise personal transportation in India by making
transportation available as a service on-demand without having
the need to own a car, says Aggarwal. Its current network
has about 35,000 auto rickshaws as well.
Why it will survive: The main differentiator for Ola is the quality
of the entrepreneur, reckons Avnish Bajaj, managing director,
Matrix Partners India. Matrix is a series B investor in Ola. Bhavishs
desire to win is par excellence and it shows in the aggression
in execution. He is also the rare breed who has learnt quickly
on the job and added strategic clarity to complement the executional
excellence, which is a potent combination, says Bajaj.
Funds raised: $121 million
What does it do: Housing.com is a real estate portal which
allows users to search for apartments for rent or for sale through
virtual tours of each room, using photographs and authenticated
details. Late last year, Tata Value Homes tied up with it to sell
apartments online, putting up an inventory of 150 homes across
four projects in Pune, Bangalore and Chennai on the site. Housing.com
sold 115 homes worth Rs 60 crore in five days, and has now tied
up with Tata Housing to sell properties in eight projects.
Its USP: Giving clients a near-perfect sense of properties and
delivering realistic leads to brokers. Its proprietary 3D rendering
platform, Slice View, helps customers check the building plans
and floor plan for each home through a 3D model of the structure.
It also uses data analytics to weed out listings that may have
How niche Housing.com will always be in the real estate space,
but within that, it is mulling over a precise business model for
ecommerce, allowing end-to-end buying and selling of properties.
Right now, it is into rentals, resale, land and new projects.
It is about to launch serviced apartments, which would give it
presence across all housing categories.
Why it will survive: If youre only depending on
the integrity of online listings, platforms are open to misuse.
You need to have verification and validation and thats what
Housing.com has done well. Realistic photographs are a huge plus,
says Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of Third Eyesight, a consulting
Funds raised: $50 million
What does it do CaratLane is an online jewellery retailer
with a network of over 4,000 global vendors. It offers the largest
collection of diamonds and diamond jewellery in the country. It
has over 100,000 stock keeping units (SKUs) for solitaires. CaratLane
sells only diamonds certified by international laboratories like
GIA, AGS, IGI and HRD. Every gold product of CaratLane is hallmarked.
While CaratLane offers products in over 150 cities and towns in
the country, it also offers home trials for up to five jewellery
items across more than 20 cities.
Its USP: CaratLane, with its largest collection of diamonds,
solitaires, unique and updated designs, has already established
a name for itself among customers. Free trials called try
at home and no questions asked returns, along with authenticity
guarantee certificates have further added to the comfort of customers.
How niche It will always be jewellery for CaratLane, which was
originally into solitaires and later expanded into diamond jewellery
and everyday wear. Now, it has launched evening wear. Its
a function of us designing and moving up the ladder, says
Mithun Sacheti, founder.
Why it will survive: People might still buy traditional jewellery
in-store but for gifting, everyday wear, online could occupy a
nice niche, says Pragya Singh of Technopak. CaratLane has
bridged the gap between online/offline through try-at-home.
The first few times you have to give customers this feeling youre
choosing the right product. They have also successfully established
a niche, she says.
Funds Raised: $60 million
What does it do: BigBasket.com is the first comprehensive
online grocery store operating in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad
and Pune. It has over 10,000 distinct SKUs and more than 1,000
brands in its list. No other e-grocery has managed to raise money
in a business where margins are wafer-thin. Fruits and vegetables
are procured only on order, which reduces loss of stock by 3 to
Its USP: It has the first-mover advantage as well as a pan-India
presence. BigBasket has access to large capital, its founders
have domain expertise in grocery management, and its emphasis
on the use of technology and analytics distinguishes it from others.
It also has the ability to supply and source products directly
from farms and mills. Therefore, its perishable products have
no warehousing, no storage and no preservatives.
How niche It will remain loyal to grocery etailing, but within
that, it will add as many products as possible to cater to all
Why it will survive: Grocery shopping is a big pain in India,
with heavy traffic, lack of parking space, long queues at payment
counters and difficulty in carrying the products home, says K
Ganesh, promoter, BigBasket. We have grocery and tech domain
expertise and the ability to scale and have a presence at multiple
locations at low margins.
Funds raised: $37 million
What does it do: Policybazaar, co-founded by Yashish Dahiya
helps consumers compare products like term insurance, health insurance,
motor insurance and investment plans. It provides a neutral comparison
from all major insurance companies. Its online systems and integration
help consumers analyse products and provide them a hassle-free
gateway to buy online.
Its USP Unlike its competitors who tend to highlight the selling
propositions of a plan, but hide its fine print, Policybazaar
first understands the needs of the consumer and then suggests
options to choose from. It is the single largest insurance distributor
(online or offline) in India outside of banks, with over 30 million
unique visitors each year.
How niche In early 2014, it launched a new platform called Paisabazaar.com
to offer financial advisory services. Under this, it provides
comparisons of non-insurance products, including different types
of loans and credit cards. It will be further expanding its product
offering by introducing financial instruments such as mutual funds
and corporate deposits this year.
Why it will survive: The insurance sector is expected to get
a major boost from the Reserve Bank of India as the central bank
is looking at ways of financial inclusion, says Harminder Sahni,
founder and managing director, Wazir Advisors, a consulting firm.
Insurance retail has a lifetime value; the customers are
acquired for a lifetime. It has far more stickiness than brands,
HOW THEY WERE CHOSEN
Forbes India spoke to a cross-section of experts in the ecommerce
space, including investment bankers, private equity investors,
venture capital firms and angel investors, besides analysts from
various industry verticals to arrive at this list. The companies
were selected on the basis of having a well-accepted product or
service, funds already raised and the potential for future growth.
(Published in Forbes
India issue dated 20 March 2015.)