Bengaluru: Online classifieds business Quikr India Pvt. Ltd, one of the so-called unicorn start-ups valued at an estimated $1 billion, on Wednesday, said the company will facilitate payments and logistics for used goods listed on its website, a move which is likely to throw open additional revenue channels for the company at a time when slowdown in external funding is prompting start-ups to reduce cash burn and focus on profitability.
Under the new initiative, called Quikr Doorstep, Quikr will facilitate price negotiation, payment, pickup and delivery. The latest initiative, which is part of Quikr’s verticalization drive, will help the company grow beyond a listing platform to a full-fledged marketplace for used goods. The services will be currently available for all categories including mobile phones, electronics and appliances and household furniture.
Quikr had identified five key business segments—automobiles, real estate, jobs, services and customer-to-customer sales—to focus on in an attempt to explore new sources of revenue and fend off competition from other venture capital-backed businesses that have emerged in each of these categories.
“Quikr Doorstep addresses genuine consumer issues of trust, payment and logistics in consumer-to-consumer transactions in the country. It also directly puts us in the middle of the transaction loop. In a nutshell, Quikr Doorstep further strengthens our leadership in terms of size as well as monetization in consumer-to-consumer categories, which have been core to our business since the very beginning,” said co-founder and chief executive officer Pranay Chulet.
Quikr currently has revenues flowing in through third-party advertisements, lead generation for car dealers and real estate brokers and paid listings by sellers, which propels them to top search results on the platform.
While the online classifieds firm has amassed a huge user base—Quikr claims 30 million unique monthly visitors—monetization has been a concern as many consumers resorted to free listings. Besides, trust played an important factor in closing transactions on such portals, as consumers were wary of buying from strangers. However, the scenario is likely to change with Quikr now becoming a party to the transactions.
The new verticals are expected to fetch Quikr at least three times its present revenue, Chulet had said in an interview in September last year.
“For cars and homes, it will be more lead generation. In the services and jobs categories, we are attaching a fee to the success of the transaction. For cars and homes, it will be less (about) transactions going through Quikr. For jobs and services, some of the transactions will go through Quikr and on the selling and buying of goods, all transactions will go through Quikr,” Chulet had said.
Quikr reported sales of Rs.24.78 crore for the year ended 31 March 2015, according to documents filed with the Registrar of Companies. The revenue is significantly small as compared to its $1-billion valuation. The company has so far raised about $346 million from Investment AB Kinnevik, Tiger Global, Steadview Capital Management, Matrix Partners India and others since 2008, has been particularly active in real estate.
In December last year, Quikr acquired online realty portal Commonfloor (Maxheap Technologies Pvt. Ltd) for an estimated $120 million. In an attempt to enhance its offering in the real estate sector, the company acquired Indian Realty Exchange (123 Startup Ventures Pvt. Ltd), a real estate agent aggregator, and RealtyCompass, a real estate analytics start-up, besides making a strategic investment in A.N. Virtual World Tech Ltd, a company which provides 360-degree street views.
As a classifieds portal, Quikr has just one rival: Olx, which is backed by Naspers Ltd, a South African mass media company. However, each of the verticals the company plans to focus, has seen the emergence of a number of well-funded start-ups.
For instance, in the automobile segment, Quikr competes with the likes of CarDekho and CarTrade while the real estate segment has businesses such as Housing, Magicbricks and PropTiger among others. Similarly, the hyperlocal services segment has deep-pocketed start-ups such as Housejoy and UrbanClap while in the jobs category, the likes of Babajob and AasaanJobs compete with Quikr.