Quikr, a startup that raised ₹3,000 crores in funding

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It is quite an ordeal to give an advertisement in the classified section of the newspaper when the probability of it going unnoticed is more than the probability of getting prospective buyers. With the advent of the Internet, this too has been unbelievably simplified. Quikr is one such platform which allows a user to publish free classified ads on an online marketplace that helps users sell, buy, rent or discover anything across India.

Community members can visit their site to find an apartment to live in, sell their old car, bike, music system, laptop or furniture, promote their small business, find a tuition class or get a break as a model or actor, join a salsa class, get an audience for a local event, buy any item that they might want or have to offer and make new friends while doing all of the above.

Headquartered in Bangalore, Quikr has listings in over 900 cities in India in categories such as mobile phones, household goods, cars, real estate, jobs, services and education. The startup goes by the tagline, “No fikar, Bech Quikr,” while their unique selling proposition is brand awareness and visibility. The parent company of Quikr is Quikr Maurities Holding Pvt. Ltd. Quikr targets the more price sensitive sections of the society with a low/middle ranged income. It has been positioned as the one-stop store to buy and sell almost everything.

The Quikr platform operates across desktop, laptop and mobile phones, and allows consumers as well as small businesses to sell, buy, rent and find things across its multiple categories with great ease. Quikr offers a wide range of services such as QuikrC2C for goods, QuikrCars for cars and bikes, QuikrHomes for residential and commercial properties, QuikrJobs for blue/grey collar jobs and QuikrServices for daily and long-term services. The company goes by the motto: ‘Asaan hai badalna,’ which means ‘Change is easy.’ This, they believe, captures their principal of flexibility perfectly which has been a key factor in their success.

Quikr was founded by Pranay Chulet and Jiby Thomas in the year 2008. Pranay Chulet is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Quikr since January 2008. Pranay grew up in India but right after his education, he moved to New York to join Mitchell Madison Group, a strategy consulting firm that advised clients in media and finance industries.

Two years into the country, Pranay launched a startup which he later merged with Walker Digital, Priceline’s incubator. The startup focused on helping small businesses convert online leads into paying customers. Pranay’s work at Walker Digital earned him a US patent in the area of matchmaking between buyers and sellers.

Subsequently, Pranay helped large US media companies such as movie studios and publishers evaluate and launch new digital businesses as a Principal at Booz & Co. in New York. Pranay is an avid follower of films. Pranay likes them enough that he learnt filmmaking at the New York Film Academy and made a new-format feature film that also turns into a game. The film encouraged the audience to be a part of the narrative and the story of the film unfolded based on their actions.

The film was made with the bet that someday internet would dominate video distribution, sending video to intelligent devices, and that will give rise to new entertainment formats that cut across films and games. While making the film in New York, Pranay used Craigslist to audition almost 100 actors, recruit 50+ cast/crew members, hire software developers, and even rent his apartment in New York while he sat in India editing its final cut. That is when he realized that nothing like Craigslist existed in India which led to the birth of Quikr.

Pranay graduated from IIM Calcutta with a Gold Medal in 1996 and earned a B.Tech. from IIT Delhi prior to that. Quikr was initially launched as Kijiji India in November 2005. Kijiji.in was owned by Kijiji International, an eBay Inc subsidiary. In 2008, Mumbai based venture capitalist, Matrix Partners India, invested in the Kijiji India, following which Kijiji India was hived off Kijiji International and restructured as an independent company and re-branded as “Quikr”, which was jointly owned by Matrix Partners and eBay Inc.

A large majority of Indian buyers did not believe in online shopping at that time. So, they started promoting the portal through Google ads and other ways of online advertising. By 2011, around 9 million visitors posted their ads on Quikr, and then they started advertising through TV and mass media. Scarecrow Communications, the advertising company, helped them achieve their marketing goals.

Within a couple of months, the number of Quikr users grew to 11 million, a large majority of whom consisted of regular users. Recently, they launched their missed call program, in which users can give them missed call, after which Quikr call centre executives call them back and help them to find the product or service they are looking for.

In January 2016, Quikr announced it had acquired the real estate portal commonfloor.com in a $200 million all-stock deal and will be merging it with its real estate division QuikrHomes. Quikr has raised a total of $437.9 million in funding over 11 funding rounds. Their major funding rounds are the following:

On the 11th of March, 2014, the company raised $90 million in a Series F funding round. The lead investors were Kinnevik AB. 6 months later on 17th September 2014, Tiger Global Management invested $60 million in the company in a Series G funding round. Kinnevik AB and Tiger Global Management together invested $150 million in the company on the 7th of April in 2015 in a Series H funding round.

2 months later, Kinnevik AB invested another $60 million. Brand Capital invested $20 million in a Debt Financing round on 18th August 2016. Their latest funding was raised on Dec 7 2018, from a Debt Financing round.

Quikr has a whopping 4+ million listings with replies amounting to 150 million, which highlights its success. Operating from nearly 1000 Indian cities, it has over 30 million unique users every month. Its business model reduces the heavy investments borne by various e-commerce platforms in back-end operations. Features like MSP (Maximum Selling Price) or its missed call service programme helps in customer retention by providing a convenient platform for its users.

It is one of the first Indian e-commerce firms to have a billion dollar valuation. Enjoys excellent market presence due to advertisements through TVCs, print and online media. The app has been downloaded more than 10 million times on the Play Store. According to Owler, their estimated annual revenue is $12.5 million and they have 3500 employees working under them.

Quikr was selected by AlwaysOn as an AlwaysOn Global 250 Winner in 2010. Inclusion in the AlwaysOn Global 250 signifies leadership amongst its peers and game-changing approaches and technologies that are likely to disrupt existing markets and entrenched players in the Global Silicon Valley.

Quikr was specially selected by the AlwaysOn editorial team and industry experts spanning the globe based on a set of five criteria: innovation, market potential, commercialization, stakeholder value, and media buzz. The AlwaysOn Global 250 winners were selected from among thousands of domestic and international technology companies nominated by investors, bankers, journalists, and industry insiders.

Quikr also received the Young Turks award and the WAT Award in 2010. Quikr’s major competitors include OLX, eBay, Snapdeal, Amazon and Flipkart. The OLX marketplace is a platform for buying and selling services and goods such as electronics, fashion items, furniture, household goods, cars and bikes. In 2014, the platform had 11 billion page views, 200 million monthly active users, 25 million listings, and 8.5 million transactions per month.

eBay is an American multinational e-commerce corporation based in San Jose, California that facilitates consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer sales through its website. eBay is a multibillion-dollar business with operations in about 30 countries, as of 2011. The company manages eBay.com, an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a wide variety of goods and services worldwide.

Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal and multinational e-commerce technology companies which do not facilitate reselling but qualify as competition for Quikr because of their business models.

Classified ads have become more conspicuous with the entry of Quikr in the market. Not only have classifieds become more noticeable but also cheap because of Quikr. It is now easier than ever before to buy, sell and rent commodities or houses. Do you think startups like Quikr and Olx will replace newspapers altogether in terms of classified ads? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Tell us in the comments.

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Vasundhara Dhadiwal
I'm quite gauche, tbh. I despise texting abbreviations and Internet acronyms and the fact that I find myself guilty of using them every once in a while. I study mass communication and photography gets me by. I am as old school as they come. I devour books while a plate full of food is waiting to be eaten. Life is quite okay but I struggle with the in-betweens. I'm just a regular girl but I believe that I'm going to be a very big deal someday.

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