Sunday, May 26

Quikr lost Rs 9 for every Re 1 earned last fiscal

One of the top two online classifieds sites in the country, Quikr saw its losses more that double last fiscal as it sought to stretch its lead over Naspers’ controlled OLX with turbo charged marketing.

Quikr, that counts Warburg Pincus, eBay, Kinnevik, Tiger Global, Falcon Edge, Steadview, Matrix Partners, Omidyar and Norwest Venture Partners among its investors, saw its revenue from operations grow 23.7 per cent to touch Rs 24.78 crore. The firm, however, saw total income rise to Rs 52.5 crore, thanks to ‘other income’.

At the same time its EBITDA (or operating) loss and net loss more than doubled from around Rs 200 crore to Rs 440 crore. This means for every Re 1 worth of income it generated it lost some Rs 9. Indeed, if one factors out its non-operating revenues, it lost Rs 18 for every Re 1 in revenue. However, the big factor was advertising promotion expenses which swelled from Rs 159 crore to Rs 382.3 crore. Several other operating expenses also rose as the firm strategised to create separate online properties as standalone ‘verticals’.

It has already launched QuikrHomes, QuikrCars and QuikrServices as part of this initiative. It is also in the final lap of a proposed deal to buy and merge CommonFloor with itself, a move that would boost its new QuikrHomes vertical.

Quikr’s real estate vertical competes with MagicBricks, 99acres and PropTiger among others. News Corp, the owner of this news website, holds stake in PropTiger.

Interestingly, Quikr had arguably become a ‘unicorn’, a term for startups that have attained a valuation of $1 billion or more, early this year. However, with the value of the US dollar strengthening, its valuation had fallen short of the tipping point.

In a secondary transaction in the middle of the year, where Swedish investor Investment AB Kinnevik raised its holding in Quikr by acquiring stake held by a few early investors, Quikr was valued at $900 million.

Founded in 2008 by Pranay Chulet and Jiby Thomas (who quit the firm later), Quikr was originally started as Kijiji India. It had initially raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding from Matrix Partners India in the same year. In 2009, it bagged Rs 20 crore from Omidyar Network and Matrix Partners in its Series B round. A year later, it raised Rs 27 crore in Series C round in which eBay and Norwest Venture Partners along with existing investors participated.

Nokia Growth Partners, Norwest and eBay put in around $8 million in the firm in its Series D round in 2011 and the firm hit the big league as marquee PE firm Warburg Pincus led a $32-million investment round in the company.

Quikr went on to raise $150 million across two rounds last year followed by another $150 million early this year as it added Kinnevik, Steadview Capital and Tiger Global as new investors.