Ad-for-equity investor Bennett Coleman picks stake in hybrid e-com startup edabba

Mumbai-based Omnipresent Retail Pvt Ltd, owner of online shopping portal, has secured $7 million from ad-for-equity media investor Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL), the parent of publications such as The Times of India.

“We plan to have 5,000-plus trust points (the kiosks managed by the firm) across India with a sales turnover of over Rs 500 crore in next three years,” said Manoj Kumar, co-founder of edabba.

The company had previously raised $600,000 in funding from Singapore-based CCube Angels in September last year. Prior to that, it had bagged $1 million from a consortium of investors, including Four-S Services’ founder and CEO Satyendra Shukla in April 2012.

edabba was founded in October 2011 by Kumar (CEO) and Saurabh B Chadha (COO). An IIM Lucknow alumnus, Kumar earlier worked with Future Group, Spencer’s Retail and BPL. His partner Chadha holds a PG Diploma in Rural Management from Institute of Rural Management Anand and previously worked with Future Group, Spencer’s Retail and Trent Ltd.

The e-commerce venture aims to bring e-tailing to the untapped market of B and C class cities with the help of a hybrid model of ‘brick & click’. For the same, in addition to the e-com site, the company has partnered with various offline retailers across segments and is using their infrastructure and reach to sell products and services. It offers products like jewellery, sunglasses, silver and gold coins, personal care and beauty products, phones, cameras, computers, music and movies.

While the e-com part functions similar to any other site, in the offline world, customers can go to trust points, and the attendant there will help them look for products they want and place order on their behalf. The customer makes the payment to the attendant and the product is shipped to either the buyer’s address or to that particular shop.

The firm claims that currently it has a network of 700 plus trust points spread across 175 plus cities/towns in India, through which it sells about 250 brands that includes its private label diamond jewellery brand Saashi.

The firm recently launched ‘edabba unplugged’. These are mobile franchisees that enable consumers to purchase items and transact online through tablets carried by entrepreneurs, students and housewives.

“We want to ensure that all the stakeholders including the consumers, local neighbourhood retailers and the vendors have a win-win in this model. The idea is to ensure that everyone benefits from the e-commerce boom in India, given the various hurdles e-commerce poses to the average person. We believe the hybrid model is best suited to India,” said Chadha.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

Leave Your Comment(s)