Bigshoebazaar India Pvt. Ltd. (BSB), an online wholesaler and retailer of shoes, apparel, bags, accessories and gift items, has raised Rs 40 crore from Nexus Venture Partners and Catamaran Ventures, a private investment firm backed by Infosys Technologies chairman and chief mentor NR Narayana Murthy, Manmohan Agarwal, CEO of BigshoeBazaar told VCCircle.
This is the second round of funding for the company. The latest round of capital infusion comes close on the heels of a $2.2 million that the company raised from Nexus Venture Partners late last year.
Bigshoebazaar operates a hybrid online wholesale cash and carry business as well as an e-commerce website, Yebhi.com(earlier bigshoebazaar.com).
Bigshoebazaar was founded by a group of entrepreneurs including Nitin Agarwal (founder of Brainvisa Technologies, a Sequoia-backed firm that was acquired by Indecomm), former Vishal Retail Corporate Affairs CEO Manmohan Agarwal, Danish Ahmed and Rajul Jain( ex-Vice President of Indiabulls Real Estate).
The cash and carry venture supplies shoes, apparel and accessories from whole-sellers to smaller retailers through an online catalogue. The company stocks products from more than 90 brands including Lotto, Woodland, Puma, Liberty and Bata. It is supported by a sales team to transact offline with retailers and runs a parallel franchisee business, through which it has 13 franchisee stores in alliance with small retailers under its own brand name.
The online retail property bigshoebazaar.com (now rebranded as Yebhi.com) was launched in September 2009 and has about 5 lakh registered users today with 1.5 lakh active buyers. The website attracts 70,000 unique visitors on a daily basis, according to the company spokesman.
The e-commerce portal sells between 4,000 to 5,000 products each day, Manmohan Agarwal, told Techcircle.in in a recent interview. What essentially began as an online shoe- store with an average of five orders a day has now expanded into a more generic platform selling apparel, shoes, jewellery, bags and other related products. The site offers free shipping and cash on delivery in addition to a 30-day return policy.
“E-commerce in India is about getting into Tier II and Tier III and capitalizing on the broken supply chain model. Bigshoebazaar is doing well because it has got both the aspects right,” said Shailesh Vickram Singh from Seedfund.
Competing with Yebhi.com, there are a host of e-commerce websites that have raised money in the recent past : LetsBuy.com recently raised $6 million from Helion, Accel and Tiger Global, Flipkart raised $8-10 million from Tiger Global, Jasper Innovative Marketing Solutions, which owns the popular group buying portal Snapdeal.com, has raised $12 million in a series B financing from Nexus Venture Partners and existing investor IndoUS Venture Partners and is currently on road to raise a third round of funding, reportedly at Rs 1,000 crore valuation.
With moneybags back for funding these internet ventures and entrepreneurs thinking big once more, analysts are questioning if indeed a bubble is in the making. However, there are some fundamental reasons why e-commerce is set to take off in India which explains why the surge is bigger and better than before.
According to experts , the next decade will bring massive growth in the Internet sector in India supported by highly favourable demographics, growing Internet-broadband penetration, launch of 3G network, growing middle class-income levels, noticeable pick-up in tech-gadget and mobile culture, and surge in home-grown Internet start-ups. Also, there is a thinking that about 20 per cent of retail sales will happen online in India as it is more cost -efficient and organized retail has not really taken off in India.
While there are macro favourables in place, e-commerce like most other businesses boils down to an execution play and creating a customer delight experience. “Only two out of ten e-commerce businesses will be successful. Rest will go out of business,” Naren Malhotra, Managing Director, Nexus Venture Partners told VCCircle in a separate interview.