Ecommerce startup, that started as an online shopping portal for books in 2007, is in the market to raise growth capital in the range of Rs 50-100 crore to fire its transition to a supply chain management company.

For starters, last month launched its infrastructure platform for retailers to set up their own online storefront. It powers the online shops for kitchen appliances maker TTK Prestige Limited (, Milan-based domestic leather accessories brand Hidesign and IPL T20 Merchandise and claims to have hundreds of customers signed up for its SaaS-based platform, called Infibeam platform.

"Retail is growing tremendously. We are looking to raise money to address this market and will be pumping it into technology development. There is quite a bit of growth capital required now and 2011 will be a good time to grow. This is past the stage of angel funding and risk capital, we want to raise funds in the Rs 50 crore to 100 crore range," said Vishal Mehta, CEO and Founder

The new platform is up against Martjack by Hyderabad-based Reasoning Global eApplications Ltd and Shopify, a US-based firm which raised $7 million in Series A funding from Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital and Felicis Ventures in December. Shopify currently services more than 10,000 clients in 60 countries and is eying the Indian market, according to industry sources. These are the companies that will power the online store fronts for retailers in India, making it easy to set up and manage e-commerce for both large and small merchants.

The Ahmedabad-based launched in 2007 as a B2C online shopping portal for books and then expanded into handsets and consumer electronics, used cars and bike classifieds. Infibeam's digital division also launched an ebook reader Pi, India's first ebook reader.

Now, the firm is in the process of setting up two large warehouses in the outskirts of Delhi and Mumbai, which will be double the size of the five existing ones.

The most recent storefront project was for Crossword Bookstores Ltd, the book retail chain of K Raheja Corp, which also owns retail and lifestyle chain Shopper's Stop. The online storefront went live on December 20.

"Across all our formats, we believe customers will have a higher propensity to shop online over the next few years. The Shopper's Stop online store has been up for two years and we have now launched," said Vivek Mathur, Vice-President, Corporate Planning & E-commerce, Shoppers' Stop Ltd.

The solutions are customised as per requirements of retailers and their prices vary depending upon the modules added such as supply chain management, logistics and customer care.

Not a Shift But Part Of The Plan

The shift from being an ecommerce provider to a supply chain company is not so much a change in strategy as a realization of efforts over the years. According to Mehta, this was the intention all along.

"When Infibeam was founded, we were keen on software development and created this platform for ecommerce companies. In order to test it, we launched using the platform. There was a huge opportunity that was waiting to be addressed in ecommerce in India at that point and we entered into it but continued fine tuning our platform with the practical knowledge we gained from running the business. And now, we believe we have much more to offer - our strength is as a supply chain company and we want to solve the logistics and infrastructure related problems in the industry with the platform," said Mehta.

He expects to sign up "a few lakh" customers onto the platform in the coming year.

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