Ecommerce portal LetsBuy.com by New Delhi based Etree Marketing Private Limited has received $6 million in venture capital funding from Helion Venture Partners, Accel Partners and Tiger Global. This is its first round of institutional funding – it received an undisclosed sum from angel investors in May 2010.
Interestingly, Accel Partners and Tiger Global have invested in another ecommerce portal – Bangalore-based Flipkart.com. Accel Partners India invested an undisclosed amount in Flipkart in October 2009 while Tiger Global invested $10 million in June 2010 in the portal. Rival Infibeam is seeking venture capital funding to fuel its platform business.
“The LetsBuy.com team has the vision and the business acumen to identify opportunities and make them stepping stones towards growth. In the process they present the best offerings to their customers and meet the goals chalked out by the partner investors. The strategy and plans match those valued by the Accel Partners team,” said Prashanth Prakash, Partner, Accel Partners.
Launched in July 2009 by Hitesh Dhingra and Amanpreet Bajaj, LetsBuy.com is an online retailer of consumer electronics, communications and computer goods and has a national footprint. Dhingra is the co-founder of online advertising firm Quasar Media Pvt Ltd and Tyroo Media. In 2009, he was the COO at Cafegadgets, another consumer electronics portal. Bajaj was previously a manager – process consulting at Ernst & Young.
“LetsBuy.com in on the fast-growth path and the VC funding from the leaders in the space will only spur us on. The funds would be deployed in strengthening customer service, technology and supply chain processes,” said Dhingra, Founder & CEO, Etree Marketing Private Limited.
Letsbuy currently employs 25 which it will ramp up to 60-70 people in the next quarter. Investment will go into customer care, which Dhingra says is Letsbuy’s USP. The company relies on a self-developed Linux-based technology platform.
Letsbuy currently has sourcing hubs in Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi and now plans to add more sourcing hubs and 1000-2000 square feet warehouses in other cities.
“India has witnessed tremendous growth in e-commerce and Letsbuy has been part of that growth. The team has the vision to have identified a very compelling opportunity and the execution skills to deliver to it,” said Ashish Gupta, Managing Director, Helion Venture Partners.
LetsBuy.com’s advisory board includes Manish Vij, co-founder of Quasar Media, Tyroo, Zoomtra and Smile Technologies and Nitin Gupta, who is presently mentoring the team at LetsBuy.com. He was COO at Rediff.com and Country Manager, South Asia for MasterCard.
The site’s online catalogue lists 150 brands including HP, Microsoft, Canon, Airtel, BIG TV, WD, MapmyIndia and over 5,000 products. All the products on the website are branded – there are no gray goods being sold, said Dhingra.
Recently, another consumer electronics ecommerce site Buytheprice.com raised its angel round from Rajan Anandan, Rehan Yar Khan, and Sunil Kalra. Group buying major Groupon acquired Kolkata based SoSasta.com marking an entry into India.
On if the deal implied an imminent integration with Flipkart, Dhingra said, “What excited them (the venture capital firms) was the opportunity in the industry. Letsbuy is focussed on the digital lifestyle and gadgets, which is the largest selling category online after travel. Whereas Flipkart is trying to offer everything.”