Tiger Global leads $15M Series B round in social shopping platform LimeRoad

Gurgaon-based A.M. Marketplaces Pvt Ltd, the company behind social commerce platform LimeRoad.com, has raised $15 million in Series B round led by Tiger Global. Existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and Matrix Partners India also participated in this round, as per a company statement.

“We are revolutionising the way lifestyle products are discovered and ultimately bought online in India, and are delighted to work with investor partners who share our hunger for winning and are supporters of our disruptive model to get there,” said Suchi Mukherjee, co-founder and CEO, LimeRoad.

“Our mobile traffic, most of which is organic, is growing at 45 per cent month on month. We architected the Android mobile App to be simple, addictive, with style updates every 30 seconds, and have made it the lightest app in its segment to address the hardware constraints of Indian users,” added Prashant Malik, CTO, LimeRoad.

Commenting on the funding, Avnish Bajaj, managing director, Matrix India, said “LimeRoad focuses on winning the two biggest drivers of future online commerce marketplaces—women and mobile. The community of scrap bookers on LimeRoad is zealously passionate about the platform and reminds one of similar communities in scaled marketplaces like eBay.”

Bejul Somaia, managing director, Lightspeed Advisory Services India, said, “The LimeRoad team has already disproved many accepted notions in the world of Indian online commerce—for example, that it is not possible to grow without offering heavy discounts or that Indian users aren’t savvy enough to embrace deep social activities like scrapbooking, curating collections or sharing.”

LimeRoad.com, part of Matrix Partners’ seed programme, provides lifestyle products across categories like apparel, accessories, home and non-perishable food. The website allows shoppers to buy according to city, brand or flagship store.

One can also browse and connect with shops, brands and retailers and unlike traditional e-commerce portals, LimeRoad sports the look and feel of a magazine where shoppers can actually flip the pages to view the featured products. The startup was set up by Mukherjee, who had earlier worked with the executive management team of Skype, along with Manish Saksena, former COO of Tommy Hilfiger India; and Ankush Mehra, former head of supply chain at Reliance Hypermarkets. Last year, LimeRoad had appointed former Facebook tech lead Prashant Malik as its CTO.

According to the founders, India accounts for 20 per cent of the world’s manufacturing of lifestyle products. “We are convinced that conquering the discoverability of that wide array needs new thinking and a fresh socially-architected approach. Most of our products are unique and user generated. On average the community of LimeRoad users generate 3x more actions and page views per session on our platform versus any other alternative available to them in this market.” 

The portal claims to have more than 1,50,000 products and is growing 30-40 per cent per month.

In October 2012, Matrix Partners India and Lightspeed Venture Partners co–led a $5 million round of funding in LimeRoad. Unlike other peers, Matrix Partners has not been aggressively betting on e-commerce but was an early investor in online classifieds firm Quikr. Lightspeed, on the other hand, has invested in firms like Craftsvilla.com, an online handicraft e-commerce portal and lifestyle e-store Fashionara.

Tiger Global Management LLC, the hedge fund cum early stage tech investment firm, has been one of the most aggressive backers of Indian tech firms (especially e-commerce) with investments in firms such as Flipkart and Myntra. Last month, it raised $1.5 billion in its eighth global venture capital fund focused on later-stage, privately held technology companies.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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