The year 2011 may go down in history as a significant period that has witnessed some dynamic growth in the Internet business space – be it the investor frenzy in backing e-commerce start-ups, talk-of-the-town valuations (read: Flipkart courting financial investors with $1 billion tag), the biggest-ever transaction in Internet/mobile Internet space (InMobi) and last, but not the least, the year-end cracker of a news coming from the global behemoth Amazon that it has set the process rolling for launching amazon.in in the near future.
According to VCCedge, the financial research platform of VCCircle, in 2011, there had been 87 private equity/venture capital deals in the Internet/mobile Internet space worth $750 million, double the amount in 2010. Although it is too early to predict whether 2012 will continue to witness similar growth drive, it will be definitely interesting to watch the Internet services space and find out how the Indian firms, as well as global companies with business operations in India, are faring.
Here’s a look at the companies that clocked the biggest deals in the business in 2011.
Bangalore-based mobile ad network InMobi Technologies struck a deal to raise $200 million from Softbank Corp, a Japanese firm providing services in mobile communications, broadband infrastructure and Internet and fixed-line telecommunications. The funding would take place in two tranches – $100 million in September 2011, followed by another $100 million in April 2012. This blockbuster deal remains the largest fundraising transaction in the mobile Internet space till date.
Yatra Online (Yatra.com)
Gurgaon-based Yatra, one of the top three online travel agencies (OTA) in India, raised funding to the tune of $44.5 million in April 2011 to rev up its hotels and holiday booking business through an acquisition. The round was led by San Francisco-based Valiant Capital Management with Norwest Venture Partners and Intel Capital taking part as well. This was a pre-IPO round and there won’t be a further round of fundraising by Yatra, which plans to go public in 2013.
Awari Technologies (Fashionandyou.com )
Awari Technologies Pvt Ltd, the company behind Fashionandyou.com, a private shopping site for luxury brands and designer apparel & accessories, raised $40 million in a second round of funding, led by Norwest Venture Partners and Intel Capital. Sequoia Capital India and Nokia Growth also took part in the fundraising. The fresh investment in the luxury e-commerce portal came in less than a year after it raised its first round of institutional capital.
Jasper Infotech (Snapdeal.com)
Group buying portal Snapdeal.com’s parent firm Jasper Infotech Pvt Ltd raised $39.5 million in series B funding, led by Bessemer Venture Partners, along with existing investors Nexus Venture Partners and Indo-US Venture Partners. The investment came barely six months after the company announced fundraising of $12 million from Nexus and Indo-US Venture Partners. As a company, Jasper has raised around $52 million this year, making it the hottest Internet services firm in the country.
MakeMyTrip India (MakeMyTrip.com)
The NASDAQ-listed firm which operates India’s largest online travel agency saw Tiger Global investing $39.5 million in a public offer this year. The public offer comprised a mix of fresh issue of shares and part-exit by existing investors. While some existing shareholders like founder & CEO Deep Kalra and a few institutional investors like Helion Venture and SAIF Partners had offered to sell part of their holding, Tiger Global, another existing shareholder, went on to pile up its holding with additional stake purchase.
Naaptol Online Shopping (Naaptol.com)
Naaptol raised $25 million in an all-cash deal, led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA). Existing investors Canaan Partners and Silicon Valley Bank also took part in the round that ended in August 2011. Incidentally, this was NEA’s first direct investment in an e-commerce start-up in India. NEA’s Bala Deshpande joined the board of directors at Naaptol, alongside Rahul Khanna of Canaan Partners and the promoters.
TV18 Home Shopping
Network18 Group firm TV18 Home Shopping Network Ltd, which runs a teleshopping channel, raised $22.25 million from its existing investors – SAIF Partners, Network18 and GS Shopping. The capital was raised for investments in logistics, warehousing and technology. The consumer retail arm of the media conglomerate is looking to raise another $40 million and has already begun talks with a few investors.
Consim (bharatmatrimony.com, clickjobs.com, indiaproperty.com & others)
This was one of the exceptions where the company did not raise any fund but still figures in our list of top deals. Yahoo! Inc. sold its 12 per cent stake in Consim Info Pvt Ltd that owns the online match-making portal bharatmatrimony.com and other portals to three global venture funds – Bessemer Venture Partners, Mayfield Fund and Canaan Partners – for around $20.21 million. Consim also runs other portals like ClickJobs.com, IndiaList.com, IndiaAutomobile.com, Indiaproperty.com and MatrimonyMatter.com, to name a few.
Online video platform provider Kaltura Inc. secured $20 million in a round led by Nexus Venture Partners. While Nexus was a new investor, Intel Capital and existing investors 406 Ventures, Avalon Ventures and technology lender Silicon Valley Bank also participated in the round. Founded in 2006, Kaltura offers a self-hosted SaaS platform that clients can download or access for commercial purposes.
Flipkart Online Services Pvt Ltd raised $20 million in its series C round of funding from New York-based Tiger Global Management LLC. This third round of funding took the total to $31 million for the company. Tiger Global is an existing investor in Flipkart and has already invested $8 million-$10 million in the e-commerce firm. Earlier, Flipkart had also raised seed funding from Accel Partners. The firm has been in talks to raise a much bigger round in what is widely said to set a new benchmark for valuation of Internet services firm in the country. Watch out for our updates on that front in 2012!