Another dotcom entrepreneur who decided to stick it out is Dinesh Agarwal, founder of Indiamart.com, a venture started in 1996. Though the firm posted revenues of only Rs 90 crore in 2009-10, its valuation is around Rs 600 crore. Indiamart is a business-to-business (B2B) portal focusing solely on the SME (small and medium enterprises) sector. Over the years, it has built a huge portfolio of customers. In 2001, it had 50,000 firms on the site selling products and by 2004, this number rose to 300,000.
What Agarwal did was to build an ecosystem. Even today, 97 per cent of products and firms on the site are unpaid. But space priority is given to paid vendors — the upper half of the page is for them. As Agarwal adds more categories to the existing 40,000 and the number of products and companies are increased, the ratio between paid and unpaid vendors might change. Paid vendors may increase to 8-10 per cent.
Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private equity, venture capital and M&A deals in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports. Email the author at email@example.com