Update: Indiaplaza has confirmed to Business Standard that it has raised $5 million in funding through a fresh issue of equity, from NEA-IndoUS Venture Partners.
Earlier: 8th April 2011-Indiaplaza, one of the earliest e-commerce ventures in India, has raised $5 million in venture capital funding from IndoUS Venture Partners, MediaNama has learnt from multiple reliable sources. Previously known as Fabmall.com, Indiaplaza deals in books, Cakes, handicrafts, cameras, jewelry, mobiles, toys, watches, electronics, DVDs and, of late, Alphonso Mango’s.
IndiaPlaza has two websites: IndiaPlaza.in targets the Indian customer, while IndiaPlaza.com, targets the US market. At the time of filing this report, IndoUS Ventures MD Vani Kola was not reachable, and K. Vaitheeswaran, CEO of IndiaPlaza has not responded to our requests for a confirmation or denial. Earlier reports had suggested that IndiaPlaza was raising $10 million, but had not mentioned any investors. Indiaplaza had previously received funding from the Indigo Monsoon Group (IMG), which also has investments in Sulekha.com and eshakti.com. IMG’s Param Parameswaran is the Chairman of Indiaplaza.
Financials & The Road Ahead
According to a directors report filed with India’s Registrar of Companies, Indiaplaza, rather, Mercado Online Private Limited, had reported a turnover of Rs. 2.364 crore for the financial year ending 31st March 2010 (FY10), down from Rs. 2.829 crore the year before. It suffered a Rs. 1.9 crore loss in FY10, an improvement over the Rs. 4.258 crore loss it suffered in FY09. In FY08, the company had reported a turnover of Rs. 6.64 crore, and a loss of Rs. 3.11 crore.
Despite the struggles of e-commerce in India, IndiaPlaza has stuck it out. As Fabmall.com, the entity became popular in the early to mid-2000’s, but after Fabmall’s parent offline retailing business was acquired by the AV Birla group in 2007, the online retail venture separated, acquired US based Indiaplaza.com, and rebranded as IndiaPlaza.
IndiaPlaza has been in this business for the long haul, but the spotlight during what appears to be an e-commerce funding boom, has been fairly and squarely on Flipkart.com in e-commerce, and various couponing sites like Snapdeal, DealsAndYou, among several other private shopping sites. There is renewed hope in the Internet commerce space in India, with a few recent developments that raise expectations of growth:
– The apparent increase in online transactions, especially with couponing sites and a few online retail ventures.
– The push that is being given now to mobile data access, with more users becoming comfortable transacting on themobile; and expectations of Reliance Industries making a massive push with the launch of 4G services
– Mobile transactions eventually growing, with telecom operator and banking partnerships being inked.
Apart from the e-commerce players mentioned above (not couponing) other online retail ventures include:
– LetsBuy.com, which raised $6 million from Helion Ventures, Accel Partners and Tiger Global
– Nexus Venture Partners funded Yebhi.com (previously BigShoeBazaar.com)
– Angel Investor backed BuyThePrice,
– Unfunded-but-looking-for-funds Infibeam.com
– Future Group and KPCB-Sherpalo backed FutureBazaar.com which is spending quite a bit on promotion
* Disclosure: Indiatimes is an advertiser with MediaNama