SportsNest.com, an e-commerce venture offering sports goods, accessories, fitness products and games, has merged with its competitor, PlayGroundOnline.com, with the new entity raising a round of undisclosed funding from existing investor, Blume Ventures, according to a Techcircle report.

Sports Nest is backed by Blume Ventures and focused on B2B (business to business) sales, although it had launched a consumer facing e-commerce site, SportsNest.com, in December 2011, selling sports, fitness and adventure products. It was founded by Sanjay Rao in July, 2011. PlayGroundOnline, was founded in July 2007 by Ramakrishna Kalluri and Srini Battula.

Following the merger, SportsNest.com now displays a message informing about the merger and mentions that the company will have a unified online presence through the website www.playgroundonline.com and expanded offline presence in terms of institutional and bulk sales through www.sportsnest.com. The site redirects to PlayGroundOnline. According to the TechCircle report, SportsNest would be launching a dedicated B2B online marketplace, shortly. Blume will also increase its investment in SportsNext in the next 3-4 months.

PlayGroundOnline offers products across categories such as Sports (equipment across various categories of Sports), Fitness (Gym and fitness accessories), Nutrition (food and supplements), Sportswear, Shoes, Accessories, Kids’ sports products, and Fan shop (merchandise).  It offers a 15 day return policy, however, it doesn’t offer cash on delivery as a payment option.

Other Players

Last year, Indian tennis player, Mahesh Bhupathi, had launched a new sports focused ecommerce venture — sports365.in, to sell sports merchandise, including equipment, accessories, apparel and footwear. E-commerce company SnapDeal had also acquired Esportsbuy.com for an undisclosed amount, however some reports had estimated the deal to be in the Rs. 50-70 crore range. However, after nearly two months of the acquisition, it had shut down the site and launched a new Sports section on its own website.

As we mentioned earlier, it appears that as small players in e-commerce space fail to gain customer loyalty, and are not able to sustain in this highly competitive market, we might see more acquisitions, where big companies would buy niche ventures and consolidate operations. It’s also going to be difficult for niche commerce sites to scale, and while they main gain some user traction, it’s unlikely to be substantive in the short term.