Surat, Gujarat based Wishbook, a sales catalog aggregation app, has raised Rs 3.5 crores from Naukri.com parent Info Edge. On a fully diluted bases, this gives Info Edge a 21.88% stake in the business.

Wishbook is a catalog app which intends to “digitize the apparel/fashion production & sales information, enabling tools that lead to efficiency for traditional Apparel & Fashion Manufacturers, Distributors & Retailers.” It allows distribution of a sales catalog from manufacturers to distributors and Retailers, and enables salespersons to show the catalogs, take orders, and file daily reports.

This essentially replaces the offline, expensive-to-produce hard-copy printed catalogs that needed to be distributed physically, and adds sales and monitoring functions. Sellers can create multiple catalogs, upload high resolution images in bulk, and manage listings from their mobile app. They can create and manage customer segments based on product category and geographical location. The product claims to have integration with seller’s CRM and ERP, and tracking of salesmen, in terms of orders and visits.

Here’s why this investment in interesting

While Wishbook, to start with, is a catalog business, it is essentially a B2B marketplace in the making. Digitisation of catalogs on Wishbook remind us of digitisation of menus on Zomato: what began as a discovery platform for restaurants became a pipe between consumers and restaurants, with additional means of monetization, including table booking, food ordering and digital payments.

Info Edge loves marketplace businesses and tends to invest in them. The marketplace business is such that buyers get sellers get buyers and so on. What these businesses need for a network effect to kick in is provide useful, discoverable content, which Wishbook is already putting into place with digitised catalogs. On the Google Play store, the app has only between 5000-1000 downloads, so Wishbook still doesn’t have the kind of traction it needs. It will probably have to play the game that all B2B marketplaces play: put feet on the street and get people to sign up.

If this is going where it looks like it’s going, this is probably the market with most potential, among all of Info Edge’s investments. It is also the market where substantial competition exists: IndiaMart, TradeIndia and Alibaba among them.