Started with Just Rs 40,000, How IndiaMART Grew to Become India's Largest B2B Online Marketplace

Improvement in internet connectivity is a major factor behind the rise of many startups. But the startup that we are talking about today was conceived much before internet was far from being as accessible as today. When IndiaMART was started in 1996, internet facilities were much underdeveloped in India. However, IndiaMART founder Dinesh Agarwal, could very well visualize the revolution that India was about to see with better internet connectivity. Started with a capital of just Rs 40,000, today IndiaMART is India's largest B2B online marketplace. Let's have a peek into the journey of this 24 years old company, which is making business easy for many Individuals, SMEs and large enterprises.

IndiaMART – Company Highlights

Company Name IndiaMART
Headquarters Noida (Uttar Pradesh)
Founders Dinesh Agarwal & Brijesh Agarwal
Sector E-commerce
Founded 1996
Parent Organization IndiaMART InterMESH Limited

About IndiaMART
IndiaMART – Founders and Team
IndiaMART - History
IndiaMART – Funding & Investors
IndiaMART – Business and Revenue Model
IndiaMART – Awards
IndiaMART – Competitors
IndiaMART – Growth and Revenue

About IndiaMART

IndiaMART is a leading Indian B2B e-commerce company that connects suppliers with buyers. It has around 60% market share in B2B space and it has partnerships with leading brands such as Tata, Airtel, Hyundai, Bosch, Canon, and a lot more. It trades almost everything from apparel, home furniture to electronics, and building equipment. The company provides business visibility and credibility to its buyers and sellers with an enhanced trust and experience of 24 years.

IndiaMart has also ventured into some other sectors, other than being a B2B marketplace. Operational subsidiaries of India Mart include -

  • Tolexo Online Pvt. Ltd. (TOPL) - Founded in 2014, was a online B2B retail and B2B Wholesale platform. In 2017, IndiaMart announced that it is closing the retail B2B wing of due to under performance. Currently (a subsidiary of TOPL) is offering order management services to businesses.
  • Ten Times Online Private Limited (TTOPL) - Founded in 2013, is a platform for business event discovery and networking.
  • Pay With Indiamart Private Limited (PWIPL) - Started in 2017, Pay with IndiaMART is a payment gateway that lets sellers collect instant payment from buyers through the Indiamart platform.
  • Hellotravel Online Pvt. Ltd. - Founded in 2009, this platform connects travelers to travel agents.

IndiaMART - Founders and Team

Dinesh Agarwal and his cousin Brijesh Agarwal are the founders of IndiaMART. IndiaMART CEO Dinesh Agarwal was associated with HCL Technologies as a Senior System Analyst before launching IndiaMART. He did his B.Tech in Computer Science from Harcourt Butler Technological Institute, Kanpur.

IndiaMART co-founder and Director Brijesh Agarwal did his BMS at the University of Lucknow.  After completing his PGDBM from NIILM, Brijesh joined Dinesh Agarwal in his venture.

IndiaMART now has 3373 employees.

Also Read: The Important Entrepreneurial Lessons That Colleges never Teach

IndiaMART - History

After graduating in software  engineering, Dinesh started receiving lucrative job offers and after working in India with different organizations for 5 years, Dinesh went to the US, where he worked with CDOT for 3 Years. He was leading a comfortable life until one day he realized that he was not passionate enough about the work he was doing and had a calling to start something of his own. This made Dinesh return to India in 1996.

Dinesh was one of the early internet users and realized that internet can do wonders in promoting businesses, so he decided to build a platform where businesses could display their products through dedicated web pages. Dinesh started the business from his flat in Delhi, in 1996 as an export marketplace.

However finding clients was a difficult task initially for IndiaMART as  many businesses were not aware about computers and internet.  They did not know how internet could help in growing their business. So Dinesh appointed some marketing and sales guys, who could educate the businesses about what internet could do to them and thus acquire new clients for IndiaMART. They also started participating in trade fares held in Pragati Maidan to spread more awareness about their business. The first client India Mart received was 'Nirula's' - the famous first food chain of North India, and IndiaMart had to build and maintain Nirula's website, for an annual charge of Rs 32000/-

IndiaMART started by offering free listing services to the business, and once the businesses listed started getting queries form around the world,  IndiaMART's sales representatives used to approach the the businesses to report them about the progress. Once the business were convinced that getting their business listed on IndiaMart was actually helpful, they started buying paid services from IndiaMART and the platform started growing gradually.

However, in the absence of proper internet infrastructure, challenges for IndiaMART were many. IndiaMART could not even send e-mails to the businesses regarding the queries these businesses were receiving through IndiaMART, as many businesses did not have e-mail ids even. The IndiaMART team had to take printout of the queries they received and fax the same to the respective businesses. But despite all challenges, IndiaMART acquired around 1000 clients till 1999.

Another challenge appeared before the company with the 9/11 attacks, exports were hard hit due to the tragedy and IndiaMART's revenue came down by almost 40%. But the team continued its efforts.

A major turning point came when IndiaMART shifted focus from export to Domestic market and started serving the Businesses within the country. Today over 6 million suppliers are registered with IndiaMART.

IndiaMART - Funding & Investors

India Mart has raised a total funding worth $40.8 million over 4 rounds. In June 2019, IndiaMART launched its IPO, which turned out to be one of the most loved IPO in 2019. As per NSE, IndiaMART IPO cumulatively received  bids of 9,66,86,235 equity shares, which is 35.91 times higher than its total issue size of 26,92,824 equity shares.

Date Stage Amount Investors
January, 2007 Venture Round Undisclosed Brand Capital
January, 2009 Series A $10 Million Intel Capital
March, 2016 Series C Undisclosed Intel Capital, Amadeus Capital Partners, Quona Capital & WestBridge Capital
June, 2019 Venture Round Rs 213 Crore SAIF Partners, Kuwait Investment Authority, Malabar Investment Advisors, Hornbill Capital Advisers, Sylebra Capital

IndiaMART - Business & Revenue Model

While, IndiaMART is totally free for buyers, its main source of revenue is subscription fee received from the sellers, sell of 'request for quote' received from buyers and by providing payment facilitation services. IndiaMART also earns advertising revenue by letting businesses place advertisements  on its desktop and mobile platform as well as IndiaMART mobile app.

Also Read: 7 Simple Steps to Train Your Brain to Multitask Effectively

IndiaMART - Awards

  • Red Herring 100 Asia Awards 2008.
  • Manthan Award South Asia and Asia Pacific 2013 under the ‘E-business and Financial Inclusion’ category
  • Special Contribution Award’ at WASME – Super SME Awards, 2016
  • Best Online Classified Website Award’ at Drivers of Digital Awards, 2016
  • Best Business App Award’ at GMASA 2017 and ‘Best Business App’ at Drivers of Digital Summit & Awards, 2018
  • Best Online Classified Application’ at Drivers of Digital Summit & Awards, 2018
  • Video Content in a Business Website- Special Mention’ at Video Media Awards and Summit 2019
  • India Law Awards 2019 for ‘Technology, Media and Telecommunication In-House Legal Team’
  • Most Promising Company of the Year” at the CNBC Awaaz CEO Awards
  • ‘Bada Aasaan Hai’ received the ‘Best Video Content in a B2B Marketing Campaign Award’ at the Video Media Awards & Summit, 2020

IndiaMART - Competitors

Tradeindia, Yellow pages, Exporters India, Amazon, Flipkart, and Tradekey are some of the leading competitors of IndiaMART. Though there are many upcoming e-commerce companies in India, IndiaMART sustains its position with its stronger network and greater years of experience in the e-commerce field.

Also Read: 15 Side Business Ideas To Start Immediately In 2020

IndiaMART - Growth & Revenue

IndiaMART has 67 Million+ Products and Services, 6 Million+ Suppliers, and 102 Million+ Buyers. In FY 2019-2020, IndiaMART reported a revenue of 639 Crore which is 26% more than Rs 507 Crore Revenue Reported in Fy 2018-2019. While, it reported Net profit of Rs 147 Crore in FY 2019-2020, as compared to Rs 20 Crore in FY 2018-2019.

While IndiaMART's Collections from customers was Rs 671 in FY 2018-2019 and it increased by 10% to reach Rs 738 Crore in FY 2019-2020.

As said by IndiaMART CEO Dinesh Agarwal, it will be a difficult factor to maintain the same assets for FY21 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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About Chayanika Goswami

  • Assam
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