Blume Ventures-backed SportsNest.com, an e-tailer of sports goods, accessories, fitness products and games, has merged with its close rival PlayGroundOnline.com and the joint entity has raised another round of undisclosed funding from the existing investor.
Sports Nest Retail (India) Pvt Ltd started with B2B operations in private beta in Sept 2011 and launched the B2C site SportsNest.com for online sale of sporting, fitness and adventure gear in December . PlayGroundOnline, on the other hand, is a seasoned player in the market and was founded in July 2007.
Commenting on the development, Karthik Reddy of Blume Ventures said that the idea of merger came from the owners of the companies. "PlayGroundOnline was far ahead in the B2C segment and likewise, SportsNest was more popular as far as offline B2B model goes. It was the entrepreneurs' idea to merge forces, instead of competing in the same niche space. They brought the proposal to us and we decided to go ahead with it," he said.
The entire merger process, to be completed in due course of time, has started in effect as the retail consumers of SportsNest are now redirected to the PlayGroundOnline site. SportsNest will be launching a separate site for its B2B customers, according to Reddy.
The next tranche of funding will be put in after 3-4 months and the earlier funding in SportsNest will also be adjusted in this new round, Reddy stated. SportsNest was founded by the first-generation entrepreneur Sanjay Rao in July last year. Rao has more than 10 years of IT sector experience, mainly with product development companies like i2, Oracle, Wipro, and Symphony. He is also the co-founder of SportingMindz, a company focused on video analytics and predictive analysis in sports.
PlayGroundOnline was set up in July 2007 by Ramakrishna Kalluri and Srini Battula. Both the founders have more than a decade's experience in the technology sector and have worked with companies like Infosys, ABB and enCommerce.
PlayGroundOnline was also getting enquiries from B2B customers and thus the thought of merger struck the founders as both could combine their strengths in online and offline markets.
A message on SportsNest's site states, "We have immense pleasure in informing you that SportsNest.com and PlayGroundOnline.com are coming together in a close partnership going forward. With this partnership, we believe that we can serve you better in terms of enhanced product portfolio, larger inventory, improved delivery times and enhanced offline and online synergies. Going forward, we present a unified online presence through the websitewww.playgroundonline.com and expanded offline presence in terms of institutional and bulk sales through www.sportsnest.com.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)