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Lycos, Apollo form JV for B2B e-commerce venture

Lycos

Digital marketing and connected wearables firm Lycos Internet Ltd will form a joint venture with Apollo International Ltd to create a B2B e-commerce marketplace for industrial goods and luxury brands.

Christened Apollo Lycos Netcommerce, the new venture is expected to start operations before Diwali, a spokesperson for Apollo International told Techcircle.in.

Financial details of the JV were not disclosed.

“The plan is to bring a unique digital shopping experience to Indian consumers, where they can interact directly with global brands they love,” Raaja Kanwar, vice chairman and managing director of Apollo International, said in a press statement.

The JV would be Apollo’s first venture in the e-commerce space.

Apollo Lycos Netcommerce will promote brands online and take care of their digital marketing. It will drive engagement and sign ups, fulfil orders and ensure data security and inventory tracking among other services, the statement said.

While Lycos will deploy its digital marketing offerings for brands, Apollo will take care of inventory management, warehousing and other logistics operations, the spokesperson said.

Essentially, Apollo would ensure product delivery to the customer’s doorsteps from the point of sale, he added.

Lycos, one of the earliest internet search engines, was a company spun out of Carnegie Mellon University in 1994, from a research project by Michael Loren Mauldin. The company went through several acquisitions, and in 2010 was taken by Hyderabad-based Ybrant Digital for $36 million. In 2014, Ybrant rebranded itself as Lycos.

Recently, Mauldin joined Lycos as an independent director.

In June, Lycos ventured into the connected wearables space by launching devices that help users measure their heartbeat and sleep pattern among other things.

Part of the Apollo Group, Apollo International (launched in 1994) has interests across diversified businesses such as integrated logistics solutions, marketing, distribution of tyres, tubes, flaps and rims and exports.

There has been considerable investors’ interest in companies that allow businesses to source from other businesses through the online marketplace model. In India too several such players have sprung up in the last few years.

Kalaari Capital recently participated in a $9 million Series B funding round at Industrybuying.com, an online marketplace for industrial goods.

Another venture in this space is Tolexo.com. Run by Tolexo Online Pvt Ltd, Tolexo is part of IndiaMART InterMESH Ltd, which runs an online B2B platform for small and medium businesses connecting global buyers with suppliers under the brand IndiaMART.

Globally, Amazon launched its wholesale e-com property AmazonSupply three years ago. This came two years after Alibaba launched a new site for B2B e-com under 1688.com.

Last month, Kalaari participated in a funding round at YourStory, whose content and events compete with some offerings from Techcircle.in and VCC Events, which are both part of the 10-year-old VCCircle Network. The parent of VCCircle Network—whose business lines include subscription data products, events, training programmes and a subscription-led news website and app focused on the startup ecosystem as well as business at large in India—was acquired by News Corp in March.

Shares of Lycos were trading 4.04 per cent higher at Rs 25.75 on the BSE on Wednesday at 1:25 pm.

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