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FirstCry eyes breakeven in a year; targets $250M in GMV by 2015

Baby care is one of the vertical e-commerce segments which saw at least half a dozen players enter the business. But two years down the line, FirstCry.com seems to be breaking out of the pack in terms of search volume and number of visitors. At least, Google Trends says so (see table below), although we know it is not always accurate. We caught up with Supam Maheshwari, co-founder and CEO of BrainBees Solutions Pvt Ltd, the startup that runs FirstCry.com (offers baby and kids' products) and GoodLife.com (focuses on home, health and personal care items), to get some answers on what is working for the company.

But first things first. The number of visitors to the sites range between 50,000 and 70,000 on a daily basis, totalling to around 2 million per month. Maheshwari did not disclose how many orders the sites are clocking but shared that the average ticket size of a transaction is Rs 1,000.

Assuming the average conversion rate of 2-5 per cent for e-commerce sites, it would roughly translate into gross merchandise value (GMV) worth anywhere between Rs 4 crore and Rs 10 crore a month.

According to Maheshwari, the company has been growing 20 per cent month on month since its inception and will become profitable by November 2013.

The Pune-based startup was founded by Maheshwari and Amitava Saha (director). Maheshwari exited his previous entrepreneurial venture Brainvisa Technologies, an e-learning company, and joined hands with Saha, previously the head of sales and business operations at Brainvisa, to launch FirstCry in late 2010.

In February this year, the company raised $14 million in Series B round of funding from IDG Ventures India and SAIF Partners. Prior to that, it had raised $4 million in its first round from SAIF in April 2011. This also makes it the most heavily funded venture in its immediate peer group.

In February this year, the company had a single warehouse in Pune and was shipping to over 2,000 towns and cities across India. It had a collection of over 25,000 SKUs across FirstCry.com and GoodLife.com.

The firm has now added three warehouses in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai (last one launched two weeks ago), and is looking to open one each in Kolkata and Chennai. It is now shipping to over 7,500 towns and has an in-house team in place for logistics, besides tying up with both regional and national partners (Blue Dart, Aramex, First Flight, etc).

The team size has grown to 300 and FirstCry currently has over 75,000 products across 400-plus brands. At GoodLife, you will find around 33,000 products and close to 500 brands.

Talking about the big budget marketing efforts, focused on pushing FirstCry.com, Maheshwari said, "Even now, we are at least five times ahead of the next best competition in the space of baby care products. Once we establish our dominance for a prolonged period, we will start marketing campaigns exclusively for GoodLife."

FirstCry competes with the likes of Hushbabies.com, Babyoye.com, Kidsoye.com and Hoopos.com, besides horizontal e-tailers like Flipkart who has recently added baby care products to its site.

Talking about the entry of large, general e-tailers, Maheshwari said, "It doesn't matter because the number of SKUs they have, will always be less than us, considering that unlike us, their time and energy will not be focused only on these verticals."

So what worked for the company & what's in store?

"Our goal was very clear – to position ourselves in the minds of the consumers as the largest online one-stop shop for baby and kids' products. We also made sure that we were the fastest (in terms of delivery), the broadest (in terms of variety) and the best in terms of the offers available on the site," said Maheshwari.

The company has also built out a model of loyalty cash that has been giving the sites high repeat customers, he added.

"We will consolidate the market either by acquiring some players in the same vertical (baby and kids care) or by expanding horizontally, adding a couple of tabs like GoodLife," said Maheshwari.

According to him, there are some acquisition opportunities but he would wait for companies to bleed more and become ripe for acquisition.

The company already has a few private labels on the sites (like Fab & Funky) and is looking to boost that side of business.

Finally, talking about milestones, Maheshwari said, "We are aiming to become a $250 million company in terms of gross revenues by 2015."

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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