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We have about half a million small merchants, 30M consumers using the platform: Quikr founder Pranay Chulet

Mumbai-based Quikr India Pvt Ltd, the company that owns and operates the classifieds site Quikr.com, recently raised $90 million (Rs 550 crore) led by Swedish investment firm Investment AB Kinnevik to join the list of prominent tech ventures like Flipkart, InMobi and Snapdeal to raise massive capital in a single round. With this infusion, the capital raised by Quikr to date has reached $140 million. Techcircle.in met Quikr's founder and CEO Pranay Chulet to know about the company's plans with the capital, and its growth and expansion.

Here are the edited excerpts:

Kinnevik is not known to have invested in India before and yet it led the new round in Quikr. How did you rope it in as an investor?

Kinnevik has prior experience in investing in classified sites in other markets. The VC firm liked our product and our experiences in the classifieds space in India.

You have raised more than $140 million to date in multiple rounds. Why do you need this much capital?

We plan to keep building the company the way we have been building it. India is a huge market and we need to tap the huge potential of this market. For big businesses like us, it is a game of scale. We want to do justice to the opportunities this market offers.

We will use the capital raised from this round mainly for product innovation, scaling the team and marketing. As we know, mobile is the way forward and a major chunk of the money will be used for product innovation around mobile. We are planning to provide an enhanced experience to our merchant partners as well as consumers.

Since day one, we have been very particular about hiring the right talent. So, a part of the capital will go towards this objective. We will also go for aggressive marketing going forward.

As of now, a major chunk of your revenues come from premium listings and lead generations, while ads revenues are negligible. Do you see the revenue mix changing going forward?

If you look at our revenues today, over 90 per cent come from premium listing and lead generations, and it will continue to be so. We have millions of small businesses in India which are looking to market their products and services, and it is a huge market.

We understand your losses rose almost four times to Rs 78 crore in FY13. Any visibility on break-even?

I cannot comment on our financials, as we are still a private limited company. However, I can share some pointers. Our revenue has grown five times over the past 12 months. We have been growing 15 per cent month on month. Last year, the business grew 25 times. I hope it continues to grow several times for some more years.

As of last October, you had 30 million unique users. Has this number grown since?

Our user-base continues to increase every month. However, we want to make sure that it is a quality growth. Yes, we are growing fast, but the real objective is quality growth.

During our last interaction, you had said that you were looking to reach 100 million unique users in two-three years. Are you on your way to achieve this goal?

I will be shocked if we don't achieve this.

Can you share the total listings of merchants? Also, what is the number of consumers?

We have about half a million small merchants and 30 million consumers using the platform.

How is your traffic from mobile growing?

Like any company, we are also looking at mobile aggressively. Mobile is where most of our growth happens. Indeed, it is growing much faster than desktop. Going forward, mobile will be our key focus. We will enhance our mobile app as well as the mobile site.

Are you looking for more capital? When are you planning to go to the market to raise fresh funding?

I think we are okay for more capital. However, we are not actively looking at it. You are present in almost all parts of the country in terms of the number of merchants and consumers. What is next?

We are adding more locations and towns and roping in more clients. It is going to be broader and deeper growth in each of these towns.

Are you looking to acquire companies operating in this segment?

We will see. If right companies come along, we will look at it. That said, building organically is the valid way to grow a company and that is our goal.

Are you looking for potential buyers?

No. We are looking to build the company now. We are not looking to sell it out.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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