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Info Edge backs Printo, sells Canvera after writing off investment

Info Edge backs Printo, sells Canvera after writing off investment
Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Info Edge (India) Ltd, the parent company of job portal Naukri, has invested Rs 20 crore ($2.9 million) in retail printing chain Printo for a stake of 23.5%, it said in a stock-exchange filing. It has also decided to transfer its entire 70.47% stake in online photography and printing firm Canvera to Printo.

During the most recent quarterly results, Info Edge had announced that it was writing off its entire investment of Rs 121.1 crore it had put in Canvera. The decade-old company has seen its founders leaving the company.

Canvera was Info Edge’s third-largest startup deal, after restaurant discovery company Zomato and e-learning firm Meritnation.

"It is an initiative to consolidate the industry. This will bring efficiencies and economies of scale. Printo is doing well and eventually, Canvera will become a subsidiary of Printo. Canvera has a good digital model, while Printo's strength is in offline business," Chintan Thakkar, Info Edge’s chief financial officer and executive director, told TechCircle.

In September last year, Info Edge had invested Rs 8.6 crore ($1.35 million) into Canvera, increasing its stake in the photography startup from 57% to 62.2%.

Printo founder and chief executive Manish Sharma did not respond to calls and messages from TechCircle.

The printing firm had grown its revenue to around Rs 42 crore in the financial year ending March 2018 from around Rs 35 crore in the previous financial year.

Last week, Info Edge, which also runs internet companies like Jeevansathi.com and 99acres.com, posted a 16.6% increase in standalone revenue for the April-June 2018 period. It also has investments in consumer technology startups like Zomato and Policybazaar and has also made similar deals last year.

Info Edge's operational revenue grew to Rs 259.53 crore for the first quarter of 2017-18, up from Rs 222.46 crore a year earlier. It had swung to a standalone loss of Rs 13.7 crore for the January-March 2018 quarter, as write-offs related to startup investments rose to Rs 70.3 crore from Rs 4 crore a year earlier and Rs 17 crore for the third quarter of 2017-18.

Printo

Founded in 2005, Bengaluru-based Printo Document Services Pvt. Ltd creates products such as business cards, marketing collateral, reports, calendars, diaries, greetings, invitation cards and branding signages.

In 2007, Sequoia Capital led a $4.46-million round in Printo along with SeedFund, according to VCCEdge, the data research arm of News Corp VCCircle. However, co-founder Sharma along with Blume Ventures bought out Sequoia’s stake.

Printo acquired two firms: last year, it bought Delhi-based printing solutions company The Print Bazaar in an all-stock deal. In 2011, it had bought Lifeblob, a social photo-sharing startup backed by early-stage venture capital fund SeedFund.

Info Edge’s investments

Info Edge, one of India’s earliest internet companies has been quite busy on the investment front in recent times making new as well as follow-on investments in its portfolio companies.

Earlier this month, it invested Rs 3 crore (around $440,000) in ZippServ, an online platform that provides risk-assessment services for real estate investments.

Around the same time, it had co-invested $27.7 million along with Temasek into insurance selling platform PolicyBazaar, as part of a larger Series F round that was over $200 million.

Last month, as part of the same Series F round into Policybazaar, Info Edge and SoftBank invested about $45 million each, for a total 8.93% stake.

In May, it made a follow-on investment of $513,588 (Rs 3.43 crore) in Rare Media Company Pvt. Ltd, the owner of the workforce tracker Blue Dolphin.

In April, it invested Rs 3 crore ($460,000) in ShoeKonnect, an online business-to-business (B2B) marketplace for footwear, for a 20% stake.

In February, it disclosed that it would divest a 6.66% stake in online restaurant finder Zomato to Chinese internet giant Alibaba for $50 million (Rs 320.5 crore). Alibaba, through its payment arm Alipay, separately invested $150 million in Zomato in a primary transaction. After the fund raise, Info Edge’s stake in Zomato came down to around 31% from 45%.

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