VC / PE Investors Strategic Look for Funding Startups

ECommerce Investors Eye on GrowthTighter funding has led to exits, consolidation and focus on unit economics. However, those backed by strategic Investors / subsidiaries of overseas players appear better placed. Recent call with a leading private investor highlighted that GMV growth for ecommerce players will be under pressure in the near-term. This is being driven by limitations on marketplaces by new regulations to become compliant with 25% threshold sale limit from single vendor and reducing heavy discounts that were driving significant growth.

Management commentary of Amazon, Rocket Internet and Softbank over last 15 mths highlights diverging thinking even between strategic investors. Amazon/Softbank talk about market potential and plans for continued investing. Rocket Internet (for Jabong) has moved from market share to balancing growth/profitability to profitability now. In fact, (more…)

Local eCommerce – Lessons for JustDial / Entrepreneurs from Baidu Local Express

Baidu Local ExpressChinese Internet Giant, Baidu has had Keyword based bidding on the lines of Google AdWords for sometime codenamed as Phoenix which Local service platforms still find the bidding system complicated. In October 2015, Baidu launched Local Express, a new simpler marketing platform for local merchants. Its key advantages include:

  1. Ease of use of the marketing interface, without the hassles of choosing keyword price.
  2. Geo-targeting to customers within 5-30 km from merchants, making the marketing campaign more effective
  3. One-stop ad placement displaying across three key traffic platforms on Baidu: Baidu Mobile, Baidu Map, and Nuomi apps. In the past, Baidu search and Baidu Nuomi had separate marketing and services channels
  4. Infrastructure support. Merchants can rely on Baidu Nuomi’s landing page support, and do need to set up their own website.

Local Express currently targets eight local service sectors, including (1) cosmetics, nail polishing, manicure, and pedicure, (2) gym and yoga, (3) talent training, (4) electronics repair, (5) auto services, (6) photography, (7) moving and housekeeping services, and (8) plumbing services. These are also existing categories on Nuomi’s platform. We note that restaurants, KTV, and tourism, are not (more…)

Idea Cellular 4G-LTE Strategy – Win Leadership Circles Only

Idea 4G LTE StrategyIdea Cellular one of the Top 3 Telcos in India has been a subject of critic for being laid-back in its approach on 4G LTE Mobile Data services. Idea invested aggressively in expanding 2G Voice Network and expects the next few quarters for voice rates to remain stable at around present levels and do not see much upside.

What is Idea’s 4G LTE Strategy ?
We all know that Idea Cellular currently occupies the Top or Second Slot in Revenue Market Share in 10 of the 22 Telecom Circles of India – Maharashtra, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, UP (West) and Gujarat. Idea currently earns 75% of its Revenues (more…)

Why didn’t Idea acquire 4G LTE Spectrum Aggressively ?

Idea 4G LTE SpectrumReliance Jio Infocomm which wants to run an all IP PAN India Telecommunications Network funded from its shady Oil & Gas business is the most aggressive Telco to launch a greenfield operation in the next few months. Airtel, India’s Largest Integrated Telco felt the heat from Jio’s plans and sought approval from its foreign partner / investor SingTel to get aggressive and has so far managed to beat Reliance Jio by being the first operator to launch 4G services.

Idea Cellular management suggested data growth will depend a lot on subscriber growth and the likelihood of ARPU increase is not much. The company suggested that even though c35% of its user base owned smartphones, only c30% were on 3G/4G. Separately management expects the decline in data tariffs to (more…)

Just Dial Search Plus Monetisation Hit Hurdles, Omni ERP in Focus

JustDial Search PlusJust Dial’s management has been talking about opportunities in “Search Plus” (hyperlocal transaction enablement) offerings for quite some time. Management has indicated difficulty in monetisation of Search Plus transactions. We also have concerns on monetisation of Search Plus, given the bandwidth necessary to manage a large number of offerings (over 25) and competition from several vertical specialist companies.

In the last couple of months, the focus seems to have shifted more towards its mini-ERP offering for small and medium sized merchants—JD Omni. JD Omni is synergistic in the sense that it targets the core classifieds business customer base (mid-to-small sized merchants) to a large extent. On the other hand, it represents a completely different business model for the company (a software product business vs the current listing services business). And the company’s ability to cope with this different business model has yet to be tested.

While there are several products (more…)

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