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Only a handful of startups can boast of the coveted unicorn tag today. With the title, however, comes the pressure to excel. We asked Pranay Chulet, Founder and CEO, Quikr, how he manages to handle the pressure of his venture being one of the key players in this space, and took a peek into his past to better understand the roots of his entrepreneurial journey.
Evolution of an Idea from Film-making
The whole thing started when I was busy making an indie film in the US for which I had recruited the entire cast and crew on Craigslist. I had some scenes to shoot in Delhi and while casting for them, I realized there was no dominant platform like Craigslist in India. During my time in the US, I had witnessed up close how Craigslist had disrupted the classifieds market there and felt the need for it in India too.
The challenges here were different though. People weren’t used to online transactions and there was a lot of hand-holding required to build trust between buyers and seller. To overcome this, we initially positioned ourselves as a handshake platform that allowed people to connect online and transact offline. Fast-forward to where we are today and we’ve become India’s largest classifieds platform and have now stepped up our game further to enable our consumers to complete the entire transaction cycle online.
Motive Behind Expansion into Different Classified Territories
We were already India’s largest horizontal online classifieds platform. Over time, we had started witnessing a large number of transactions across multiple categories as people became more accepting of digital as a medium. As a result, we decided to verticalize our business to go deeper into each of our key categories and offer our consumers a richer experience with our platform.
We have five focused verticals now: QuikrC2C for goods, QuikrCars for cars and bikes, QuikrHomes for residential and commercial properties, QuikrJobs for blue/grey collar jobs and QuikrServices for daily and long term services needs. We have been enhancing our product and service portfolio with a deep dive into each of these and are the only cross category classifieds platform in India and globally to do so.
Pressure of Being a Unicorn
As a cross-category classifieds business we are very well positioned and each of our verticals benefit from strengths of the other to create organic growth. Our business is doing very well, our revenue is growing fast and the questions we ask ourselves are more along the lines of what innovations we can bring to market and how quickly we can monetize them.
Fund Raising Mantra
We’ve done previous rounds of fund raising for business growth, marketing and bringing the best quality talent here at Quikr. We are well capitalized for our needs and are not looking to raise capital.
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An attractive market always has opportunities. More players in the market are always a testimony to the growth of the industry itself.
Acquisition and Hiring Strategy
We believe in acquiring good assets at a fair price. We’ve made acquisitions with only one purpose - in order to strengthen our leadership in our five verticals. These acquisitions are now creating more value within the Quikr ecosystem and offering our consumers a wider range of innovative products. While evaluating a potential acquisition, we look at the synergies it has with one/more of our businesses, and as importantly, the cultural fit of the team with the overall Quikr team. We continue to bring in a mix of both freshers and experienced professionals based on our evolving business needs. In addition to skill sets, we also look at the cultural fit while hiring.
Quikr in the Next Two Years
Quikr is in a fantastic place today. Our strategy of building five verticals on top of the core foundation of Quikr has played out extremely well. Not just in India but even globally, we are the only classifieds company to have done this at this scale. Our focus now is on aggressively growing our five businesses, finding more and more consumers for each of them from within the other four, further strengthening our market leadership in each of them, and continuing to grow our revenue fast.
This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (August 2016 Issue).