A great milestone for IndiaMART; a win for the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Today, we celebrate the IPO of our first Indian investment – IndiaMART – and are delighted to have been a part of the journey with the founders Dinesh and Brijesh Agarwal.
IndiaMART, based in Noida, is the largest online marketplace for goods and services in India, connecting 83 million buyers with over 5.5 million suppliers, selling everything from industrial plant and machinery to garments and medical products.
At the time of our investment in 2016, IndiaMART had 1.8 million suppliers and 14 million buyers. It now has a 60% market share in B2B digital classifieds, which has a total addressable market of $1.8 billion.
In 2015 when we entered the Indian market, VC investment in B2C companies was at frenzied levels. We believed at the time, that the B2B market was an even more attractive space to invest in given that it was larger than B2C and was not being focused on by investors. Our call to lead a round in IndiaMART was viewed as contrarian as it was a B2B company and one that had been around for 20 years, whose founders were not seen as having embraced the digital economy.
We saw things differently. We saw founders who had built a strong business having pivoted several times along the way surviving near death experiences. These founders were determined to build a company not on unsustainable customer discounts but rather to create a business for small merchants who relied on IndiaMART to procure business on a pan-Indian basis. A business that allowed smaller merchants to match the visibility that big companies had with their digital presence.
I still recall the first due diligence meeting Andrea and I had with the company. We were supposed to spend 90 mins with them; instead we spent over 12 hours culminating with a late dinner that convinced us that we had found a team that knew the market well enough to build a company of scale. The depth of this management team was evident if one was patient and chose to go beyond glibness and buzzword bingo that investors tend to chase.
IndiaMART’s IPO, oversubscribed 36 times, was a pure secondary offering of shares because the company enjoys increasing operating leverage and has high cashflow efficiency. We have chosen to tender a small portion of our shares to create liquidity and remain enthusiastic about the long-term potential in the business.
IndiaMART is an example of a technology platform ideally suited to an emerging market – the focus of Amadeus’ ‘Digital Prosperity’ funds. SMEs are the backbone of the Indian economy and with the spread of internet access and computing power, IndiaMART has been able to build an online service that reaches across the world’s fifth largest economy by GDP to enable small enterprises to access goods and services reliably and at scale.