Industry Archives: E-Commerce


Publishing Paywall Technology Acquisition Opportunity (SaaS model) in the US

The Company has a Paywall-as-a-Service offering for Web publishing (text/print and video) and is available for acquisition. This US based company is a full SaaS offering, making it very easy for a content publishers to monetize their content by deploying a tiered paywall-based content strategy over their various properties with no expertise, no infrastructure, and no upfront costs. Customers simply add a few lines of code into their Websites, identify which content is behind the paywall, and how to bill (cost per article, first 10 views free, etc.), and they are up and running with a revenue-generating premium content strategy in minutes.

As a Paywall-as-a-Service solution the Company takes care of authentication, billing, etc. in a revenue share model with its publisher (text and video content) clients. The Company currently has on over 75 websites across 30 publishers as customers in a recurring, monthly revenue model.

Deal Contact:
Peter Benedict
Managing Partner
Bois Capital
Follow Me Google Voice: +1-908-242-0829
[email protected]

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E-Commerce website in India – Recharge, Corporate Travel and much more

The Company a fast growing company providing web portal development, software development, e-branding and customized SMS solutions. It was founded in April 2009 as a proprietorship firm and obtained its Private limited status in Nov 2009 under the Companies act 1956. The Company is an ISO 9001:2008 certified company.
The Company mainly provides one stop solutions for clients helping them to attain their business goals with respect to all utilities such as travel, bill pay, recharge and much more.

The Company currently has five main Core areas of Business:
1. – (B2B) (Introduced only in FY 2014-15)
Works on a Franchise Model. is a B2B platform created with the aim of easy and fast distribution of e-services. Extended Business Support, Technological advancements, Single Wallet Solution, Multiple platform access, Wider range of services, Transparent Business Policies, etc are few USPs which obviously makes Martgem a preferred choice for channel partners. Services we sell includes Mobile Recharges / Top Ups, Air Tickets (Domestic / International ), Bus Tickets, PAN Card, DTH Sales etc. India’s first online platform to have Ticketing, recharges, Bill pay in a single portal.

3. – (B2C) provides quality service in online Mobile Recharge for Prepaid, Postpaid, DTH, Data Card Recharge, Data Card Bill Payment, Landline Bill Payment, Online Smart Gas Booking, Insurance Bill Payment, Electricity Bill Payment etc.

4. Recharge – Distribution (B2B)
Sales of Recharge as Distributor to another Distributor Partner or a Retail Partner.

5. (B2B)
Messagewala has been innovating its solutions to stand ahead in the market as leader. We offer integrated cloud communication solutions across the SMS, Voice & E-mail platform. The platform is integrated with unique innovations enabling the enterprises to access the services effortlessly.
The infrastructure is reliable and robust and have enabled to deliver the highest SLAs and service reliability, available in the market today. Messagewala serves as the backbone of communication system for more than 1000 enterprise customers.

Key Financial Indicators
(All info in USD Million)
Particulars FY 2012-13 FY 2013-14 FY 2014-15
(unaudited –
Turnover 4.50 8.90 16.47
% increase 100% 97%
Gross Margin 2% 5% 9%
Net Margin 0.33% 1.4% 2-3%
The reason for lower margin is non-promotion capability of the retailer business. Increasing marketing strategies through help of PE funding like its competitors such as,, etc. and further adding on of travel sector (ticketing and Hotel bookings) would increase the margin substantially. It is to be noted all the above competitors and many more players are PE funded projects only.

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Report: Goldman Sachs invested $8 million in Russian flight ticket booking site Onetwotrip

East-West Digital News
Goldman Sachs invested $8 million in, a Moscow-based startup that sells air tickets and hotel bookings to users from Russia and several European countries.
The capital injection was not publicly announced when took place in late 2014, but it was revealed last week by Russian business daily Kommersant, which cited sources close to the deal.
Onetwotrip’s valuation remains unknown, but an investor with knowledge of the company told Kommersant that it could amount to “several hundreds of million dollars.” The company, which according to its founder Peter Kutis turned profitable just one year after launch in 2011, is still growing in spite of the economic crisis, said this investor.
Last year, according to Onetwotrip’s competitor Ozon Travel, the Russian flight ticket booking market reached 230 billion rubles (nearly $6 billion at the average 2014 exchange rate). An estimated 20% to 30% of this amount was generated online, with an extremely slow growth rate from the previous year.
In August 2014 Onetwotrip sold around 10,000 tickets every day, according to Kutis.
In 2012, Onetwotrip initially raised $9 million from Phenomen Ventures, a fund with Russian roots, and $16 million from Atomico. The UK fund hailed the site as “the most efficient, elegant and innovative travel service not only in Russia, but anywhere in the world.”
Indeed Onetwotrip provides travellers with a number of smart features. These include an intelligent search system of prices, flight options and routes; statistics of the flight delays for every particular destination/airline; information on airplane model and age as well as on distances between the seats.
The Russian startup started international expansion in 2013, after acquiring US hotel booking startup DealAngel. That same year, Kutis announced IPO plans “for 2014,” but market slowdown and deteriorated international climate obviously prevented him to reach this goal.
Kutis declined to answer EWDN’s questions.
This story first appeared in East-West Digital News, a leading online resource on Russian digital industries.

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Russia’s Ulmart shops around with Hong Kong on IPO schedule

Wall Street Journal
The Hong Kong stock exchange, once one of the world’s top venues for IPOs, hasn’t been on the shopping lists of foreign companies for a long time. But a listing plan by a Russian ecommerce retailer could put it back in the fray.

Once a market that drew foreign companies from Italian fashion house Prada SpA in 2011 to Russian commodity firms seeking to play up their popularity among spend-thrift Chinese consumers, Hong Kong hasn’t seen a major non-Chinese company listing for at least three years.

Some Japanese firms, such as Fast Retailing Co., operator of the Uniqlo casual-clothing store, and e-commerce services provider econtext Asia Ltd. have listed in the past couple of years, but they haven’t raised much funds, or in Fast Retailing’s secondary listing, none at all.
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Grofers, An On-Demand Delivery Service For Indian Cities, Raises $10M From Sequoia And Tiger Global

Large marketplaces like Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Amazon are benefitting as India turns into one of the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce markets, but many brick-and-mortar stores are missing out on the boom. A startup called Grofers wants to help local shops by not only providing them with a mobile platform for their inventory, but also facilitating on-demand delivery within 90 minutes.

Grofers’ business strategy is ambitious, but the startup just got a vote of confidence in the form of a $10 million series A round led by Sequoia Capital (a returning investor) and Tiger Global. This brings its total raised so far to $10.5 million.

Co-founder Albinder Dhindsa tells TechCrunch that the capital will allow the service, which is currently available in Delhi and Mumbai, to expand into more cities, with Bangalore first on the list. Grofers will also improve its technology to make it easier for merchants to upload and manage their goods.
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TinyOwl Lands $16M To Expand Its Food Delivery Service To 50 Cities In India

India-based food ordering service TinyOwl has raised a $16 million Series B round to fund an aggressive plan to reach 50 cities in the country, TechCrunch has learned. TinyOwl co-founder and CEO Harshvardhan Mandad disclosed details in an email to staff earlier this month. The company initially denied the round, but has since confirmed it to TechCrunch. The capital was provided by Matrix Partners and existing investors Sequoia Capital and Nexus Venture Partners. TinyOwl raised $1 million in August 2014. It added a $3 million Series A round in December.

It’s been public knowledge that TinyOwl was raising fresh funding. Last month, Mandad told VC Circle that he was in discussions over a $5 million raise. Perhaps spurred by increased competition, TinyOwl has taken on a lot more capital and raised its targets — VC Circle reported plans to expand to four new cities in the next six months — accordingly.

TinyOwl’s service allows customers to order take-out via its iOS and Android apps. It launched in March 2014 and is currently available in Mumbai only, however Mandad explained in the email that the aim is to take the service to over 50 cities in India before the end of the year. Another target, he wrote, is to pass 50,000 daily orders per day before the end of the year — that would be a big jump on its current daily order rate of 3,000-5,000.

The young startup has witnessed the competition intensify lately. Rocket Internet-backed Food Panda entered India via the acquisition of TastyKhana last year, and this month it snapped domestic rival Just East as part of a glut of global acquisitions. In addition, food discovery service Zomato — which has global reach and raised over $110 million from investors — will launch a food order service in India next month, and has allocated $50 million to build the business.
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Wooplr Lands $5 Million For Its Fashion Discovery Service In India

Wooplr, a startup that is aiming to ignite social commerce in India, has closed a $5 million Series A funding round from Helion Ventures to expand its team and grow across the country.

Bangalore-based Wooplr started out as a social network for sharing fashion photos, but it has evolved into a discovery platform for fashion enthusiasts. It was founded in March 2013 by four ex-McAfee colleagues — Arjun Zacharia, Soumen Sarkar, Praveen Rajaretnam and Ankit Sabharwal — and previously raised a $225,000 seed round.

“We aim to deliver on the promise of social commerce — providing the right product, to the right user, at the right time,” Rajaretnam told TechCrunch in an interview.

Wooplr doesn’t let users buy items directly from its service (yet). Instead it lets users post pictures of their outfits, which are then surfaced and showcased to others, who are also given details of where they can go to buy them — both online and at offline outlets near them.
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Russian e-commerce leader Ulmart plans IPO in 2016

Ulmart, Russia’s leading e-commerce company, confirmed today its plan to go public next year in a yet-to-be-determined Western stock exchange, the company’s chairman and co-owner Dmitry Kostygin told Russian business daily RBC.
Ulmart is thus considering raising $1 billion or more in exchange for 25% of the company’s shares. Advisers for the IPO could be appointed in the next few months.
The company initially planned to go public in 2015, as announced in March of last year, based on a valuation of up to $3 billion. Obviously, the degradation of the international climate which followed the Ukrainian crisis led the company to postpone the operation. However, one year after this premature announcement, Ulmart has consolidated its leadership position on the still-growing Russian e-commerce market and believes it is able to present convincing figures to potential investors.
In spite of the currently negative attitude of many international investors towards Russia, Ulmart seems so confident that it is now considering a valuation of no less than $5 billion to $6 billion, based on a preliminary estimate by JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley.
In 2014, Ulmart outperformed average market growth with its sales revenues reaching $1.3 billion in 2014 (not including VAT), up 50% from the previous year, according to preliminary company estimates.
A fraction (up to 30%) of Ulmart’s sales is generated by what it calls “cybermarkets.” These are physical venues where customers may make their purchases on a computer with screens that display an almost unlimited virtual storage area — which leaves open the question of whether or not this part of Ulmart’s sales should be considered as online or offline sales. The company operates 27 such cybermarkets, with fast expansion throughout Russia’s regions.

Ulmart's Cybermarkets

In Ulmart’s “cybermarkets,” customers make their purchases via computer screens in a super modern environment.

The company initially focused on computers, home electronics and household appliances, which remain the main sources of revenues. However, the site’s catalog now displays virtually everything from perfume and cosmetics, to pet goods and car parts. Last year, Ulmart also began selling air tickets and hotel bookings as well as digital content, having invested more than $20 million in music platform Zvooq and e-book company Bookmate.
On the logistics side, Ulmart has three main dispatching warehouses, three urban fulfilment centers, 238 pickup points and a fleet of 170 vehicles.
The company hopes to continue growth this year in spite of the expected slowdown of the Russian e-commerce market. “Since the main part of our flat costs will remain unchanged, our EBITDA could reach 6% (6 billion rubles) and our profit 2% (2 billion rubles),” believes Kostygin. At current exchange rates, these figures would correspond to more than $90 million and $30 million, respectively.
Last year, according to a research study by East-West Digital News and Data Insight, the Russian online retail market increased by 27% in rubles (to 660 billion) but just 5% in US dollars (to $17 billion). These preliminary estimates take into account neither cross-border sales ($5 billion) nor hotel bookings.
Sources: Ulmart, RBC.RU, Daily Telegraph

  • East-West Digital News publishes in-depth studies on the Russian e-commerce market, including a full set of market data and case studies on leading market players in the domestic and cross-border segments. To receive an executive summary at no charge, please contact us at [email protected]

This story first appeared in East-West Digital News, a leading online resource on Russian digital industries.

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Indian E-Commerce Marketplace ShopClues Lands $100M Round Led By Tiger Global

money cash There’s more funding for e-commerce companies in India today, after ShopClues — a startup that led the adoption of the marketplace model in the country — closed a $100 million Series D round. Read More

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European Online Optician Mister Spex Picks Up $40M Round Led By Goldman Sachs

Mister Spex, the European ‘online optician’ (that’s an eyewear online retailer, to you and me), has picked up a new $40 million round in funding led by U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs.

The Berlin-based company’s existing backers also participated, including Scottish Equity Partners, XAnge, and DN Capital, while the fresh capital will be used to support Mister Spex’s “domestic and international growth plans”.

The site is currently active in Germany, Austria, France, UK and Spain, along with Sweden via a 2013 acquisition of online eyewear stores Lensstore and Loveyewear. It claims to be the largest in Europe.

A typical e-commerce play, Mister Spex lets customers buy a range of eyewear online, including designer glasses, sunglasses and contact lenses, besting traditional bricks ‘n’ mortar stores with more competitive pricing afforded by it through economies of scale and moving the shopping experience online. A good comparison might be what Amazon has done to bookstores.
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