oppn parties Shake Up in Ecommerce Marketplaces & Startups

News Snippets

  • Amit Panghal becomes first Indian male to win silver at the World Boxing Championships
  • "Gully Boy" to be India's entry for the Oscars
  • Rajeev Kumar called an "absconder" by the CBI
  • Alipore court refuses to grant anticipatory bail to Rajeev Kumar
  • Trump likely to sign a mini trade deal with India next week
  • Government planning a loan mela to cover 400 districts in two phases
  • PM Modi says Kashmiris need a hug from all Indians
  • NPA tag will not be put on any MSME till March 20
  • Government likely to announce another economic stimulus package today ahead of the GST Council meet in Goa
  • Air Marshall RKS Bhadauria, slated to retire just a few days from now, to be the next chief of IAF
  • PM Modi slams politicians from his own party who are making irresponsible statements on the Ayodhya case and tells them to wait for the Supreme Court order
  • Telecom panel says resident welfare associations (RWA) cannot give monopoly access to any one service provider and infrastructure in public spaces and residential complexes will have to be shared by all
  • Mamata Banerjee meets Amit Shah, tells him there is no need for an NRC in Bengal
  • After 14 days, there is no hope left for reviving Vikram, the moon lander
  • CBI teams search for elusive Rajeev Kumar
Election Commission announces elections in Maharashtra and Haryana on October 21. Counting and results on October 24. Bypolls, including for 15 seats in Karnataka, will be held simultaneously
oppn parties
Shake Up in Ecommerce Marketplaces & Startups

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The ecommerce and startup space is readying itself for another round of acquisitions, amalgamations and mergers. As too many players have entered the market with the same faulty deep-discount-backed-by-heavy-advertising model, they are all chasing the same set of buyers with almost the same products. Not all of them have deep pockets and investors are not willing to fund their misadventures any more. Hence, the smallest ones or the weakest ones have closed operations while those who think they can find buyers at a decent price are looking for suitors. With the going getting tough, the tough are not getting going but the weak are capitulating. The consolidation that is taking place augurs well for the long term health of the sector.

Snapdeal is alleged to be looking for open arms from either Flipkart or Amazon. Earlier, it had closed down exclusively.com, a premier fashion and lifestyle marketplace it had acquired just 18 months ago, as a standalone platform by integrating it with itself. Shopclues is wishing to merge with Alibaba. Voonik has acquired three small startups this year. Ola has dumped the Taxi for Sure (TFS) platform after acquiring and putting it up on its app. The integration has been completed by shrewdly launching the economic Ola Micro and obviating the need of a separate TFS economy model. This will result in 700 employees being laid off. Askmebazar.com has temporarily suspended operations, but it is a clear indication that the platform is going down under as investor interest is zero and funds are not available. The problems of GoJavas, at one time the in-house logisitics partner of Jabong are well documented. It was spun off by Jabong as an independent logistics firm after which Snapdeal got into it. But with both Jabong and Snapdeal having stopped using GoJavas, the company first suspended operations and has not got a new investor in Pigeon Express (P) Ltd, a logistics service provider. Maybe the synergy with Pigeon’s current operations might rescue GoJavas but ecommerce logistics providers have certain bad habits (excess employees and other overheads) which Pigeon will have to take care of.

These are troubled times for both startups and established ecommerce players. Investors are increasingly looking for a solid revenue model and exciting new use of technology just for the sake of it is not getting the thumbs up. Timeframe for turning profitable is being demanded. It is good this is happening now as it will mean that henceforth only responsible managements will get funded and those trying the hit and miss formula will be refused politely. This will also mean that startups will spend more time with accountants than they have been doing till now. The time of falsely creating excitement around a business model by obfuscating its breakeven roadmap is now gone. Responsible budgeting, breakeven, profitability, prudent hiring, strategic and optimally priced acquisitions and smart and cost effective advertising are terms startups will have to familiarize with and use to keep a tight control on operation costs and show a healthy balance sheet to investors.