2013 was an eventful year for online commerce in India. From Internet retail to real estate to travel to online learning, each sector saw startups, heavy investments, shutdowns, legal issues and more. Here is a brief roundup of what all went around in this year.
The Funding Fever
The investment action was high this year, particularly in the categories like online retail, eLearning, digital services and mobile Internet. In the first three quarters of 2013, total amount of disclosed funding raised in the first 3 quarters was over USD 770 Mn, this is excluding the investments made during acquisitions.
- Indian mPOS service provider Mswipe raised its first round of funding from Matrix Partners in January.
- Flipkart broke records with its funding round closing at USD 360 Mn in Q4.
- Zomato raised USD 10 Mn and USD 37 Mn, in March and November respectively.
- eLearning platform Simplilearn raised 10 Mn in Q3
The Shutdown Scenario
All was not good for the online business world in India in 2013. Even when some companies were getting funded and were growing, others were getting shut down due to one or the other reason. The most recent being the online music streaming platform Dhingana, however any official disclosures on this have not yet been made by the company. Others in the shutdown league are
- Delhi based Chhotu.in, which provided last mile delivery solutions to eCommerce. The startup was launched in June 2011 with an initial investment of INR 5 lakh.
- Fashion and You shut down online beauty retailer Urban Touch that it had acquired for a reported USD 30 Mn.
- Rock.in was a prominent eCommerce player in India which closed down its operations.
- Timtara.com shut down in May as well. it was getting a hard time to operate after its operators Arindam Bose (Director) and Harish Ahluwalia (COO) got arrested.
The Marketplace Madness
India saw a wave of new marketplaces opening up or entering the Internet Retail ecosphere.
- Flipkart launched its own marketplace
- India became the 10th country in which Amazon had launched its online marketplace
- State Bank of India too opened its shop online.
- Reliance launched a marketplace, only for its users
The Bad and Ugly
- In July Naaptol’s one of the warehouses located in Bowenpally (Hyderabad) was raided by Legal Metrology Department under which INR 1.26 crore worth of goods were seized.
- In another mishap in the same month, Homeshop18’s warehouse at Pataudi, near Gurgaon caught fire where the company lost several crores worth of goods.
- Shopclues’ founder Sandeep Aggarwal was arrested by FBI agents in July on the charges of insider trading.
- Arrest of Timtara’s promoter on the charges of serial online fraud.
The Good and Noteworthy
- In one of the largest public issue of the year, JustDial went for an IPO in May to raise INR 822-950 Cr. The IPO was subscribed 50% at the end of the first day of its opening.
- Flipkart launched its online payment gateway, PayZippy to allow card payments for domestic merchant websites and mobile sites.
- India climbed to position 3 in terms of Internet Population across the world.
- Housing.co.in bought Housing.com domain and a premium number for USD 1 Mn
- Great Online Shopping Festival, the 4 day online shopping festival created a buzz on different websites in India. Originally meant to be 3 days long, the event, was extended due to the overwhelming customer response.
That concludes the year with so many ups and downs for the entire industry. It could be hoped that year 2014 turns out to be great for this bustling ecosystem.
Happy New Year from the iamWire Team!
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