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Zomato, Policybazaar & many others: InfoEdge’s internet gambit

Its eyes are set on the biggest gambit -- internet companies in India. Starting from jobs, education, matrimonial and real estate, apart from food delivery and insurance, InfoEdge has or has invested in an array of internet companies

InfoEdge has investments in a range of internet companies InfoEdge has investments in a range of internet companies

Nobody sees them, but they are everywhere

As company after company is rushing to get listed on the bourses, the one firm that seems to be enjoying from behind the scenes is InfoEdge. Two of its investee companies, Zomato that already launched its IPO and Policybazaar that is eyeing its IPO before year-end, have come into the focus of investors. InfoEdge, founded by GlaxoSmithKline alum Sanjeev Bikhchandani, placed its bets on these companies long before anyone knew them.

To its credit, InfoEdge is not only placed to pick a big slice of the scrumptious IPO pie, it also has a range of diverse companies in its portfolio. But its eyes are set on the biggest gambit -- internet companies in India. Starting from jobs, education, matrimonial and real estate, apart from food delivery and insurance, InfoEdge has or has invested in an array of internet companies.

Woke up early

It was instrumental in giving a boost to Zomato and Policybazaar as an early investor around 10 years ago. Bikhchandani and Mohit Bhatnagar from Sequoia Capital foresaw the future of food delivery and invested in Zomato. When InfoEdge first invested in the company, it was called Foodiebay. It transformed into Zomato in 2010.

InfoEdge has 18.4 per cent stake in the food delivery platform. Ahead of the IPO, InfoEdge reduced its offer for sale (OFS) size from Rs 750 crore to Rs 375 crore. The company said that it does not want to sell its entire stake at Zomato and plans to continue to invest in the Deepinder Goyal-helmed company.

Zomato became a unicorn in February 2018. In its IPO that was held from July 14 to July 16, the issue was subscribed 38.25 times and is set to raise Rs 9,375 crore.

They know who are smart

As for Policybazaar, Bikhchandani invested in the company in 2008. While there was not much to go by in terms of the platform, a meeting with co-founder Yashish Dahiya was enough to seal the deal. “In my meeting with Yashish in 2008, he made a bold claim that he was willing to make a wager that I was paying 60 per cent more for my car insurance than I need have,” said Bikhchandani in a testimonial for Policybazaar. He said that the team was solving a real customer problem. Bikhchandani said that the Policybazaar team came with such a strong pedigree and at such an early stage that it was “essential” for them to support the team. It became an unicorn in July 2018.

The insurance company said that it hosts 100 million visitors a year seeking information on insurance. Over 6 lakh policies are sold every month, and every second term policy is sold through their platform.

More recently, InfoEdge said in a regulatory filing that its subsidiary Makesense Technologies will amalgamate with PB Fintech Pvt Ltd operated by Policybazaar.

And have a strong portfolio

As it continues to bet big on internet companies, the obvious question that arises is if InfoEdge will be able to recreate the magic of Zomato and Policybazaar. Apart from these two, InfoEdge’s investee companies include Happily Unmarried, Vacation Labs, Big Stylist, Rare Media Company, Coding Ninjas, Adda 247, Medcords, Shop Kirana, Unnati Helpers, mydala.com, No Paper Forms, Univariety, Gramophone, Printo, Shipsy and more. In January last year, Aakash Educational Services Limited said it acquired Applect Learning Systems (Meritnation) for Rs 100 crore. Akash has since been inducted in the Byju’s universe for a cash-and-stock deal of $1 billion.

InfoEdge's bet on internet firms

Extending its interest in the education segment, InfoEdge invested in Coding Ninjas and Adda247. Coding Ninjas offers coding lessons in order to better prepare and upskill job applicants, while Adda247 is a test preparation platform that prepares candidates for government exams like banking, SSC, railways, UPSC, defence, teaching and more. No Paper Forms is a platform for institutes to streamline their admission and enrolment requirements. Univariety is a career counselling platform for students.

Moving to consumers, ShopKirana is a B2B commerce company that works with a network of millions of retailers. They aim to be the biggest and quickest go-to-market channel for products and services. Full-stack technology platform Gramophone aims to make farming intelligent with the help of agri-knowledge and technology. They work with farmers right from the pre-sowing stage to selling produce. Shipsy is a software platform that helps companies manage their shipments.

InfoEdge also has Unnati Helpers, a tech-enabled employment exchange for the needy, coupon provider mydala.com, doctor web portal Medcords, and Printo, retail chain offering print and document services in its kitty.

The popular platform for fun, quirky products, Happily Unmarried, sells its items online as well as through retail outlets. The platform aims to target the youth for its range of items. Mint Bird Technologies’ Vacation Labs is a web-based booking system for tour operators. Green Leaves Consumer Services’ Big Stylist is an on-demand marketplace that gives customers access to a network of beauty professionals in their neighbourhood. Rare Media’s Bluedolph services provide secure employee location tracking and timekeeping for mobile workforces.

InfoEdge had earlier this month invested in logistics aggregator Shiprocket. The startup said that more than 1 lakh online sellers in India use its platform. “Anyone with a product to sell should be able to avail of Shiprocket’s suite of products and services at one click to get their business off-the-ground with an Amazon-like one-day delivery experience,” said Info Edge.

It only gets better

Along with the champion investee companies, InfoEdge also has a list of stellar consumer-driven platforms like naukri.com, jeevansathi.com, 99acres.com and shiksha.com. Naukri.com is an e-recruitment and classifieds site, while jeevansathi.com is a matrimonial site, 99acres.com a real estate site and shiksha.com is an online education classifieds site.

InfoEdge CFO Chintan Thakkar said that post COVID-19 real estate recovery was patchy but the education business continued to see a rise. However, the job listing business has been the biggest contributor of profits.

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