Quikr: Building an Empire Brick by Brick

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They say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Buy and sell made easy

When Pranay Chulet, moved back to India to start the country’s first homegrown online classifieds platform: Quikr, these were uncharted waters as Indians were used to being able to touch and feel what they were buying or selling. Quikr allowed people to do just that, by positioning it as a handshake platform where buyers and sellers could meet, chat, bargain, and strike deals. The Indian classifieds market which was largely dominated by print saw a shift with the entry of an online classifieds player like Quikr. The rising Internet population, evolving mindset of consumers, aggressive advertising and bullish investors since then have contributed to the exponential growth of this business in the last decade.

Continues to innovate for its consumers

It wasn’t too long before Quikr pioneered a unique service that proved to be a game changer: the Missed Call service to post an ad on behalf of its consumers. Back in the day, the Missed Call service helped reach out to a huge population with no access to technology and enabled them to use the platform to meet online and transact offline. In effect, the company gained a section of Quikr users, even before they were internet users.

Quikr followed the innovation streak with products such as Maximum Selling Price (MSP) calculator where buyers and sellers can ascertain a fair price range for their products, and, QuikrNxt which features a chat facility while maintaining the users’ privacy. Subsequently, Quikr brought the convenience of e-commerce to pre-owned goods by facilitating price negotiations, payment, pick-up and delivery, making it the first and only platform to complete all steps of the transaction online across the country. Its QuikrScanner app allows its customers to check the health of their mobile phone on 45+ parameters.

Deepened vertical focus

In another industry first, Quikr verticalized its business in 2015 and has become the only horizontal classifieds platform that has multiple vertical franchises tied together in high demand categories. It chose to build categories that have strong growth potential and today, Quikr’s combined addressable market accounts for 1/5th of the country’s GDP. Quikr’s leadership and revenue trajectory since then has validated that – its 5 verticals in C2C, Services, Cars, Homes, and Jobs have turned it into India’s true horizontal leader, with its leadership extending across traffic, listings, transactions, revenue as well as profitability status. The three of its five verticals are already cash flow positive.

Along with organic growth also came the inorganic growth that it planned meticulously to go deeper in each of the verticals. It acquired Babajob and Hiree in the jobs space; Zimmber, Salosa, Zapluk, and Stayglad in-home services; India Property, HDFC Realty, HDFC Red, Indian Realty Exchange, Realty Compass, Grabhouse and CommonFloor for its realty business and Stepni for car-related services. Each acquisition has created cross-selling opportunities for short-term and long-term needs of Quikr consumers, thus playing an important role in increasing business efficiency and boosting the company’s revenues.

Building transactions, growing revenue

Additionally, verticalization of the business allowed it to unlock a robust strategy of building transactional marketplaces across these verticals. It takes the responsibility of completing transactions for its customers in co-living, real estate brokerage, cars & bikes, goods, and beauty & home services, under Quikr Assured. Both classifieds and transactions part of the business are experiencing steep growth due to their symbiotic relationship. Excitingly, it has also created cross-selling opportunities for short term and long term needs of Quikr consumers.

Now, Quikr attracts about 30 million unique users a month and over 95 percent of this traffic is organically sourced. The company generated about $50 million in annualized cash revenue with year-on-year growth of 80 percent in the second half of the year 2018. It has been growing at 100% Y-o-Y over last 5 years. Efficient channeling of the user base to cross-sell across categories is fuelling Quikr’s break-even profitability.

Poised for growth

Quikr caters to the diverse set of consumer needs. The power of a diversified platform like Quikr is that while it attracts consumers in one area, they end up using Quikr in multiple adjacent areas as well. Quikr continues to innovate and expand the market by inducting a new generation of monthly unique visitors. With nearly half (47%) of India online and growing spending power of India’s millennial who believes in digital, shared, rented, pre-owned economy, Quikr will only see a similar level of growth for the next several years.

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