Getting Ratan Tata to invest in his portal is the high point of Amit Jain's entrepreneurial journey, which started in a garage in Bengaluru with his brother by his side and two laptops in 2007.
Tata has invested an undisclosed amount in GirnarSoft, the parent company which houses portals such as CarDekho, BikeDekho, Gaadi and PriceDekho. GirnarSoft is now valued at $300 million and Jain's ambition is to make it a mutli-billion dollar firm in the next five years. Of the businesses GirnarSoft houese currently, the first three are all related to automobiles while the last is a price comparison website like Amazon's property Junglee.com
Amit and his brother Anurag are both alumnii of IIT Delhi, went to the US to take up high paying jobs after completing engineering degrees but returned to India in 2007. "Ek keeda hota hai (there's this itch) lets do something......we were clear that we wanted to get on to the entrepreneurial journey," Amit Jain told Firstpost. Things did not fall in place from day one though. Jain admits that at least 10 of his business ideas initially did not click. These included a dummy stock market website after the global crash in 2008, a silver jewellery business where they wanted to sell authentic Indian pieces in the US. Each failure gave the brothers one learning or the other.
Even in the business which is now attracting attention, there is worthy competition in the form of carwale and cartrade. Jain claims his cardekho.com is the largest in the business since it has tieups with 1200 used car dealers, 1800 new car dealers and eight car manufacturers. He claims to sell 4,000 new cars through this portal each month.
Like competition, cardekho provides features, reviews, expert opinion for buyers and then also connects them to dealers to arrange for doorstep test drives. "The used car business is also growing exponentially. We run what can be called a large used car classified since our site provides authentic contact details of sellers and at any given point, we have 40,000-50,000 used car listings on our site." But there is no physical verification of used cars as of now.
GirnarSoft, the parent CarDekho.com, is now valued at $300 million. It recently concluded series B funding by raising $50 million from Hillhouse Capital with participation from Tybourne Capital and Sequoia Capital.
Jain said the funds coming in through funding will be used to step up his company's marketing and brand building activities besides almost doubling the workforce in a year. He also hinted at a few acquisitions to expand the business.
CarDekho.com’s revenue has grown three-fold since 2013 when the company received series A funding of $15 million from Sequoia Capital. Traffic grew 45% over previous year; CarDekho.com had acquired another popular automotive portal, Gaadi.com late last year to beef up its used car portfolio.
Jain says his business was profitable since 2007 but 2014 was the first year when GirnarSoft posted a loss, as the company decided to invest heavily in brand building and marketing. Tata's funds and money coming in from other VCs now could help the company swing back to profit pretty soon.
Updated Date: Feb 09, 2015 12:19:28 IST