Described as the online flea market of India, ShopClues, once upon a time focused on catering to customers in Tier 2 and 3 cities of India. It then found the B2B business where it sold mundane items like tyres (in large quantities).
The e-commerce segment is getting crowded as the top two e-commerce companies in India—Flipkart and Amazon—look at entering these markets with affordable private labels and deep discounts. ShopClues, which raised its last round of capital in early 2016, has said that it will look to raise $50 million in a new round of capital by January 2018, ahead of its IPO bid.
Clues Network Pvt Ltd
As per MCA records
Helion Venture Partners
Nexus Venture Partners
Tiger Global Management LLC
What has ShopClues been up to?
The financial year has been eventful for the company which has managed to climb to the number three spot in the e-commerce race. This, as Snapdeal’s market share dwindles. It has launched multiple private brands in categories like fashion, home decor and electronics in partnership with manufacturers with zero inventory on its books. Tiding over a bitter battle on voting rights in the company, co-founder Radhika Aggarwal said that the company will focus on turning profitable by the first two quarters of FY 2017-18. ShopClues’ CEO Sanjay Sethi indicated that the company will explore a merger or an IPO by 2018.
In September 2017, the company raised money from Bennett Coleman & Company (BCCL), one of India’s largest media companies with a venture investing arm.
Rs 871.11 crore: The incurred accumulated losses by the company as on 31 March, 2017 according to the auditors. The company is relying on committed support from its holding company in the US, Clues Network Inc.
0: Yup. Zero. Nada. Nothing. A big round zero. This is the net worth of the company according to the statement by its auditor—BSR & Associates LLP—following the losses accumulated by the company. Disclosure in the financial statement of the company says, “The company has incurred accumulated losses amounting to Rs 871 crore as on 31 March, 2017 resulting in complete erosion of the net worth of the company.”
Rs 97.5 crore: How much BCCL has invested in ShopClues in an ad for equity deal in September 2017. The BCCL deal will help ShopClues offset its advertising costs for the year with access to various publication and broadcast networks owned by the investor. The company also cut down its advertising and marketing spends by Rs 2.7 crore in Financial Year 2016-17. During the festive season sale in October 2017, it went overboard launching TV commercials and Out-of-Home advertising, backed by BCCL’s investment.
Rs 180 crore: This is how much the company made in revenues from its technology support and advertising services for the 6 lakh sellers it has on the platform. Unlike its competitors, ShopClues functions on a marketplace model. The number was marginally higher than the revenues of FY 2015-16 which stood at Rs 161 crore.
Rs 163 crore: This is a curious item classified as service cost in the profit & loss statement, filed under miscellaneous expenses. In the previous year, ShopClues spent Rs 203 crore in service cost. It is not immediately clear what this item constitutes.
Rs 50.4 crore: Was the reduction in total loss over FY 2015-16. The losses stood at Rs 332.6 crore, a 5% dip from the previous year.
Rs 45.5 crore: The jump in employee benefit expenses witnessed by the company over the last year. This was due to an increase in the provident fund contribution by the company and other retirement benefits offered.
Where is the company headed?
The disclosure on the company’s financials makes it challenging for ShopClues to stay on the course for profitability. Coupled with resources spent on being Goods and Service Tax compliant for the company and to bring its sellers up to speed, the losses for FY 2017-18 are set to widen across the industry for all e-commerce companies. IPO looks like a distant dream for ShopClues which is open to a merger route if presented with an offer.