Infra.Market’s $100 million fundraise in February was striking for two reasons.

The five-year-old construction materials supplier’s $1 billion post-money valuation was a massive leap from the $170 million it had been worth after its previous funding round in November. More importantly, Infra.Market became the first unicorn from the dusty, unglamourous world of concrete and stones. 

Bolstered by the imprimatur of marquee investors such as Accel and Tiger Global Tiger Global The Ken The method to Tiger Global’s madness Read more , Infra.Market has found a way to get in on the action in India’s infrastructure industry. 

Making use of the idle capacities lying with around 300 manufacturers of construction goods, Infra.Market serves as a one-stop shop for infrastructure contractors looking for materials near their project sites. What’s more, it supplies them under its own brand, making Infra.Market more than a mere go-between. 

That, combined with its decision to cater exclusively to the construction industry, has vaulted it past B2B peers like Zetwerk, Moglix, Industrybuying, and OfBusiness.

Project management

Infra.Market has serviced large infrastructure projects such as the Kochi Metro, the 700-km Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway, and the Navi Mumbai International Airport.


Infra.Market, though, isn’t limiting itself to the B2B space. Already, it is leveraging its own brand in cement, steel, and granites, among others, to target homeowners through franchisee-run retail stores in tier-II cities. “You have to be ubiquitous. You can’t be a player only catering to large infra players,” says Prashanth Prakash, a partner at Accel. 

Infra.Market has 180-odd outlets right now, most of which are in the western state of Maharashtra. Fresh off its funding—the company has raised $144 million to date—the newly minted unicorn plans to take that number to 1,000 in the next 18 months, says co-founder Aaditya Sharda. Already, retail stores account for 20% of the company’s total revenue, with infrastructure projects accounting for the rest. The company’s objective is to get to a 50:50 split, says Sharda, who started Infra.Market with Souvik Sengupta in 2016. 

But expanding its two businesses within and beyond the six states it is operational won’t be straightforward. For instance, the biggest challenge with the infrastructure vertical is that it must be built one cluster at a time. “If you build a big business in Mumbai, on the supply side it will not benefit you in Kochi,” says Sumit Jain, a senior partner at Sistema Asia Capital, an investor in Infra.Market. “It’s not rinse and repeat.”

On the retail front, national and regional brands are a dime a dozen. In each category it enters, say, sanitaryware and electricals, Infra.Market must earn credibility from scratch and claw market share away from legacy brands.

AUTHOR

Seetharaman G

Starting out as a business journalist in 2008, Seetharaman has written about energy, climate change, retail, banking, and technology. He has worked with Business Today, a fortnightly, and the Sunday edition of The Economic Times.

View Full Profile

Available exclusively to subscribers of The Ken India

This story is a part of The Ken India edition. Subscribe. Questions?

MOST POPULAR

Annual Subscription

12-month access to 200+ stories, archive of 800+ stories from our India edition. Plus our premium newsletters, Beyond The First Order and The Nutgraf worth Rs. 99/month or $2/month each for free.

Rs. 2,750

Subscribe
 

Quarterly Subscription

3-month access to 60+ new stories with 3-months worth of archives from our India edition. Plus our premium newsletters, Beyond The First Order and The Nutgraf worth Rs. 99/month or $2/month each for free.

Rs. 1,750

Subscribe
 

Single Story

Instant access to this story for a year along with comment privileges.

Rs. 500

Subscribe
MOST POPULAR

Annual Subscription

12-month access to 150+ stories from Southeast Asia.

$ 120

Subscribe
 

Quarterly Subscription

3-month access to 35+ stories from Southeast Asia.

$ 50

Subscribe
 

Single Story

Instant access to this story for a year along with comment privileges.

$ 20

Subscribe

Questions?

What is The Ken?

The Ken is a subscription-only business journalism website and app that provides coverage across two editions - India and Southeast Asia.

What kind of stories do you write?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics.

We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

What do I get if I subscribe?

For subscribers of the India edition, we publish a new story every weekday, a premium daily newsletter, Beyond The First Order and a weekly newsletter - The Nutgraf.

For subscribers of the Southeast Asia edition, we publish a new story three days a week and a weekly newsletter, Strait Up.

The annual subscription will get you complete, exclusive access to our archive of previously published stories for your edition, along with access to our subscriber-only mobile apps, our premium comment sections, our newsletter archives and several other gifts and benefits.

Do I need to pay separately for your premium newsletters?

Nope. Paid, premium subscribers of The Ken get our newsletters delivered for free.

Does a subscription to the India edition grant me access to Southeast Asia stories? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

Do you offer an all-access joint subscription for both editions?

Not yet. If you’d like to access both editions, you’ll have to purchase two subscriptions separately - one for India and the other for Southeast Asia.

Do you offer any discounts?

No. We have a zero discounts policy.

Is there a free trial I can opt for?

We don’t offer any trials, but you can sign up for a free account which will give you access to the weekly free story, our archive of free stories and summaries of the paid stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

Do you offer refunds?

We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Please write to us at support@the-ken.com detailing the error or queries.