MUMBAI (StartName) – Indian online classifieds portal Quikr has secured $60 million from backers led by U.S. investor Tiger Global Management LLC to boost product development and expand its mobile business, the company said on Wednesday.
Indian online businesses, especially e-retailers, have been a favorite for global investors who are betting on the segment’s growth in a country which already has the world’s third-largest population of Internet users, even though less than a fifth of its 1.3 billion people have access to the web.
Tiger Global – part hedge fund, part private equity – is one of a growing number of Wall Street financiers eyeing technology start-ups who have yet to list on the market.
It is a new investor in India’s Quikr, which said current investors had also participated in the latest fundraising. These include Warburg Pincus, Omidyar Network, eBay Inc, Kinnevik, Matrix Partners India, Nokia Growth Partners and Norwest Venture Partners.
India’s Internet use is growing fast, particularly as cheaper smartphones boom. Rising income levels and a young population have also fueled a surge in the e-commerce sector.
Nomura analysts estimated in a note in July that the Indian e-commerce industry could quadruple from $10 billion in 2013 to $43 billion over the next five years, driven by online retail.
Flipkart, India’s largest online retailer, raised $1 billion in July to scale up and counter increasing competition from Amazon.com Inc. Another online retailer, Snapdeal also raised $100 million this year from five investors, including Singapore’s Temasek Holdings [TEM.UL].
Quikr says it has more than 30 million monthly consumer and small businesses who use the portal to sell, buy or rent products or services. Its main competitor is OLX Inc.
(Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Clara Ferreira Marques)