Sulekha Classifieds raises funds from leading PE’s – from GIC and Norwest Venture Partners for $28.1 million on 20th April 2015. Sulekha is one of the India’s largest and fastest growing digital business and consumer brands. The company transformed local services ecosystem through monetization platform that provides qualified leads to a vast number of small and medium business in major cities of India.
Chennai based Sulekha Classifieds was founded in 2000 by Satya Prabhakar; he is the Chief Executive Officer of the company. The company has developed unique, scalable digital platform that caters to an expanding local or digital or mobile customers. They have 24,000 location categories. The company has more than 16 million purchase oriented users, largest in the country. More than 2 million active local businesses have listed their services with the company.
Sulekha’s Founder Satya Prabhakar is technically and educationally qualified. He graduated in Bachelor of Technology in Electronics from National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirapalli in 1984. Satya did his Master of Science in Computer Sciences and Electrical Engineering from University of Florida in 1987. He has done Master of Business Administration in International Finance from Warrington College of Business Administration, University of Florida in 1989.
He started his career in 1985 as an Engineer in Philips Electronics and had brief stint with the company. Satya moved as Technical Advisor to TCS in 1986 and played vital role in initiating multiple technology projects in the domain of database integration and others. He worked with TCS for a year.
In 1989 he joined Honeywell as Senior Principal, led several projects as program manager and principal lead. He developed key technologies in the data integration, federated database management and few others. He worked with Honeywell close to 6 years and moved to AT & T as Senior Program Manager. In AT & T he was instrumental in the development and deployment of hosting and ecommerce platform to offer content and websites for customers on SaaS mode. He worked in the company for 4. 11 years and founded Sulekha.com in 2000
Norwest Venture Partners, Mitsui Group, Indigo Monsoon Group and GIC are the major investors in Sulekha.com. The company raised funds for $44.5 million till date. Series ‘A’ funding for $10 million in 2006 from Norwest Venture Partners, Indian Monsoon Group and Mitsui & Co. Series ‘B’ funding of $6.5 million in 2011 from Norwest Venture Partners and Japanese Mitsui Group. The company received their Series ‘C’ funding of $28 million from GIC and Norwest.
“We are pleased to add GIC to our investor group. Sulekha has architected a remarkably lucrative business model because of the immediacy, specificity and location-oriented nature of the user local service needs. Sulekha has been enjoying significant organic growth while being quite capital efficient, making it one of only a few digital companies in India that have been profitable.” Said Param Parameswaran, Chairman of Sulekha.com
“This investment by GIC and Norwest is a powerful endorsement of the vast potential of the local services opportunity in India and Sulekha’s ability to prosecute it successfully. Sulekha has cultivated deep expertise and built a sophisticated platform in 800+ local service categories including home/office services, coaching/training, health/lifestyle and property/rentals. Sulekha’s large base of user and businesses, unique IP, vast operational footprint, plus rapid migration to mobile are transforming the local services market.” Said Satya Prabhakar, Founder and Chief Executive Officer after funding.
Promod Haque, Norwest Venture Partners Senior Managing Partner said “Sulekha’s innovative digital platform allows users to fulfil their needs while providing a highly targeted and affordable avenue for small businesses to secure customers. Less than 10% of local businesses in India have ever advertised according to recent estimates. Sulekha is seizing an enormous opportunity in transforming how businesses find local customers and grow and we look forward to significant scale ahead.”
The funding will be used in expansion of Sulekha presence in local service spaces in 25 tier-II cities and strengthening the business matching algorithm, a built code that machinates the process of finding the best service provider for a user. Per Satya Prabhakar “There are several cities especially, tier-II cities where there are no effective solutions for local service needs. These include cities like Lucknow, Indore, Vijayawada and Vishakapatnam.”
Sulekha is an experience player in the local services segment, however another giant JustDial is offering similar services offers tough fight to the company. Also several niche players such as Housejoy.in also in fray of the services.