Lightbox bets big on niche eCommerce, invests INR 50 crore in Zoomin
Zoomin is a Mumbai based online service that enables customers to store, share, and print their digital photos easily and in a cost effective manner. It was founded by Sunny Balijepalli in 2007 (he had earlier co-founded Half.com, which was acquired by eBay for $350 million in 2000). Zoomin has raised more than $13.5 million (INR 80 crores) in funding till date and most recently has raised a fresh round of INR 50 crores from Lightbox Ventures with participation from First Round Capital and Gund Investments.
Lightbox has expressed its interest in niche eCommerce and that is what prompted further investment into Zoomin.This round of funding has also financed the acquisition of San Francisco based Photojojo that sells mobile photography-related gear (like phone lenses for iPhone and Android devices, time lapse cameras, lapel mics, etc). Photojojo was founded in 2005 by Amit Gupta and over the last 9 years, has managed to create a community of more than 2 million users. This community subscribes to Photojojo newsletter and engages on social media platforms. Photojojo has a team of 20 which will be integrated with Zoomin. The combined venture is expected to reach INR 180 crore in revenue in the coming fiscal year.
Sandeep Murthy, the Managing Partner at Lightbox works very closely with the Zoomin team and told us about the investment thesis. “I can’t stress enough on the power of content+niche eCommerce and Zoomin has been able to build this very well in India. Photojojo has done it in the US and a few other markets, this synergy will help form a more potent combination,” says Sandeep. He also hinted towards the rise of phonography- phone+photography. Users have started using their phone as the primary photography device and this trend will only get stronger.
With niche eCommerce, having a tightly knit online community becomes the key. If a user is coming to a niche eCommerce site, you can know for sure what he or she is interested in and if the experience is good enough, one can be confident of retaining the user. This is the advantage with niche eCommercce website. Zoomin plays in the photography domain with mobile as a focus. Its Photo Prints app also recently crossed the 1 million print mark and is catching on momentum. The fresh round of funding and the acquisition will help Zoomin to penetrate deeper into the Indian market and spread its wings overseas, especially the US.