Dinesh Agarwal, Founder, IndiaMART InterMESH Ltd.

24th Jun 2010
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Dinesh Agarwal

With the constant motivation and support from his family and friends, Dinesh Agarwal inaugurated his dream organisation IndiaMART. YourStory had a conversation with Dinesh where he discussed about this roller coaster ride and his future plans.Tell us something about IndiaMART?

IndiaMART.com is India's largest online B2B marketplace connecting global buyers with suppliers through business directories, online product catalogs, buy-sell offers, industry specific marketplaces, printed media and trade shows participation. IndiaMART.com offers an extensive range of value-added products and services to its 700,000 registered members and nearly 5 million global buyers across various industries and verticals. IndiaMART.com is a platform where suppliers, mostly SMEs, register themselves and do business transactions over the business leads generated by IndiaMART.com.Our range of product listings cover almost every vertical like Apparel & Fashion Accessories, Auto Components & Spare Parts, Medical Pharma & Scientific equipments, Home Decor, Gifts & Crafts, Engineering & Industrial Products to name a few. We cover diverse fields in Indian manufacturing and export industry.

What is your target audeince?

Bulk Buyers, Bulk Suppliers, Manufacturers, Exporters, Service Providers, SMEs, MSMEs. There are more than 700,000 suppliers registered with the company for over 20,000 product categories.

What sets you apart?

IndiaMART is better than expensive / risky international marketing; physically traveling to global markets to find new buyers and other online B2B marketplaces & B2B trade platforms. It is targeted towards manufacturers, exporters, suppliers and service providers as it can generate higher & better business leads from all over the world. This is a result of visibility created for the SMEs/ MSMEs amongst the potential buyers from all over the world through India's largest, most visited and most reliable & recognized B2B marketplace 'IndiaMART.com'; search engine marketing and offering buyers a wide choice of suppliers from 20,000+ product categories.

Why did you want to be an entrepreneur?

When I was working for HCL in US, I already had an experience of around five to six years of working as a software engineer in the IT industry. Hailing from a business family, I was always keen on starting my own business and always had this question in my mind “Is there a possibility of owning a business based on the IT industry?” Thus, seeing a probable opportunity in this sector, I decided to move back to India for my own startup. I had my family's support throughout, though initially they were a little apprehensive about my venture as I left the job in US and came back to India. However, there were some people and a section of media which criticized us initially for our unusual business model. But I am thankful to our critics as their criticism motivated us and made us probably the only profitable company in the Internet business.

Any challengesso far?

Educating the SMEs about online business and our company's role in this sphere was the biggest challenge as people were unaware of this genre. Besides, we saw team building as another challenge initially. However, we have overcome these impediments seamlessly over the years and been profitable all throughout our existence so far.

What according to you is the biggest mistake you made?

By the grace of God, our journey has been a smooth one, barring some small concerns common to every business. Like any other venture, we also faced tough times but successfully swam through them with the determination and support inherent to IndiaMART family.

What lies in the future of IndiaMART?

In the near future, we strive to become a complete B2B business media company in India. We are focusing on telephone and WAP (mobile web) for further diversification. Besides, we have started with our print version. Moreover, we participate in various trade shows to make them an IndiaMART show. We are currently associated with 100 global and 200 domestic trade shows. We are currently preparing for an aggressive growth phase wherein we consolidate our leadership position in the market. We presently hold about 65% market share. In this phase, we will be working towards attaining a larger customer base as well as strengthening our team of employees. Thus, we will also be expanding our reach in terms of the number of offices across different cities in the country to supplement the foreseen growth. We also aim to augment our portfolio with more value added products and services besides increase our marketing spend to tap a larger base of SMEs/MSMEs.

What has been the growth pattern for IndiaMART?

The company has a pan-India presence in over 100 cities. With approximately 1500 employees located across 39 offices in the country, IndiaMART.com offers an extensive range of value-added products and services to its 700,000 registered members and nearly 5 million global buyers across various industries and verticals. Talking about the patrons who have been associated with us, IndiaMART.com has seen a constant rise from 1000 clients in 2002 to over 15000 till now. With our current turnover at Rs. 65 crore, we have grown over 15 times in last seven years.

Please share with us your moment of achievements and recognitions.

Providing a platform to about seven lakh SMEs to reach out to global markets which was not possible otherwise is certainly our main achievement. Through IndiaMART.com, Indian SMEs have been able to leave bigger footprints on the world map. In addition, sustaining a profitable growth has also been one of our main achievements besides successfully sailing through black holes like Dotcom burst and recent financial turmoil. Talking about tangible success, IndiaMART.com has been nominated among the top three at Emerging India Awards 2008, won Red Herring 100 Asia 2008 Award, Indira Super Achiever Award 2008, Amity Corporate Excellence Award 2008 and many other nominations in past few years. Our success story is further cemented with key profiling in esteemed media such as Businessworld Magazine's cover page for making IndiaMART.com the only profit-making dotcom in India and CNBC's show 'Young Turks' as today's young achiever, among others. These recognitions surely motivate us and reaffirm our confidence in taking the business to greater heights and fostering the Indian SME sector.

What word of advice would you like to share wth the budding entrepreneurs?

The biggest challenge before a budding entrepreneur is how to start up and generate initial investments as there are not many options available to him/ her at the foundation stage. Clarity of mind is the prerequisite for any start-up. Apart from that, one must possess far-sightedness and passion to succeed.

YourStory wishes Dinesh Agarwal and IndiaMART all the vesy best for their future.

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