The LimeRoad Growth Story: 600+ vendors, 5X orders this year and $20 million in fundingJubin Mehta
LimeRoad is a truly exceptional team that refuses to take short-cuts and instead focuses on finding scalable, long-term solutions to difficult problems. Suchi and Prashant have been deeply involved in architecting and building consumer products of significant scale at companies like Skype, eBay and Facebook and bring similar aspirations to LimeRoad, along with an understanding of what it takes.
Bejul Somaia, investor at Lightspeed wrote about LimeRoad post this relatively young startup managed to raise $15 million in May this year. This was a series B round led by New York-based Tiger Global. The round was also participated by existing investors, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Matrix Partners, India. Previously, LimeRoad had raised a $5 million series A from Lightspeed and Matrix. Suchi Mukherjee is the founder and CEO at LimeRoad. Building and scaling businesses focused on simple yet powerful consumer products has been her dream, and this has come to life both at Skype, Gumtree, places she worked before. She believed online product discovery to be a problem for women and hence started LimeRoad with the vision of building the most extensive delightful discovery platform for lifestyle products.
Suchi had a dream- A way to find gorgeous, affordable products in an extremely easy to discover interface. "Women love the 'hatke', the 'gorgeous stuff', yet product discovery in lifestyle, is a very hard problem to solve. There are literally millions of types of products, spread across geographies, it can be very time consuming and frustrating for any user to find lifestyle products in without a great interface," says Suchi.
Another strong reason the belief stemmed from was the market opportunity- India accounts for 21% of world manufacturing of lifestyle products (that’s 21% of a nearly $1 trillion industry). The aim was to see a world where all those vendors producing high quality affordable product became accessible, via an easy to use interface to enable the discovery.
LimeRoad was born with that single mission in mind –
To build the most extensive delightful discovery platform for lifestyle products.
Suchi first met Ankush Mehra, their co-founder and Supply chain head, when she was trying to understand the nuances of setting up a business in India. "We hit it off - he knew India’s back-end. I was fanatical about giving India an cutting edge front-end. Prashant Mallik, our CTO came back to India after a successful stint with Facebook. We shared several similarities not least two Delhites returning to India after 17 years with a big dream to build something transformational from the city that was always home to us. He joined the founding team as the tech guru," shares Suchi.
They set out to build LimeRoad in 2012 and have grown in strength since then. Suchi says that the platform is seeing very encouraging numbers in terms of visual user generated content ---- 250,000+ units of unique user generated visual content per month – these are unique looks. Some pointers:
- The traffic has been up 10x since April 2013
- 600+ vendors, up 10x since April 13 (50% unique to LimeRoad)
- India accounts for $200bn (21%) of global manufacturing of lifestyle
- 5x orders since January 2014 v/s 2x marketing
- Mobile a/c for 60% transactions
- LimeRoad strives to make the visuals best placed to transcend vernacular. (even people not conversant in English would be conversant with the site)
Suchi says that, "We are going after the 400m+ smartphones that will be around in 2016, out of which 30-50% will belong to women."
Our supply side model - a tightly managed marketplace – makes us extremely capital efficient. In other words, we do not commit working capital to hold / block inventory. We make money when vendors sell i.e. a commission revenue (% of sales).
Reasons for investor confidence
It is not very common to see a two year old Indian startup raise more than $20 million in two big chunks. Raising capital is definitely not the end game but raising funds is essential to grow quickly and helps in multiple ways. We asked Suchi what she thinks about the investor confidence in them and she gives us three points:
- Quality of the team.
- Clear traction on metrics. LimeRoad has the highest in-session engagement metrics in the country, and the only company in the country with exploding unique visual user generated content.
- Clear alignment on vision- From the start our investors Matrix partners and Lightspeed venture Partners shared our vision of creating largest shopping platform for women in India. (Lightspeed Venture Partners carried a post of their blog regarding the same)
The road ahead
We love what we are building and how customers are reacting to us. We launched our Android mobile app 3 months ago, and already it accounts for over 40% of our products sold.
Limeroad didn't disclose the team strength but is in the process of expanding their teams mostly across technology and sourcing. Regardding building a team, Such says, "People are our most critical asset and we almost always look for people with a real spike and with a strong can-do. Experience is secondary in a world where we are redefining the rules every day." Limeroad is on a mission to build the most extensive delightful discovery platform with a focus on South-East Asia.
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