The success story of Car Dekho. What is it’s business model? How it operates and generates revenue.
Amit and Anurag both were both IIT-Delhi grads and had spent roughly 8 years in the corporate world with TCS & Trilogy. This is where Amit developed liking for products and technology grew. Later, due to some personal reasons both left their jobs and came back to their hometown. But instead of getting into their family business of jewellery, they thought of starting their own business. Although Amit initially wanted to start –of an online jewellery store when he was hit with the ground realities of the business, he was forced to step back. So eventually the duo thought of doing what they were best at and thus without further thinking they launched GirnarSoft, an IT outsourcing company.
In the initial days; their bedroom was their office, from where they started-off by sending emails to prospective clients. But, if things would have been that easy, every third person would have been a billionaire. Hence, the duo who began by sending emails in expectations of bagging big clients ended up reaching out to just anyone who needed IT services.
After zillions of emails and calls, they finally got their first client! Although this project got them INR 50,000 which was below their standard pricing they took it anyways. This project led to another and a chain of references started to build. With constant work coming in, they hired their first employee on April 1, 2007, and within a year their company became 40 members strong. Now they had enough capital to bank on and were ready to fund their project.
And thus CarDekho was born!
A lot of thinking and planning had gone behind starting CarDekho but what convinced them was Amit’s visit to the international AutoExpo. Now, even though CarDekho was launched and a lot of importance was given to the conceptualization of the idea and product but the company had a clear mandate that the service business shall keep going! After all, a definite source of revenue was of utmost necessity. So from here onwards there was no looking back! Since the launch of CarDekho, their revenue model has been pretty simple and clear-cut. Till date they have had only three mediums of revenue; the first and the most talked about has been their revenue through AdSense, the second and the most important source is through sponsored ads and last but not the least is the commission from the manufacturers and dealers. CarDekho is one company that is a part of the whole process from start till the end and makes sure that the customer is satisfied. Because of this, it didn’t take much time for them to gain decent traffic.
Now, even though the initial few years were a little slow for CarDekho but then, the company did make their presence felt. They received some of most prestigious awards during their early days and some of them included; “Best Automotive Website of 2009”, “Best Car Website of 2012”, “Most Popular Website of 2012” and “Website of the Year India 2011 & 2012”.
On the other hand, their numbers roared success as well, when in January 2012 it was revealed that they had served 3.4 crores, unique visitors, in their 4-year lifespan. Beyond that by the end of the year 2012, CarDekho covered 2.5 crores, unique visitors, in a single year itself which nearly matched the traffic of their past. Within no time, the portal had gained immense momentum and had reached to a record 1.7 lakh used car sales with used cars being featured from almost all the cities of India. By 2014, they were unmatchable! Their team had increased to massive 600-employees. They now had BikeDekho, PriceDekho, MobileDekho & many more under their kitty and were doing decent business too.
But the icing on the cake was in September 2014, when CarDekho acquired ibibo owned-Gaadi.com. After this purchase, CarDekho became the undisputed market leader of the automobile industry with a collective volume of 15 million visitors monthly. Apart from that, the acquisition also helped them evolve in the pre-owned car market which would have taken years if they had to do it by themselves.
Now, the company was playing on a different league and it was of utmost importance for them to be visible through all mediums. Thus, recently CarDekho also launched their iOS app, a month after their Android app was launched which scored 100,000 downloads within that period. But surely that wasn’t enough, so in September 2014 they also released their first TV ad and along with that co-sponsored Big Boss– Season 8 & the movie – Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya premiering on Colors Channel. After this, within a blink of an eye, their unique visitors on the site doubled and their revenues increased by 3x too. Also, to date, they have raised only USD 15-million from Sequoia Capital in exchange for a 20% stake in the company in November 2013. But shortly, the company plans to raise roughly USD 40-50 million (up to Rs 300 crore) at a pre-investment valuation of 250-million (over Rs 1,500-crore). And, in the next 5-years, they hope to cross INR 500-crores in revenues in a collection with gaadi.com. It is evident, that CarDekho is stealing the show but what needs to be looked at is; how much burden of the other websites in their kitty, will CarDekho be able to handle!