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Summary:

Sulekha.com, the grand-daddy of Indian community portals, which had raised $10 million from Norwest Venture Partners is considering an IPO i…

Sulekha.com, the grand-daddy of Indian community portals, which had raised $10 million from Norwest Venture Partners is considering an IPO in 2009. Business Standard reports that the company expects to have revenues of around $30 million by then. It appears that they’re taking the tried and tested route to monetization – they have city specific classifieds covering 8 cities, and plan to expand coverage to 40 cities. More in BS. Sulekha isn’t alone in the online classifieds game (there’s Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Guruji, Justdial, AskLaila, Infomedia, Kijiji, Click.in among others), but there’s a difference – Sulekha has a fairly loyal community already in place.

There’s been a change of strategy from Sulekha towards monetization — compare the current homepage with this one from 2005 – from being primarily a news and community focused site, they began giving equal space on the front page to classifieds. Since the funding, Sulekha has launched more classifieds services, and a few community initiatives – launched mobile blogging and mobile classifieds, offered a Rs. 1 crore reward to their users, published a book with Penguin, using content from the site, launched a click-to-call classifieds feature on the mobile, and done some tie-ups for classifieds. But it’s also important to grow the user-base: hence the TV ads.

I wonder if there’s been a change of plans for Indian Internet co’s – whether the recent market crashes have resulted in them deferring IPO plans. Looks like Sulekha believes things will be okay in 2009…I wonder if there’s a pre-IPO placement in the offing (as is often the case).

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  1. Satya Prabhakar likes to joke. $30M is a joke. Even $15M will be good. From $8M this year to $30M in 2009???

  2. I am surprised with these figures. They are totally baseless. I am happy to see portals doing well but by giving such absurd numbers you are harming the entire online industry

    Sulekha is an important player in the classified industry. There is no need for them to be bullshitting to gain attention.

  3. Looks like most of the blog readers in India are primarily…jealous haters. I bet you guys are trying to compete..but can't seem to make it happen. India is coming online and it is only gonna accelerate in the coming days, months and years. People will pay for stuff…so u guys should stop being so green with u know what.

  4. The numbers are extremely aggresive to be realistic. It would be great to know the current numbers so that there is some sanity and logic in claiming 30M. Ram, India online is booming, will accelerate etc all sounds good but the point is to be realistic and not be just an attention grabbing exercise. This same PR piece would be a darling if it were supported by sound numbers and logic.

    Anyway we should reconvene next year, and hope Mr. Prabhakar and Business Standard has the last laugh, but right now it all seems like a joke.

  5. Hi – Numbers certainly seem aggressive, but are eminently achievable. One must not forget that Sulekha earns a lot of its revenues from the US, unlike its competitors.

    Sulekha's done very well over the last 1 year, they have moved to a new lead based revenue model and have been successful in signing up a number of partnerships with Reliance, Airtel, DC, Vodafone and Sify.

    Would like to point out here that the click to call is not only a Classifieds service, I have used it on Yellow Pages as well. Also, would like to know which classifieds service Infomedia owns, as far as I or they company know, they don't own one!

  6. Samir – No one is denying that Sulekha has done well in last one year, it was a completely unknown in India earlier, though it still is largely. We are talking about hard revenue numbers, alliances are useless unless they result in revs.. all these alliances are fairly recent (yes, even a year or two is recent) to suddenly catapult into astronomical numbers.
    As far as revenues from US is concerned, its measly …and can not help at all in 30M …the listing category that works with NRI market is Matrimonials, and Sulekha started and shut down its matrimonial service long back since it could not compete with Shaadi and BM. There is definitely usage but in free listing category ,,,roommates, garage sale etc…
    I still reiterate numbers are rubbish, pardon my language …..

  7. Samir – I got more curious and dug this out
    http://www.contentsutra.com/entry/sulekhacom-receives-10mn-funding-from-norwest-venture-partners

    Check out the comments, mainly postal portal's …Where is persquareyard now? I think I made my point ….its easy to shoot the breeze but market realities are very different …again 30M ..duh!!!!

  8. Dictatum – how can one be sure that Postal Portal is not you again? From what I can infer, persquareyard takes the user to the real estate section of Sulekha which means they have consolidated.

    Every internet company in the last 3 years has tried multiple things, whats wrong with that? Sulekha has seemingly consolidated its services very well, and the new interface is quite user-friendly. More than anything it has a large base of die-hard users for whom the site can do no wrong.

    Seems like your an ex-employee with an axe to grind, if so, this is perhaps not the right forum…

  9. Samir – By your logic you could be Satya Prabhakar! Why there has to be a personal agenda in being critical?
    I DO NOT believe that Sulekha can achieve 30M revenues by next year and maybe you do ..
    With due respect I think that so called news item is a PR piece for grabbing attention and seems more like a desparate attempt ..
    There is NO sound basis/ logic ..
    Historically the company has shown signs of claiming and not delivering ..and thats why I quoted the earlier PR …
    I think I have enough reasons NOT TO believe in what is being said and you may have enough reasons to defend ..so lets just agree to disagree …
    Its really a joke !!

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