Web18 Launches E-Commerce Portal Storeguru; What About Homeshop18?

Network18 now has two competing e-commerce businesses in the online retail space. Web18, the Internet and Mobile company of the Network18 group, has launched Storeguru.com, while the group already has an established home shopping company – Homeshop18. HomeShop18 is a much bigger play – there are shows on TV, and we’ve heard that a shopping channel on TV is a part of the plan. It’s also among the biggest spenders on TV among online portals. Storeguru is online-only for now, with a similar portfolio of products as HomeShop18.

But what’s the point of two e-commerce sites from the same group, and why does Web18 need a separate e-commerce portal? Some people disagree with me, but I think it’s valuation play for Web18 to prepare a portfolio of sites pre-IPO. Web18 had raised $10 million in funding from Tracer Capital in October 2006, and their portfolio currently comprises of EasyMF.com, cricketnext.com, compareindia.com, homeshop18.com, josh18.com, buzz18.com, ibnlive.com, indiwo.com, tech2.com, biztech2.com, indiaearnings.com, jobstreet.com, bookmyshow.com and storeguru.com, as well as Big Tree Entertainment and the excellent Urban Eye Studios. Homeshop18 is a joint venture between Network18 and SAIF Partners.

I own an inconsequential number of shares of Network18 Fincap