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).