New York-headquartered private equity heavyweight Warburg Pincus has acquired an undisclosed stake in online classifieds startup Quikr, leading a $32 million growth round of funding. Existing investors Matrix Partners India, Norwest Venture Partners and eBay have also participated in the latest round, said a press release.
For Mumbai-based Quikr, which was spun out of online auctions company eBay India in June 2008, this constitutes its fifth round of funding, taking the total amount raised so far to over $50 million. After being spun out of eBay, the company raised an undisclosed amount as series A funding from Matrix and eBay. This was followed by a $4.47 million series B round in 2009 from Omidyar Network and Matrix. In 2010, it raised a $6 million series C round from Norwest, Omidyar, Matrix and eBay. Last May, it raised its series D round at $8 million from Nokia Growth Partners, Norwest and eBay.
The company offers classifieds both online and on mobile and currently serves 17 million unique individual and enterprise users per month. “The current round (of funding), which is our largest to date, will enable us to diversify our offerings across both online and mobile platforms, intensify product development and strengthen marketing,” Quikr co-founder and CEO Pranay Chulet said in the press release. The company generates revenues primarily from premium listing services and advertisements on its site.
For Warburg, Quikr is the private equity investor’s second announced deal this year. Earlier in March, it invested $50 million in Jaipur-based asset finance company Au Financiers. The firm has invested nearly $3 billion here over the last two decades and its most well-known investment till date remains Bharti Tele-Ventures, from which it earned a record profit of $1.6 billion on a cumulative investment of $292 million.
Does Warburg’s entry into Quikr indicate that a public listing is in the offing? With private market valuations of Internet companies in India currently on a high, the Warburg investment could be the first step in that direction.
Image Courtesy: Quikr