( Harcourt Butler Technological Institute, Kanpur – B.Tech)
( NIILM – PGDBM; University of Lucknow – BMS)
|Rank in India
Rank in World
|IndiaMART InterMESH Ltd.|
|Number of Employee|
IndiaMART.com is India’s leading online B2B marketplace for small & medium Size Businesses, connecting domestic and global buyers with suppliers.
Established in 1996, it is also one of the world’s leading B2B marketplaces. Prior to setting it up, Dinesh Agarwal worked with HCL Technologies (America), Centre for Development of Telematics (C-Dot) and CMC Limited. After coming back to India from USA, he actively started taking part in different trade fairs and shows to know what’s happening in different industries in the country. After roaming in the market for some time, he understood that the software industry was getting very competitive and he didn’t have that kind of resource to start a software business. At around early 1995, internet was being born in US. Yahoo had just begun at that time and he was one of the first internet users. Thus, he already had an inclination towards internet. There were many instances where he could find the required information only on internet and he was pretty sure that the future belongs to internet and thus he decided to launch an internet business.
Initially, he decided to set up an internet service provider business like Sify, but that was not possible as licensing policies in India (at that time) only allowed BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) to provide the service in the country. So, he started with a website making business, InterMesh Systems, in 1996. At that time DTP cafes were being set up in every nook and corner and anybody who had to design a card could easily get that done by paying a minimal amount. Somehow, he had the feeling that the website making business would turn out to be another DTP business and website designers would crop up in every corner of the country. So, he started thinking about alternatives of sustaining the website making business.
As he was regularly visiting various trade fairs, he developed a knack of Assocham (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India), FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry), Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO), Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) and CII (Confederation of Indian Industry). He was impressed by the way these trade bodies maintained a database of several businesses and the way they organised several trade fairs. This made him think whether a similar model was possible in internet or not. They decided to create their own website wherein they would list websites that were developed by Intermesh Systems. That could give small businesses, whose websites had been developed by them, more visibility. So, they launched IndiaMart.com. They started with an online directory of Indian websites that were designed by them. As the list of websites grew on, they categorised the companies in different sections, including apparel, automobile and engineering, and so it became an online yellow page directory. Thus, instead of starting an IT business, they launched a website making business and to save the website making business they started this website listing business called IndiaMart.com.
They saw that many of the categories were either empty or had just two to three listings and that didn’t look good. Then they decided to list a few other companies for free and use them as a lead generation mechanism for their own purpose. Thus they started pitching to companies and asking them if they could collaborate. Initially, no one listened to them and so they went to trade fairs and collected free listing form from various small and medium enterprises. Thus, various SMEs (small and medium enterprises) listed themselves online with them.
But the problem was that most of those businesses did not have an internet connection at that time and were not familiar with internet. So, there was a problem in connecting them with the foreign buyers and hence they launched an enquiry forwarding service where they started printing the email queries that came to them and then they would send the printouts of queries to the concerned businesses through local post. Everyday almost two to three hundred mailers were sent from their office and they did that consistently for about five years. That repeated query generation made the SMEs wonder who IndiaMart.com is and then they would call back to them. They used to take those calls as their generated leads and their marketing guys would go to those businesses and educate them about the online media.
Initially, they listed all the companies for free and did not charge anything from them. Then as the business grew popular, they started charging companies. Currently, they have both free and paid listed companies or user-base. Today, IndiaMART.com is India’s leading online B2B marketplace for small & medium Size Businesses, connecting domestic and global buyers with suppliers.