May 31, 2011
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Tiger bets on fledgling Indian e-commerce sector

May 31, 2011

Venture capital firm Tiger Global Management, backer of India's biggest online retailer Flipkart, has led a $16 million funding round for Exclusively.in, a members-only Indian fashion and lifestyle e-retailer.


The investment is Tiger's latest bet on the fledgling e-commerce sector in India, whose 100 million Internet users still represent just 8 percent of the population. Early investor Accel Partners India also participated in the Series B round.

Sunjay Guleria, chief executive and co-founder of the company, says he took the business model of the original online sales club, France's Vente Privee, and applied it to a global Indian audience.

Guleria, who is of Indian origin and was born and raised in Ohio, began by catering for the Indian diaspora in the United States, and found pent-up demand in particular for outfits for Indian weddings, which typically last for five days.

"I thought: Wait a minute. Why do we all have to fly back to India to buy our outfits? This is ridiculous," he told Reuters. "You're dealing with a relatively hungry audience."

Guleria said the average purchase on the 10-month-old site was $250, and revenue growth was 30-50 percent month on month.

Exclusively.in will use much of the money it is raising for international expansion, launching in Britain on Thursday with further openings in Canada, Singapore, South Africa and other countries including India itself by the end of the summer.

Prashanth Prakash, a partner at Accel Partners India, said he had initially invested in the company because of its leadership team. "It later came out that there was real demand."

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Will Waterman)

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