Info-tech

Customers double up as investors as SaleBhai plans to raise ₹20 cr

Purvita Chatterjee Mumbai | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on June 27, 2017

Vishwa Vijay Singh, co-founder, SaleBhai

Till date, the Ahmedabad-based start-up has about 20 of its customers investing ₹1.8 crore in its marketplace

An IT professional working in Bengaluru craving for authentic rasgullas from his hometown in Kolkata, now also has the possibility of becoming an investor in SaleBhai.com.

The two-year-old e-commerce portal, which delivers a range of food specialities, has embarked on another round of fund-raising, which will include targeting additional customers who are willing to double up as investors.

At a time when regular PE and VC funds have turned cautious, the Ahmedabad-based start-up has found a new set of investors among its 38,000-strong customer base to whom it has already issued equity. It is now willing to dilute some more as it plans to raise another ₹20 crore this year.

Customers have been included as investors every time SaleBhai raised funds, and till date, it has about 20 of its customers investing ₹1.8 crore in its marketplace, which fulfils the requirements of 17 diaspora communities comprising migrant citizens living in India and abroad.

Targeting mostly repeat customers, SaleBhai will be sending e-mails to its customers to invest between ₹550 lakh, but with a ‘risk’ clause as there are going to be no guaranteed returns.

‘Long-term’ results

“We assure our customers a long-term future, and they may have the possibility of an exit if a bigger investor were to acquire their share or if we’re to go for an IPO. It is a risk our customers are willing to take, and at best, we assure them we will continue the business for at least eight years,” says Vishwa Vijay Singh, co-founder, SaleBhai.

“We want to be around like MakeMyTrip or Flipkart, who have been around for eight years. Customers should not look for short-term gains by investing in our portal.”

Considering these customers-turned-investors as an added “bonus”’ to its existing investors), SaleBhai is now hoping its customer base will not let it down as it plans to divest an additional 10-12 per cent equity this year.

“We go by the buying pattern of our customers and target those making repeat purchases, as our potential investors. Since we are getting ready for our next round of fund-raise by the festival season, we are hoping to get another ‘bonus’ from our customers, who are mostly those with an IT or investment banking background,” Singh added.

While raising funds early last year for the first time, SaleBhai managed to get ₹1 crore from nine of its customers, while during its second round later during the year, the amount was smaller at ₹88 lakh with 11 customers coming on board as investors.

SaleBhai, which has about 350 sellers on board with categories such as food and handicrafts, has a gross merchandise volume of ₹1.8 crore and expects to take it up to ₹7 crore this year.

Published on June 27, 2017
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