Market sentiment may be down, but new e-comm entrants not put out

Amrita Nair Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on September 09, 2016

Ananya Birla, founder and CEO, CuroCarte, announces the launch of the luxury e-commerce portal in Mumbai, on Thursday   -  PTI

Birla Group enters the sector with CuroCarte

Even as much ado has been made of e-commerce ventures going belly up and over-eager investors burning their fingers pouring money into unproven businesses, one more start-up has entered the space. CuroCarte, an inventory-based luxury e-commerce platform from the Birla stable, has joined the list of e-commerce ventures eager to make an impact.

The brainchild of Ananya Birla, daughter of Kumar Mangalam Birla, CuroCarte will showcase premium handmade products curated from all around the world. The start-up is funded by the Aditya Birla Group; initial investment for the venture is ₹6 crore.

At the launch of CuroCarte in Mumbai on Thursday, officials spoke about the burgeoning e-commerce market and said the timing was better, since the appropriate ecosystem had started to fall in place. This, they said, will enable e-commerce to thrive in a competitive market that is lucrative, given the expedited logistics.

Speaking about failing e-commerce firms, industry observers at the CuroCarte event said what caused many to fall from grace were VCs and companies who were purely focused on the top-line. Heavy discounts and short-sighted priorities were employed to drive sales, which proved unsustainable, they said.

Ananya Birla said CuroCarte will not go down the discounts route to acquire customers. The e-commerce venture will curate and sell over 1,500 decorative and utility-based products sourced from nine countries.

Similar to CuroCarte, other e-commerce firms are also aiming to grab a toe-hold in the crowded marketplace. Market observers point to the inherent energy in the ecommerce and startup space.

Debmalya Banerjee, Regional Director, Indian Chamber of Commerce said: “Entrepreneurship and investor appetite does not seem to be waning. On the contrary, with a little help from mentors, the money that is coming in can be used effectively.”

‘Necessary evil’

Banerjee termed the e-commerce space in India “as a necessary evil, for it will help boost the country’s economic growth. The start-up space and e-commerce ventures are an important exercise for nation building.”

The Indian e-tailer market is expected to reach $28 billion by FY2020, led by an increase in number of buyers to 110 million, according to a report by Kotak. Citing a steady increase in household incomes and a shift in consumption towards discretionary spends as the main cause, the report has assumed that with one person per urban household shopping online, with annual spends of $260 (around ₹17,000) per consumer, the $28-billion mark could soon become a reality.

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Published on September 09, 2016
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