ShopClues’ founder now back with ‘Droom’

Priyanka Pani Mumbai | Updated on March 13, 2018 Published on June 19, 2015

Sandeep Aggarwal, Founder and CEO, Droom

Wants to take its online marketplace for automobiles to overseas markets this year

Sandeep Aggarwal, the brain behind online marketplace ShopClues, is a more mature, energetic and determined entrepreneur now compared to what he was 20 months ago.

Aggarwal, who had pleaded guilty in 2013 to an insider trading charge in his previous job as an analyst at Collins Stewart in the US, is now building his second venture Droom, which is an online marketplace for automobiles. Besides sales of old and new vehicles, it is also a platform for providers of services such as washing and maintenance.

Aggarwal had admitted that he had tipped a portfolio manager about a pending deal between Yahoo! and Microsoft in 2009, while he was working at Collins Stewart as an analyst. The case is still open. “I had to go through trauma during the trial period for the insider trading case. I have learnt to compartmentalise my life and ensure that ShopClues is not affected,” said Aggarwal, who is still the single largest shareholder in the Delhi-based company. Though he doesn’t hold any position in the company now, for Aggarwal it is his “first baby” and he provides informal mentorship regularly.

Looking for funds

The insider trading case in behind him now and Aggarwal is focussed on his new venture, Droom. He has raised two rounds of funding from investors in Sillicon Valley, Israel and Japan and is all set to raise a larger round in the next two months from both existing and new investors.

“We want to enter markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia before September. However, India will remain a key market for us,” Aggarwal said, adding that Droom, a mobile first company, is already witnessing 30,000-50,000 visits on a daily basis. Its revenues have grown from ₹5 lakh in January to over ₹10 crore in May.

Aggarwal makes money through a 1.5 per cent transaction fee on each sale on Droom. The site also has premium subscription which offers buyers and sellers add-on services. It offers services to both retail customers and enterprise segment with a wide selection of both new and used vehicles, ranging from cycles to trucks.

Currently, the platform has over 4,000 plus used vehicles listed along with 9,000 sellers. There are no competitors for Droom currently except for classifieds site such as Quikr, CarTrade and Olx, which do a sizeable business in the auto segment.

Proper marketplace

“We are very different from the listing and classified sites. We are a proper marketplace and have a strong monetisation model,” Aggarwal said. While sites like CarTrade allow buyers and sellers to connect, it does not allow actual transactions. Droom, on the other hand, has a payment gateway and also a delivery network in place across 15 cities.

“Buying and selling used automobiles experience is completely disorganised at the moment. We are building trust, increasing transparency, creating greater selection, and offering pricing advantages for buyers,” he said, adding that the idea is to build a $1-billion company in the next three years.

Published on June 19, 2015
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